Most women put on their bra without even thinking about it since they have been told since puberty that they should wear one. However, what purpose does a bra really serve other than to make women more societally acceptable in the workplace or at school? Bras have been marketed to women as a way to help lessen back pain, lift up the breasts, and provide extra support.
While bras might serve a purpose for working out, wearing them all the time can do much more harm than good. In this article, we’ll explain why going braless might just be the one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.
Here’s why women should stop wearing bras:
Professor Jean-Denis Rouillan, of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besancon in France, performed a study about why women don’t really need bras. According to his study, bras don’t have any medical or anatomic benefits for women. He actually discovered that bras do the exact opposite of what they’re marketed to do – they cause breasts to sag and prevent them from growing.
In the study, 330 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35 had their breasts measured over the course of 15 years. The women who went braless had a 7-millimeter lift in their nipples each year, which disproves the notion that breasts will sag without a bra. Also, the women who didn’t wear a bra had fewer stretch marks than those who did wear a bra. Furthermore, their breasts were actually firmer than the women who wore bras.
This study completely contradicts the advice women have been told all their lives. The study shows that not wearing a bra actually allows for better posture since the bra isn’t providing all the support. It also forces the body to develop the muscles underneath the breasts, which help prevent sagging and provide support.
In other words, without a bra, the body must actually use the muscles intended to protect the breasts from sagging. When the bra does all the work, the muscles in a woman’s body suffer from lack of use.
In fact, one woman from the study said that after two years of not wearing a bra, she could breathe better, had better posture, and didn’t have as much back pain. This shows that what we’ve been taught about bras simply isn’t true since they have been marketed as a way to reduce breast and back pain in women.
OTHER REASONS NOT TO WEAR BRAS
IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO FIND THE RIGHT ONE.
If you’ve ever been shopping for bras, you know just how excruciating the process can be. You might have tried on plenty of different sizes and still couldn’t find the right one because bra sizes aren’t universal. It’s sort of like when you go to a store to try on jeans and can fit into a size 8 but can’t squeeze into a size 12. You might try on dozens of bras and never find the right fit, wasting hours in department stores and leaving frustrated and empty-handed. This makes the process of shopping that much harder for women.
BRAS ARE EXPENSIVE.
Not to mention, bras don’t come cheap (well, the quality ones, anyway). According to Statista, most women spent between $16 and $30 on a bra in 2017. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but keep in mind that this is just an average. If you go to stores like Victoria’s Secret, expect to spend a lot more. Plus, most women buy more than one bra. If you account for sports bras, work bras, leisure bras, and every other type of bra out there, the cost can add up.
Unless you’re buying a wireless bra, bras just don’t offer much comfort. The underwire can break, causing it to pierce into your skin in the most inconvenient situations. Then, you have to either go home to change or just tough it out for the rest of the day. However, it isn’t just the underwire bras that cause discomfort. While sports bras are seen as a necessity for a lot of women, they are often so tight. They might make you feel suffocated and trapped.
Even more casual bras without cups or wires can feel uncomfortable simply. The breasts never get a chance to breathe from being stuck inside a bra all day.
THEY AREN’T NECESSARY FOR EVERY ACTIVITY.
If you always wear a bra, you don’t give the breasts a chance to “air out,” if you will. In modern society, we simply don’t need to wear a bra all the time. Aside from sleeping, women are expected to wear a bra during every other activity, including at work, school, the gym, and at social events. However, just because it’s a social norm doesn’t mean women have to abide by it.
While most women would be looked down upon if they chose to go braless to work or school, it should be up to them, ultimately, since there is no law stating that women have to wear a bra.
WHY PRETEENS SHOULD ESPECIALLY NOT WEAR BRAS
For preteen women, science shows that there’s no reason to push wearing a bra on them. In fact, not wearing a bra provides health benefits since it promotes the growth of breast tissue, according to Professor Rouillan’s study. Going braless also supports muscle tissue growth around the breast.
Training bras are often marketed to women between the ages of 8 and 12, but they just aren’t necessary. Although women are expected to wear bras, there is no scientific or medical reason for women to do so. Bras hinder development and can actually cause more damage to a woman’s health. Parents who have preteen daughters should allow them to make the decision and not force wearing a bra upon them.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Even though the study found benefits for women who chose not to wear bras, keep in mind that the women in the study were fairly young. They’ve only been wearing bras for a few decades, whereas older women have been wearing them for much longer. If older women chose to go braless, researchers might not see the same results as in the younger women.
This study is preliminary and researchers emphasize that they aren’t telling women to stop wearing bras altogether. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to decide what’s best for her. You alone know what makes you the most comfortable. Also, the study didn’t discuss women who engaged in physical activity and what effect it had on their breasts. Since bras were originally invented to hold breasts in place during movement, this is a pretty big gap in the study.
TIPS ON GOING BRALESS
If you choose not to wear a bra, it might feel a little strange at first. You’ll have to brave the initial anxieties that come with giving up something you’ve depended on your whole life. Here are a few tips to help you out:
Start out small. If you’ve been wearing bras every waking hour for the last 30 years, you should probably not show up at work or school tomorrow without one. In other words, go slowly. Practice going braless when you pick up your morning coffee or walk your dog. Then, work your way up to going without one at work, school, or social events.
Work on your posture. Since your bra has been doing all the work for you, you’ll need some refreshers when it comes to how to stand and sit properly. Make sure to keep your shoulders back, head up, and back straight so that you don’t hurt your neck or back.
Wear a bralette. Bralettes are more comfortable bras without padding and wires. If you aren’t comfortable totally ditching your bra yet, you can transition into a bralette first. They are far less constricting than normal bras, so you’ll start getting used to how it feels to go braless.
Wearing a bra is a highly personal choice. The benefits of going braless include the possibility of less back and breast pain, fewer expenses, less discomfort, and more freedom. Plenty of women around the globe have decided to ditch their bras for these reasons. Some women also consider that bras are sexist.
Young women should not wear bras so that their breasts can develop properly. Once a woman reaches puberty, the effects of wearing a bra are unclear. Very limited research exists about the benefits and harms of bras, so women must do what feels right to them. Perhaps going without a bra for a week or two could give you an idea of what it would feel like. Afterwards, you can make an informed decision about whether you’d like to make it permanent or not.