Hello, my name is Autumn and I have been bra-free for 5 months.
My addiction to bras began when I was in fifth grade. I remember the exact moment. My friend Ashley brought a Britney Spears poster to class. Britney was wearing bellbottom pants and and a shirt basically made up of a bra with bellbottom sleeves. This isn’t necessarily anything different than what we see in media today (except for the excessive amount of bellbottom clothing), but for a 5th grader, it was a lot to handle in one picture. I realized that Britney was attractive and popular and to me, the way her boobs were being showcased meant that she was attractive and popular.
By the time middle school rolled around, like many girls, I started to focus on how I looked. I was a happy person in middle school, but I was definitely self-conscious about my body. I wanted to be attractive and popular like Britney, so I focused on cleavage. At this point in my life, wearing a bra seemed normal. In high school, I started to to feel that my bra size was inadequate. I was an A cup or a B, I don’t remember too well. What I do remember was thinking, “Maybe if I wear a certain bra, my boobs will look bigger, which means that I’ll be prettier, and then I’ll be happier.” In my mind, bigger boobs equated to bigger happiness. I compared the size of my bras to everyone else, and no matter the situation, I ended up feeling inadequate.
During junior year of high school, I learned about pushup bras. When I saw them at the mall, I thought, they sure are puffy. I knew that when I moved away from home I could finally attain this life-changing technology. In college, I had the freedom to buy the bras that I wanted. My first week away from home, I marched to the Victoria’s Secret on Michigan Avenue and bought two pushup bras (one in nude and one in black, you know, for different outfits). The pushup bras were in my possession! I went home to try them on and I looked at myself in the mirror. Were my breasts pushed up? Yes. They looked bigger? Yes. Did I feel better about myself? Kind of.
I had been waiting for this moment for a while, and I knew that I would be happier now. I had the pushup bras and I would use them for all my pushing-up needs. Through the next few years, wearing them was part of my daily routine. Eventually, the only bras I wore were pushups and I wore them all the time. I felt inadequate wearing a regular lace bra, so there were points when I was ended up wearing two bras, one pushup and one lace one for aesthetic purposes.
About two years ago I learned that I could get help. I wasn’t alone. I could be “bra-free.” I tried it a couple times, and always relapsed. I would looked down at my boobs and think, “But I I DO need a bra. I need my boobs to be pushed up. How else will I feel secure with my body?”
Six months ago, my breasts began to hurt slightly and feel tender when wearing a bra, whether it was loose or tight. To this day I’m not exactly sure why the slight pain started, but I knew I had to rethink my bra situation. I stopped wearing them completely, and I started researching living Bra Free. I found that many women believe their breasts will be healthier and perkier with bras, but there is actually nothing that proves the theory. According to Brafree.org, “80% of women wear bras that are too tight. But women choose bras that are tight because they think their breasts need ‘support.’” Furthermore the website says that, “Breasts need to move. To jiggle.” If they don’t have the freedom to do that, the ligaments in you breasts can get weaker.
Immediately after going bra-free, the discomfort went away and I haven’t relapsed since. It wasn’t until a couple months after being bra-less that I accepted that my obsession with wearing bras was not just about the bras, it was about me wanting to feel better about myself. Sometimes I do wear the occasional bandeau for an aesthetic purpose, but I don’t have the need for bras like I thought I did. I’m happy with my boobs and I’d venture to say that they’re happy with me now that they’re not cooped up in those bras anymore.