October 26, 2017

"No one says, 'You’re so lucky that you don’t have to wear a bra,' which is something I’ve weirdly been levelling at small-breasted women my entire adult life."

"The people who contemplate my chest, and there are many, generally come to the conclusion that I’m a hippie or an angry feminist or both; I might as well have burned the bras, not slid them gently into a drawer. And they* don’t mind. In fact, it seems to bring them some relief to have reaffirmed that this other way isn’t available to them or anyone they know, because it’s for irate bohemian ladies.... I like the way most clothes feel on my bare skin.... I like the way my breasts sound against my ribcage when I run down the stairs, like someone clapping politely for a performance that they didn’t particularly enjoy..... When I nod vigorously, my boobs nod along, in agreement. When I wave at someone in a crowd, they wave with me...."

From "The Joy of Not Wearing a Bra" by Hillary Brenhouse (The New Yorker).

___________________

* On reread, I got confused by that "they," coming right after "I might as well have burned the bras, not slid them gently into a drawer." The bras don't mind being slid gently into the drawer? They're relieved to have reaffirmed that... huh? 

74 comments:

Tregonsee said...

Pass.

The Godfather said...

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Earnest Prole said...

As with many fashion choices, women wear bras primarily for other women.

Sebastian said...

To bra or not to bra, that's not the question.

Etienne said...

I'd be worried about becoming an Amazon. I mean, those women with flat breasts down and over their belly that were legally published because they were natives.

Let them fly, or corral them, it's your belly.

mccullough said...

Narcissism

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I hate being braless so much that I wear mine to bed under my jammies to read, taking it off just before sleepytime. I dislike the feeling of fabric on my nipples, I dislike my breast skin touching my chest skin, I dislike how my clothes look. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

buwaya said...

"A picture is worth a thousand words.'

That is the Laslo position, and its certainly well supported.
So to speak.

buwaya said...

"Different strokes for different folks, I guess."

May it not be a matter of being accustomed to them?
If you were back in, oh, the Neolithic, you might have had a different opinion.

Speaking from my Cro-magnon side.

Ralph L said...

I didn't think Laslo was usually in a position to see.

That quote reads messily.

tcrosse said...

Do your boobs hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie 'em in a knot?
Can you tie 'em in a bow?
Can you throw 'em o'er your shoulder
Like a continental soldier?
Do your boobs hang low?

Unknown said...

I think we need video with matching audio to see if the sounds of her running down stairs and her boobs clapping is really as great as she says it is.

For research, naturally. Except Laslo, who never heard of a double entendre--they are always single entendres.

--Vance

rhhardin said...

I knew average women in the 50s who didn't wear bras but nobody noticed particularly. It wasn't feminist or anything, just a fashion indifference. No joy of articles.

walter said...

Female privilege.
No way could a guy write about his balls applauding in The New Yorker.

Ralph L said...

At the school's weekly coffee klatch, some of my college friends made a display for the 75th year of the patented bra. The cavewoman bra was two bathroom plunger cups hooked together.

Somehow they found one that was so huge, after I put it on, two guys put their heads in the cups. We were the college weirdos.

rhhardin said...

Bras coordinate jiggle, tame chaos. Look at Sandra Bullock running down the sidewalk to hug Hugh Grant at the end of Two Weeks Notice (2002).

Fashionwise, shape plus jiggle beats chaos.

rhhardin said...

I pass a long-distance jogging woman sometimes on my bike route (we have an acknowledging wave relationship) with whatever the smallest breast size is wearing a sports bra as a formality. I've wondered if she took up long distance jogging so long ago that it prevented puberty.

Anyway she gets no applause going down stairs, bra or not.

rhhardin said...

A companion article on kets will appear next month in the New Yorker's math puzzle section.

rehajm said...

we have an acknowledging wave relationship

If she reads Althouse, you used to.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'd be worried about becoming an Amazon. I mean, those women with flat breasts down and over their belly that were legally published because they were natives."

Actually, not wearing a bra is better for maintaining the underlying structure which a bra actually weakens. So the bra is counterproductive if you're worried about sagging. Surprising but true!

'TreHammer said...

Blogger The Godfather said...
A picture is worth a thousand words.

10/26/17, 4:18 PM

"I don't care who you are, that's funny right there."
- Larry the Cable Guy

Francisco D said...

"So the bra is counterproductive if you're worried about sagging. Surprising but true!"

Doesn't size play a factor, in that larger breasted women have more of a gravity tug?

I'm interested because my large breasted girlfriend wears a bra until it's time to go to bed. She thinks that she needs to to prevent sagging. It sort of makes sense to me, although I would not mind if she went braless at home.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Surprising but true!
10/26/17, 4:56 PM

It's very well that you have found an authority that supports what you wish to be true, but how does this explain the floppy native women?

Bay Area Guy said...

"The Joy of Not Wearing a Bra" by Hillary Brenhouse (The New Yorker).

That joy extends to us males, too, if you have a nice rack. Thanks!

Etienne said...

