Since starting university last September, I’ve often received uninvited advice regarding my choice to go braless underneath my outfits. I’ve become accustomed to people telling me that guys will get “the wrong idea about me” or that I’m “easy” or “inappropriate” and other such disorienting labels. It is dismaying to come to an environment as progressive as University and be invaded by such archaic beliefs. As much as these comments pervade my head and make me want to hide under layers of clothes; they also inspire a sense of pride in my body. There is just something about going braless that is empowering.
It is not a surprise that breasts are still being sexualised when in both America and Britain the imminent rise of porn culture and the fetishisation of boobs has led to the sight of breasts being taboo and eroticised. In October 2018, Emily Ratajkowski attended a protest against the nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh following allegations of sexual misconduct. Instead of focusing on the political message she tried to address, she was trolled online for not wearing a bra. Emily retorted “it was 32 degrees”, “I never expected anyone to talk about why I wasn’t wearing a bra under my tank top”. This highlights how women who appear in the media face constant judgment regarding their appearance and bodies whilst their political efforts and contributions are put on the sidelines. Frankly, such shallow judgments are inescapable whether you’re wearing a burqa or a bikini. So whilst the sexist droning continues in the background, I’ll wear what I like and do what I want because I’ll never be able to please everyone. At the end of the day, my comfort and happiness is more important than somebody taking offence to one less layer of clothing!
In fact, not wearing a bra may be a healthier option. French scientist, Jean- Denis Rouillon, 62 from university of Franche Comte did a study on 330 women aged 18 to 35. He found that wearing a bra from a young age doesn’t improve breast health. Bras can weaken the natural muscles that hold up the breasts and thus doing without it could improve firmness. This isn’t to say that those of you who are wearing bras should climb on the bra burning wagon, but instead, it suggests that giving your tits a breather from time to time isn’t such a bad option.
It is so common to for people to take my bralessness out of proportion when in reality there is a simple answer to my choice of clothing. I choose not to wear a bra because it is comfortable. It is not an aggressive feminist statement, nor is it a plea for attention. Instead, it is a comfortable alternative to stretching your hands behind your back and failing to clasp your bra several times. Although my decision to go braless was one unconscious of the political implications of such a choice, I’ve come to realize that it is also speaks volumes. It is empowering because I feel that it gives me control over my own body and challenges the sexualisation of women’s bodies as well as the taboo around breasts.