Photos courtesy of Greg White
Two years ago I decided to take a walk.
I was studying abroad and had a calendar hanging in my room of landmarks from my new city. It turned out that the one for that month was only a short walk away, and I decided it’d be fun to walk over and explore. It was a spontaneous decision. Moments before I had been lying in bed on my phone, happy, in pajamas.
I thought about getting ready: pull on jeans, take off my shirt, pull on a bra, put my shirt back on, put on runners, and then finally, head out. I couldn’t be bothered. I was comfy, so I skipped the hassle of putting on a bra, just slapped on some jeans, and walked out. I haven’t worn a bra since.
It wasn’t an epic decision. I didn’t valiantly take a feminist stance in a moment of adversity. I just couldn’t be bothered because I was already comfortable. The next day I was late for class and thought “heck, I was fine yesterday without a bra,” and on and on it went.
The more time passed without wearing a bra, the more I started to think about it. Would I ever wear one again? Was I now anti-bra? The truth was, I was just pro-comfiness. Feel comfy in bras? Great! Wear them! Feel like they’re suffocating you? TAKE IT OFF! I want it to be a choice, not an obligation. I’ve realized since that I wasn’t wearing bras consciously. I was wearing them because around age 13 it felt like what I was supposed to do and then didn’t ever think to reassess anything.
My lifestyle has changed a bit. I can’t buy shirts that are see-through. If it’s cold, I have to accept that my nipples are going to be visible. I often feel inappropriate, which is something I want to work against. All I’m doing is wearing a t-shirt while walking around… I have nothing to be ashamed of.
It’s been a real lesson in autonomy. In having to look at a habit, because really that’s all that wearing a bra was, and actually thinking “Why am I doing this? Do I want to keep doing this? Do the pros outweigh the cons?” For me, I’ve realized that they were unnecessary. They are expensive, underwiring made me want to cut them off, and they didn’t make me feel supported.
Some myth busting may be useful here, because I’m sure some people reading this might be thinking “you need bras to stop your boobs from sagging!” People with boobs, you’ve been fed a lie. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to, but there is absolutely no scientific evidence that bras will prevent your boobs from sagging. Why? Boobs aren’t muscle: they are skin, fat, and glands, and all of that will wrinkle and sag with time. Whatever you do, your boobs will move on without you. But that’s okay! If anything, you should feel free now! If your only reason for wearing a bra was because it might save your boobs one day, you can reassess!
Another myth I’ve heard is that not wearing bras is only feasible for flat chested people. Again, not true! I am a D cup and definitely have boobs. I’m not going to fall into a trap of thinking that some boobs are more appropriate than others. It goes down to comfort. Are you comfortable? That’s the only question worth anything at all.
So go out! Wear bras! Or don’t! Wear them when you do sport! Or don’t! Wear them when you have a special dress! Or don’t! The only right answer is the one that makes you happy.
Check out Ariel's video that inspired this piece here: