How to escape the hell of an underwire bra at work



I recently came across this jewel of a tweet from comedian, author and musician Lane Moore:

hey boy, are you a bra? because society keeps telling me i need you but i really don’t— Lane Morgue (@hellolanemoore) October 17, 2019

It’s true: Bras are just a holdover from the days when women wore corsets. During World War I, the metal used to make them was redirected to the war effort, shrinking corsets down to the bras we wear today. In that way, the bra “sprung from a perceived necessity, and also from an attempt to create necessity where there is none or very little,” Hillary Brenhouse wrote in her 2017 New Yorker article, “The Joy of Not Wearing a Bra.”

Our image of bralessness goes back to the bra-burning feminists of the 1960s. Today, Lina Esco’s Free the Nipple campaign has garnered the support of celebrities including Rihanna and Chelsea Handler. Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen leave their headlights on in public all the time. Meanwhile, high school students in Florida and Montana have boycotted for the right to go braless, rightly pointing out that they should not be disciplined for having a female body.

Theoretically, I love the idea of tearing off my bra — for good. But the reality is that, as a 30GG, I’ve been socialized to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious if I leave the house without one.

But the attitude of the real women we spoke to is: Who cares? “Last I checked, which was a very long time ago, I was a 34DDD,” Brenhouse said. “I’ve got nothing to recommend to anyone other than that they dress so as to feel good. I feel good in high-waisted bottoms, so typically my tits are hanging … just above my waistband.”

For many women, dressing to feel good means foregoing a garment with straps that leave indentations in their shoulders or underwire that digs painfully into their skin. Lizzy Martinez, the teen who started the Florida “bracott,” decided to not wear a bra because her shoulders were painfully sunburned.

support the #bracott ?— liz (@lizzymartineez) April 12, 2018

Consider the dress code.

But how can you actually feel comfortable going braless in your day-to-day life? At work, at your cousin’s graduation party, at parent/teacher night? And, when it comes to work, is bralessness even legal?

The answer, Monica Torres wrote in HuffPost, “is yes and no. Yes, your employer can make you conform to a dress code.” But, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, your boss can’t create or enforce a dress code that institutionalizes gender inequity. So if an employer wants people to cover up on top, they have to draft rules that place the burden on men and women equally.

Sarah Wasilak, a fashion editor at Popsugar and a size 30B, steps out sans bra three to five days a week. She thinks society needs to get over its fear of women’s nipples but noted, “I’d never make co-workers feel uncomfortable by violating our own dress code at Popsugar, for example. I think remaining tasteful is important, of course, and … it’s necessary to read the rules and regulations that HR has set in stone.”

Huffington Post for more

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