Burning Bras: An Exploratory

My bra broke at work last week. The underwire for one of the cups just became two pieces, making me uncomfortably aware of how much bras squish boobs into specific shapes. Mostly because before I realized it was broken I was doing the squishing and maneuvering and getting frustrated. It’s no wonder the cup snapped as well.

But it’s got me thinking about this whole bra thing. Women have a love/hate relationship with bras. They can do amazing things for your breasts, but at what cost?

I assume the root purpose of a bra is to keep the boobs in place, contain them, keep them on lock down, so they don’t go wildly bouncing around at inappropriate moments. Bras are insurance that I don’t accidentally become an unpaid floor show.

And yet. Apparently they serve many more purposes. Otherwise we wouldn’t have water bras, push-up bras, bras that can hold wine, bras with memory foam (memory foam!), and bras that defy all kinds of gravity on your behalf. It’s that fine line for women between sex object and functioning human. Or sexy human. Or objective human. Or something.

Side note, it is almost impossible to buy a utilitarian, comfortable bra that is also pretty. It’s just not a thing. You either have to be pretty and uncomfortable, or comfortable and blah.

Come on, world.

Feminism has long been linked with women burning bras which although false, feels true given the resentment women have toward the contraption. Remember seeing those cone bras of the past? Like that was a natural shape for a woman.

One of the bras I bought (online) to replace the one that broke was so difficult to get into and out of that I almost needed a second pair of hands. Like choking, trying to get a bra off is one of those times where you’re aware of how helpless you are when you live alone.

There’s also the bras that make you feel somehow fat when you try them on. As if an improperly fit bra means your boobs are too fat. Please. But it’s there, isn’t it? It’s when the cup doesn’t fit right, or when the band of the sports bra rolls up on you. Suddenly you’re this monstrosity who doesn’t deserve a properly fitting bra because you’re too big for this world.

The amount of loathing you can feel toward an object increases when it seems that object is judging you by breaking, trapping you, or making you feel worse about yourself. If women ever have burned bras it’s not because they’re making a stand against the patriarchal oppression of the system, it’s because historically, bras suck.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: the best bras are the front closure ones. These feel like you’re slinging on a detective’s gun shoulder holster when you get ready. For about ten seconds it’s like you can confront the world.

Outside of that? Bras are mostly a lot like life. Kind of uncomfortable, kind of ill-fitting, and kind of hard to get working in the morning when you’re half asleep.

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