Is your bra killing you? The husband and wife research team, Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, reveal in their book, Dressed to Kill, that women who wear tight-fitting bras are more likely to have breast cancer than women who do not wear bras at all. Their theory is that tight bras inhibit the proper functioning of the lymph system. On the contrary, the National Cancer Institute does not list bras among breast cancer risk factors. The issue is still open to debate.
Having shared that food for thought, I’m switching from a serious issue to a lighter side of — the bra.
According to NOBRA (the North American Boobs Rescue Association) women are not wed to their bras. In fact, if we were, many of us would divorce them. From Germaine Greer, bestselling author of The Female Eunuch who wrote that “Bras are a ludicrous invention,” to Whoppi Goldberg who, a few months ago, admitted on The View that she has not worn a bra in 45 years, women are busting loose and letting it all hang out. By the way, you say you never heard of NOBRA? Neither has anyone else. I made that up. But if it were a real organization, I believe it would be on the Forbes List of top 100 companies.
In our society, it is socially expected that women wear a bra to work or in most other public places and generally we comply. But lest the hooter mercenaries begin inundating this blog with hostile comments, let me empathically state that I know life is about choices, and each woman makes her own.
Speaking of choice, as I write this in my home office, I am wearing capris and a shelf bra cami. Like many of the women who participated in my survey for this post – I hate wearing a bra, and when I am in my home I often don’t. Outside my home — that’s another matter.
During summer months, when the temperatures soar younger women flaunt their sexuality, braless — in sundresses, tube tops, and halters. Some older women do, too. I’m not one of them, although I was until I crossed the threshold of middle-age. Now, I’d rather be within my comfort zone and not have to worry if the top that I am wearing outlines breasts sagging like a bull dogs jowls. I’m just saying — when I go outside I think of my bra as an American Express card — I don’t leave home without it.
Over the years, bras have shifted from undergarments of functionality to fashion. It doesn’t matter whether it is a cute lacy number by Frederick’s of Hollywood, Victoria’s Secret, or Bali; ultimately a bra is a bra. Some are more comfortable than others and any bosomy woman who wears a bra all day, most days, will ultimately tuck “Thelma and Louis” into an uncomfortable one. Then, after hours of having been squeezed, smashed, mounted over underwires, constantly tucked back in after the bra has slide up, and fastened, unfastened, and refastened inside that tight-fitting, skimpy piece of fabric, the girls will be hollering “Uncle!” Has it ever happened to you? Come on, fess up. Surely you remember those days when you could hardly wait to get home, snatch off that bra, and then vigorously scratch the area where the elastic band darned near cut off your circulation? How do you spell relief?
As wise women mature, comfort becomes more important than vanity. I asked a few of the women who I polled for this piece the ridiculously open-ended question, “Would you rather … .” The most candid reply from one busty female was “have a bikini line wax with duct tape, than wear a bra.” Ouch!
Now, I’ve come full circle back to choice. Ladies, we know that ultimately the decision to wear or not to wear a bra is ours to make. But the next time you — and you know who you are — prepare to go out in public without one — when you feel like busting loose knowing full well that those twins have fallen to your navel and won’t stay up, remember — support can be a beautiful thing.