- Khristina Holterman ’20
No Bra Wednesdays: originally just an excuse to not wear a bra because, let’s be honest, they can be uncomfortable and annoying and restricting. If you haven’t heard (which I’m sure many of you haven’t), I started a “movement” with some friends to go braless on Wednesdays, AKA NBW. Although it’s a fun chance to free the nips and take some cute pictures for the NBW gram, there’s a lot more to it.
Throughout history, women’s bodies have been sexualized in every way possible. Legs, waist, boobs, butt. They’re just body parts; they serve us useful functions: walking, digesting, feeding babies, some extra cushioning. Yet, almost every part of our body has been sexualized. Why must women feel uncomfortable, scrutinized, or embarrassed, wearing tight clothes or showing off their curves (or lack thereof)? And it’s not just women, but everyone- boys too.
However, what I really want to focus on is the one thing that boys don’t get judged for: their boobs. Freeing the nipple has somehow racked up the connotations of radical feminists burning their bras and causing a commotion. When in actuality, the bra-burning myth was most likely connected with feminism by opposers as a means to invalidate the real motives of women throwing their bras into the “freedom trash can” during the 1968 Miss America protest. At this time, women began calling into question their roles in society and the limitations that had been placed on them from their own government. Around this time is when the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) began. The WLM questioned the cultural and legal ramifications of patriarchy and the practical validity of the sex based social hierarchies used to restrict the physical and legal independence of women in society.
Long story short: women were sick of, among other things, their bodies being sexualized. After all, nipples are just nipples. Why are they so taboo? Have you ever noticed in pictures of nude ladies, they only blur out the nipples, not the rest of the boob? What’s the point? We all know what’s underneath, but society just wants us to believe it’s inappropriate, or maybe they blur them because they aren’t “cute” enough. Men have nipples too and I don’t see those blurred out. In fact, men’s and women’s nipples are identical, yet one has been objectified to an extreme extent while the other is completely socially acceptable to be seen.
Not only have they been objectified, but this objectification has led to the justification that nipples poking out are “distracting” to others. Considering how sexualized a women’s body is, it’s not invalid to suggest this, but the problem is that we support this idea on the basis that boobs mean sex. Once we stop viewing nipples as a sex object and start seeing them as what they really are – a part of the body – then we can fully appreciate and accept them.
I know bras can serve a purpose. They give us support, maybe a little push too, but not wearing one can be extremely liberating. Taking off your bra at the end of the day must be how colonial women felt untying their corsets, or maybe how Kim K feels taking off her “waist- trainer,” knowing she already got that picture for the gram with the snatched waist. It’s freeing to have nothing holding you in or holding you back. Consider why you feel most comfortable wearing a bra, is it because society has told you to or because it genuinely feels good? According to the Telegraph, “informal surveys have found that many women began wearing bras to be fashionable, to conform to social or maternal pressure, or for physical support. Very few cited comfort as the reason.”
So, with the start of a new school year and new outlooks, consider how you want to feel. Do you want to walk around all day uncomfortable/in pain trying to push those AAs up or trying to hide those DDs? Or maybe you like wearing a bra, and that gives you confidence. That’s fine too! But remember: it’s never too nippy out to ditch the bra. Join NBW. Free yourself!