I think it might be the native dances. They tend to just hop up and down and ululate.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I've read that too, Althouse, but I am dubious about that claim. There's just way too much anecdotal evidence in the other direction.

Maybe it's just coincidence or correlation vs causation but all of the women who are the rip their bra off as soon as they get home from work types I'll seem to have nipples around their navels by the time they're 50.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

*all seem

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I'm a sample size of one, but I still look ok, despite being in my late 30s and having nursed four children into toddlerhood. I only take mine off to sleep or shower. Who knows though - maybe I would look the same if I never wore a bra.

Bay Area Guy said...

Am I wrong, or have there a lotta posts lately about boobs and groping?

This is an excellent topic of discussion, but causes my mind to wander a lot........

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I also don't particularly want to see other women braless and think it's tacky, but whaddya gonna do.

Bay Area Guy said...

One of the problems in the Bay Area, is that every now and then some ditzy feminists will sponsor a nudity/anti-rape/anti-sexual harrasment/pro-feminist rally, often in Berkeley, and expose their breasts to us in public to make some point.

In theory, this is a welcome idea.

In practice? Well, let's just politely say it ain't the gals at Hef's Playboy Mansion, if ya get my drift. It's more of the Bryn Mawr Women's rugby team -- without the exercise or toned bodies or shaving kits.

In truth, it's kinda gross.

Sam L. said...

Feminists are weird.

Birches said...

I don't have to wear a bra, but when I nursed, I did. I disliked how sweaty my breasts got underneath when I was free and easy. Hard pass.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Doesn't size play a factor, in that larger breasted women have more of a gravity tug?

Yes.

tcrosse said...

There was a time - late 70's maybe - when the bra-less look was considered chic. I remember passing through Dayton's, the big department store in downtown Minneapolis, and seeing a manikin dressed in whatever fashion they were selling to teenage girls. She looked and posed a lot like Dégas Little Ballerina, and she displayed nipples about the size of your thumb tent-poling her shirt-front. Autre temps....

Ralph L said...

but whaddya gonna do

Try to hold them up?
Even over her objections, of course.

Ralph L said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
Doesn't size play a factor, in that larger breasted women have more of a gravity tug?
Yes.

First we had Bruce Hayden bragging about his partner, and now you.

sodal ye said...

Personally, the flatter chested the better. I dated a French traveller in Laos recently, flat as an ironing board. Very nice.

sodal ye said...

* okay, let’s say half a bagel.

reader said...

All day. Every day. With underwire. It might be the result of my walk/stride but the jarring feeling of not wearing a bra is uncomfortable. It seems to be a matter of personal preference. I have a better endowed friend (DD) who only wears a bra when absolutely necessary.

MadisonMan said...

No one says, 'You’re so lucky that you don’t have to wear a jockstrap,' which is something I’ve weirdly been leveling at small-cocked/balled men my entire adult life.

It's a mistake to think anyone important cares about you, what you wear, or what you do.

Ann Althouse said...

I’ve read scientific studies. I wouldn’t trust the anecdotes because no one knows what would have happened to her if she’d taken the other approach and most women aren’t going to talk about it. Either you’ll seem to be bragging or you’ll be denigrating yours. Those who wear bras are likely to think they are playing it safe, but the opposite could be true. Maybe the best advice is to do what feels more comfortable except when you’ve got some particular clothes that need a bra to look right or you want more modesty.

reader said...

More than once I have heard one man say to another, “You’re so lucky you don’t have to wear a tie”. Could that be related to status?

n.n said...

Weird. Do women really talk, think so much about pussy (...hats) and big balloons?

Their own? The female sitting next to them?

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I could give a shit whether women wear bras or not. Can someone tell me if/why I should? Should other women care?

Burning questions. It's legal in NY (and many places) for them to even go topless.

Maybe someday people's backward attitudes will catch up with the laws.

More power to any woman who doesn't want to wear a bra. Or even a shirt.

n.n said...

re: gender, specifically physical feature, envy

I observed this on parade at the last Slut Walk. Well, that, and dirty old women and female transgender/homosexuals. I wonder if this is why women prefer to work for men.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Earnest Prole said...
As with many fashion choices, women wear bras primarily for other women."

Untrue. Bras are practical for anybody who is larger than a B cup. I don't find it particularly comfortable to bounce when I'm going down stairs; certainly not while jumping rope (which I sometimes did when I was younger) or jogging. The only time I've gone braless in public was when I wore halter dresses and tops that provided support.

n.n said...

why women prefer to work for men... Eyes up here!

CStanley said...

Doesn't size play a factor, in that larger breasted women have more of a gravity tug?

Yes.


Double yes. Bouncing is painful!

Laslo Spatula said...

",,,certainly not while jumping rope..."

Please tell me your hair was in pig-tails.

I am Laslo.

Bob Ellison said...

Oh, crap, some of us have to go to bed. Please stop writing about boobs.

PB said...

Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Party we're responsible for the election of Woodrow Wilson which led to all kinds of mischief much of which we still struggle with today to retain our Republic. He was a political spoiler in 1912 that era's John McCain

DavidD said...

“ ‘And they don’t mind.‘ “

I thought she meant her boobs.

DavidD said...

Actually, I thought she meant “people”. But no.

Unknown said...

Of FFS, first world angst.

-sw

lucy white said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lucy white said...

Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras
➜ https://www.amazon.com/dp/0895296640/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Women who wear tight-fitting bras 24 hours a day are 125 times more likely to have breast cancer than women who do not wear bras at all. Tight clothing inhibits the proper functioning of the lymphatic system (an internal network of vessels and nodes that flushes wastes from the body) and leads to a buildup of carcinogenic compounds in the constricted areas.

Fight the Victoria's Secret Industrial Complex!

Phil 3:14 said...

Is there a male corollary?

Ralph L said...

Is there a male corollary?
Boxers, briefs, or commando. Allegedly, briefs can cause fertility problems because of body warmth.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Women who wear tight-fitting bras 24 hours a day"

Who wears tight-fitting bras 24 hours a day? Do women actually sleep in them? Now that would be uncomfortable!

And if your bra is tight, you need to get a proper fitting.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Free the Springfield two!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

What proportion of New Yorker articles are just "Me me me me me me me, me...I am so damn intersting...Me!"
From the sample I get here it seems like it must be pretty high.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Side question: how did the layers ànd layers of fact checkers verify the assertion that her breasts make a reluctant applause sound when she descends stairs?

xpanxpunkx said...

To solve the question of bra-vs-no-bra saggage, perhaps we should do a longitudinal study with women wearing half a bra.

Somehow I feel this suggestion should end with "I am Laslo."

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Maybe the best advice is to do what feels more comfortable except when you’ve got some particular clothes that need a bra to look right or you want more modesty.

Agreed.

Women who wear tight-fitting bras 24 hours a day are 125 times more likely to have breast cancer than women who do not wear bras at all.

Sorry, that's total nonsense. "According to this study, there was no increased risk of breast cancer due to wearing a bra, a result that, to breast cancer specialists, was about as surprising as the observation that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, water is wet, and gasoline flammable. However, the myth that wearing bras increases the risk of breast cancer is one of those unsinkable rubber ducks...of a myth that just won’t die."

The Bear said...

I'm remembering a song we used to hear when I was a kid sung by some of the lewder kids around ...

Let ... your ... boobs hang low,
Let them wobble to and fro,
You can tie them in a knot,
You can tie them in a bow,
You can sling them o'er your shoulder like a Continental soldier,
Let your boobs ... hang ... low. ;)

Laslo Spatula said...

I like women to be comfortable with their breasts.

If that makes me a feminist then I guess I'm a feminist.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I've got a thing for sports bras.

The Girl with the Pony Tail on the Treadmill knows this.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Bras, no Bras.

In the Seventies women could split the difference with Tube Tops.

I am Laslo.

Michael The Magnificent said...

I pass a long-distance jogging woman sometimes on my bike route (we have an acknowledging wave relationship) with whatever the smallest breast size is wearing a sports bra as a formality. I've wondered if she took up long distance jogging so long ago that it prevented puberty.

One day a couple of years ago, my friend Jane and I are having a nice bicycle ride down the interurban trail. Going the opposite direction was a young woman with long red hair in a pony tail, tight athletic shirt and compression pants over a tight athletic body. Pretty face, flat stomach, nice tan, long legs.

After we pass her, Jane asks if she should get shoes like the woman we just passed.

My reply: "She was wearing shoes?"

Lucien said...

Props to PB for the Teddy Roosevelt comment on the boobs thread. I guess TR probably had a set of clangers that could have used a "man-siere" or a "bro" in his old age. NTTAWWT.

Pinandpuller said...

If women don't wear a bra where are they going to keep their iPhone and cash?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

"I'm a sample size of one..."

Wouldn't that be a sample size of two?

Syd Singer said...

I am a medical anthropologist breast cancer researcher and co-author of Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. I have been working on this issue for 25 years, fighting against a guilt-ridden lingerie industry and a defensive and embarrassed cancer industry. I see some people in this thread cite our work.

There are now numerous studies internationally that show wearing tight bras causes breast cancer, as well as causing breast pain and cysts. In fact, bra-free women have nearly the same risk of breast cancer as men, while the tighter and longer the bra is worn the higher the risk rises, with 24/7 bra users having over 100 times the risk compared to bra-free.

As a result of our work, there is a cultural movement towards being bra-free, and non-constrictive bralettes are now more popular. Women are questioning why they need to wear bras in the first place. In fact, there is no reason for bras apart from fashion, and the history of fashion is filled with harmful products (such as corsets, tight shoes).

Over 85% of women are wearing their bras too tightly, according to the lingerie industry. When women stop wearing bras, most report that their breast pain and cysts disappear, and their breast lift and tone as the natural suspensory ligaments regain strength. To see if your bra is harming you, just try being bra-free for one month. Your body will know.