Thursday, January 6, 2011

No such thing as a comfortable bra!

This is a subject I never thought I'd discuss on the blog, but there's a first time for everything. I rarely wear bras, especially in Winter since my body is totally covered with so many layers of warm clothing. However, in the Summer months if I'm wearing a low-cut dress I sometimes wear them. This was one of those days and an hour after putting it on I was pulling and tugging at it because it was so uncomfortable. No one can tell me that bra's are comfortable, I just don't believe it. I suffered for nearly four hours today whilst walking around the shops and so, on my way home, in my street, I unlatched the hooks, slid the shoulder straps off my arms and pulled it free. What a relief! In the course of my conversation with a woman in my street who was watering her front garden I happened to mention what I'd done and she said that she also found bras uncomfortable and rarely wore them. We both agreed that apart from support, which is really only required if you have immense breasts, the major reason women wear bras is to hide their nipples, which seems absolutely ridiculous since everyone knows that women have them, so why are they concealed?
Bras have really only been around for the past one hundred years. Their invention is credited to Mary Phelps Jacobs, a socialite who, not wanting to wear a corset with whale back bones protruding above her sheer evening dress, fashioned an undergarment out of two silk handkerchiefs and some pink ribbon ~ sounds really comfortable, but pointless to me. Prior to that, George Frost and George Phelps patented the Union Under-Flannel', a no bones, no eyelets, and no laces or pulleys under-outfit. Both these garments appear to have been invented for modesty and comfort. And speaking about modesty, I've scanned the Internet and there are many women who are concerned that they may appear 'slutty', 'trashy' or 'inappropriate' if they don't wear a bra and it's generally other women who consider them so because they understand that men (and women) find an erect nipple erotic. To allow them to be shown must mean that the woman is displaying her sexuality. On the other hand, if a woman has tiny breasts no-one appears to mind whether she is showing the outline of her breasts and nipples. If you are usually endowed or have over-endowed breasts you are expected to cover them up, because if you don't you'll get amorous glances from men and side-ways, critical looks from women. Though really, isn't this all a little passé, since we live in an anything goes culture in which young women today wear shorts so short that they might as well be wearing their undies in public. The other day a young woman was standing in front of me and I could clearly see her pubic hairs.
Actresses periodically appear in public wearing see-through attire, indeed Uma Thurman shocked audience members attending the Swarovski Fashion Rocks event in 2007 when she wore a couture Valentine gown that left nothing to the imagination and many other female actresses and singers wear extremely sexy clothes that look for all purposes like lingerie.
Women wear bras to uplift their breasts, to make them look larger and more perfectly shaped, paradoxically, by doing this they are able to achieve what has been referred to as an hour glass figure in which the breasts are defined as separate from the waist, which appears smaller, satisfying the male fetish for small waists. In fact, wearing a bra means that women are buying not only into culture and fashion, but the whole idea of breasts as a mark of feminine sexuality. Some women feel so attached to their bra and the way their breasts look in them that they actually wear a bra to bed and this may lead to health issues. According to Kirsten Jones, Many women are unaware that there is a big link between tight fitting bras and breast cancer due to an impaired lymphatic flow, but I'm fairly sure that it's only bras with under-wire that causes most of the problems.
Feminists symbolically 'burnt their bras' in the sixties, but I was not one of them. It took me years to finally decide to stop wearing those hideous contraptions ; it took a little courage and lots of practice. Wearing a bra today was an aberrant event, one I won’t be repeating any time soon!

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