Do We Really Need Bras?

More than 90% of women wear bras in North America without ever asking why. Women give all sorts of reasons for wearing bras, but I wonder, do we really need to wear them? I’m not sure. Let’s face it – it’s only recently in human history that females began wearing breast supports.

Think about how we are conditioned to make bra-wearing a fundamental component of our lives. We are taught to wear them from an early age and never really told why. For most women (excluding those with very large breasts) bras are not necessary for breast health; mostly we wear them for cultural and social reasons.

Looking back on history, the bra was created following the success of the corset. The corset was designed to shape a woman’s body according to the fashion of the times, and to present a pleasing shape to stimulate men’s interest. Prior to the corset, there is little evidence of garments existing that could be considered bras.

Even today, bras are not used worldwide or in every ethno-cultural group. They are mainly used in western cultures, where they are fundamentally a sexual accessory whose purpose is to emphasize the breasts for men.

Have women been socialized to believe that they must wear bras? Women are never taught that they have the choice, only that bras are a necessity for a female wardrobe. We don’t even notice the slight discomfort that bras cause on our bodies because we are so used to the way they feel. Women have come to believe that wearing bras make breasts more comfortable, whereas going braless would seem to be the more natural thing to do.

I leave you with a variety of reasons why woman say their wear bras. We can argue many of the reasons below, but some of them, when you look at the big picture, just seem silly!

  • “Breasts need to be supported.”
  • “I feel immoral or indecent going without.”
  • “Because everybody does so.”
  • “Because I need to wear a bra for my job since it’s the dress code.”
  • “I hate the thought of my breasts sagging so much.”
  • “I have discomfort from sweating or ‘slapping’ of my breasts.”
  • “They jump up and down while I exercise and do sports.”
  • “I am breastfeeding & I need to wear nursing bras.”

Many of these reasons have some merit, but I’m not yet convinced that breasts require bras. I merely believe that we are grown up believing that they’re a necessity.

What do you think? Are bras necessary, or a bit of cultural baggage, or does it really even matter?