Undo Your Bra

Daily Post Prompt: If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

Kudos to Rarasaur for the great prompt!

Image from Wikipedia.

Image from Wikipedia.

If I could un-invent something, it would be the bra. Is there any other invention on earth that is so ubiquitous, yet unnecessary?

Women spend approximately $16 billion a year to torture ourselves with bras. Women in modern society have no choice but to spend money on bras because society demands it of us. It is considered improper to walk around without one.

Bras are expensive and they don’t last very long. Women spend billions of dollars on them and they are never comfortable enough. Even if you do find one that fits perfectly, in a few months it will be all stretched out and useless.

Bras are sexist. No matter how big a pair of man-boobs get, they’re not required to be strapped into a bra. Only women’s breasts have to be sequestered away from polite society, no matter their size. Why? Why is it that men can go shirtless and women can’t? Men have boobs and nipples, too.

No one really seems to know when the first bras came into being, but I blame the Greek. Women wore a ἀπόδεσμος, meaning “breast-band.” Throughout recorded history though, women have used a variety of garments and devices to cover, restrain, or elevate their breasts.

During the 1960′s, women protested for equal rights. Before I was even born, there were women fighting for my rights as a woman. Bra burning was a thing! Women would rip them off as a symbol of independence and to be natural instead of pushed up. At the 1968 Miss America Protest, there were “freedom trash cans” where women threw away bras, girdles, curlers, tweezers, high heels, etc. Look at how happy these women are!

Hell yeah!

Hells yeah! Image from doomsteaddiner.org.

After a while, women lost that bra-burning spirit. We went right back to wearing our medieval torture devices called brassieres. Actually, that’s not fair. Although there was a fair bit of other medieval torture going on, women in the medieval period didn’t wear bras.

Here’s a little secret for you, women’s breasts are not symmetrical. Sometimes, there is nearly a cup size difference on the same woman. I can guarantee you that if sports cups were a thing that all men in polite society had to wear, there would be more sizes than A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Those things would be custom-made to support each one separately. It’s not so with bras unless you want to spend a small fortune.

Bras don’t decrease sagging. Gravity will do what it will do regardless. Granted, large-breasted women and women doing sports probably prefer the support, but generally it’s not necessary. There are plenty of cultures, even today, where women don’t wear bras and you know what? They don’t suffer for it in any way. A bra is not a necessity, so wearing one is really just a personal choice.

If the bra was never invented, women walking around without one wouldn’t be a big deal. It would be like men walking around without a bra today–totally normal. It is society’s ideals that make things like bras, makeup and high heels feel necessary, not any sort of human imperative.

I suppose it could be worse. I could be forced to wear a burqa

burka-large

Image from sodahead.com.

…or a corset…

corset-back-front-drawing

image from delilahscollection.com.

…still, given the chance, I’d undo the bra.

There are 46 comments

  1. theloneshewolf

    Did I send you boobie thoughts today?? LOL

    I have a great story about personal boobie liberation, bra loss and colleagues finding it. One day I might have the tits to post it. Until then, isn’t it great when we come home and rip that sucker off??

    Funnily enough speaking of bra’s… when my mom is annoyed with me she says “Louis*! you are getting on my tits!!”

    *name changed*

    Like

  2. sortaginger

    If sports cups were worn by men everyday, sizes A-C would not exist. They would have the ultimate in vanity sizing.

    After watching Gone With The Wind again last week, I don’t think I would mind a corset. I like the thought of overall support for my jiggly self, but it would have to be breathable. Maybe Under Armour could make them.

    Like

  3. twindaddy

    Some women I know like wearing them cause it holds them up and it’s more comfortable that way. Or maybe they just feel naked without it. Kinda like I feel weird riding in a car without a seatbelt. Eh, what do I know?

    Like

    1. goldfish

      I know lots of women who wouldn’t be caught dead in public without one, myself included for the most part, but really, do we feel that way because we’re forced to wear them? If they were not part of our polite society uniform, if they never existed, I do not think we would yearn for them.

      Like

  4. jaschmehl

    Actually – I gotta agree with Twindaddy – I feel more comfortable wearing one. I buy super comfy stretchy ones though, and I got ‘professionally’ measured once to make sure I am wearing the right size. I fall asleep in them all the time and never notice.

    On the other hand (or foot) – shoes have got to go! I hate wearing shoes!

    Like

    1. goldfish

      But WHY do you feel more comfortable wearing one? It’s certainly not because it’s more comfortable. Not wearing a bra is always more comfortable than wearing one.

      I agree with shoes, but at least shoes protect our feet.

      Like

      1. jaschmehl

        Just to let you know – I completely get your point – bras are just another one of those things – like shaving, that we women do to make ourselves (supposedly) more attractive and socially acceptable. It’s dumb.

        But to answer the question of WHY:

        First, I happen to like how I look in the mirror when I am wearing one, so, regardless of comfort, I wear one. (And yes, I know my opinion of my own looks is entirely dictated by the culture I live in, of course.)

        Second, I – as many women do – have some body issues, and a bra feels to me like another piece of armor I can don against the eyes of the judgmental public.

        BTW – Kudos to you for such an engaging post – I love the ones that inspire such interesting discussions in the comments!

        Like

        1. twistingthreads

          I have those sentiments myself, and I know it’s cultural indoctrination. One thought you had (that I’ve had myself), but never connected before, was the idea of a bra as another layer of armor. I’d never connected that thought with the way women who wear burqas defend them as protection, but finally did, thanks to goldfish’s burqa picture. Suddenly my excuse itself feels culturally indoctrinated, and now the level of internalization has reached past the levels of irritatingly pervasive to scary because they’ve taken over my mind to a point I hadn’t even realized.

          Like

  5. JackieP

    The bra was invented by a woman as an alternative to the corset. So at least that’s good, I mean it’s better then straps and whalebone right? Personally I can’t go without a bra, mostly because it’s uncomfortable. But I do agree that if it wasn’t the ‘norm’ and if it hadn’t been done for years and years we wouldn’t think anything of going without one. As far as covering up the nipples. who cares if they show? geesh, it’s just part and parcel of the breast and as you say we all got em, even men.

    Like

  6. theimaginator

    I wonder what it would be like if, instead of uncomfortable trunks or constricting budgie-smugglers, we men had little baskets for our balls. Little floating baskets which moved our balls out of the way when we sat down so that our balls didn’t get bruised or squashed; that would be nice.

    Like

  7. electronicbaglady

    Perfect undo idea! I do remember the “Burn the bra” thing but I was too little to be wearing them, so I didn’t really get it at the time. I wanted to be “grown up ” enough to have a bra…thanks, Society! Now I am older and saggier it can be helpful to have one though, so that gravity doesn’t become too much of an enemy. In the UK there was a well known gardening presenter called Charlie Dimmock who was famous for not wearing a bra. She was very pipular with the lads, needless to say. It was really depressing.

    Like

  8. Blathering

    I think you might enjoy a little book called “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger. Not directly related to bra-wearing, specifically, but its about how and why our culture depicts certain things, including images of women, the way it does. I read it as a Fine art student 20 something years ago, so the ideas are not new but I imagine they are still pretty relevant, and it was an easy and interesting read. Or apparently he made a series for the BBC by the same name. If you come across it, I’d be interested to hear what you think of it!

    Like

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