It turns out bra burning in the sixties never happened.
But after what I’ve just learned about bras, I wish it had.
Recently, I read about a 15-year French study that concludes bras are of no benefit to women and that they may even be harmful over time
Bras, say the researchers, are a ”false necessity.”
Some women need bras for support and that’s a good reason to wear one.
As for the rest of us, bras do nothing for breast health and it’s time to expose them for what they are: part modesty device, part fashion accessory, and big-part health risk.
Breasts like to move and we want them immobilized, so we strap on a modern-day corset to keep them in place and to stop any bouncing, sagging and nipple display.
This bosom incarceration – often in bras too small and tight – has serious ramifications and cancer might be one of them.
Bras also hinder lymph drainage. This is because bras alter breast shape and constrict their movement by applying constant pressure to breast tissue.
In their book Dressed To Kill, authors Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer say this constrictive pressure squeezes the tiny, delicate lymph vessels in the breast, impeding lymph flow and preventing lymph fluid from draining into the lymph nodes.
All this causes fluid and toxins to accumulate and for the breasts to become painful and tender. What’s more, fluid-filled cysts develop and this leads to fibrocystic breast disease in some women.
Singer and Grismaijer claim that 95 per cent of women who stop wearing bras notice a rapid improvement in breast health within days and they suggest going without a bra for a month to see for yourself.
Something else I didn’t know: bras keep breasts from sagging only while we wear them.
Breasts start drooping because they have no muscle and it’s diet and genetics that determine the speed of their descent.
In fact, bras may even make breasts sag more because the ligaments supporting them weaken and atrophy when given no chance to carry their own weight — this task is delegated to the shoulders when we wear bras. Use it or lose it is an apt epigram.
Start your bra rebellion covertly
Bra cold-turkey is too much for most of us, so I suggest you start your bra withdrawal in a covert manner. You could, as I do, wear a camisole under your work clothes and then go bra-free around the house when you get home.
Or simply go bra-less for increasing amounts of time each day. You’ll be amazed at how good this feels.
If you are of the small-to-medium breast brigade, why are you wearing a bra?
If it’s more to do with societal expectations, fashion or embarrassment, then you may feel inclined to explore the cold-turkey option.
This entails heading for the nearest hippie-revival bonfire, flinging your bra into the flames and staying for the after-party.
You might also like to attend a Free the Nipple Picnic. Currently, it’s confined to Brisbane, Australia, but it’s an idea straight from the 60s whose time has well and truly come.
Here’s a link to BreastNest.com, a site that features a bra alternative for large-breasted women.