Free the Titties: A Social Experiment Turned Lifestyle

 

Society tells women that their boobs need to look a certain way. For the most part that means lifted and separated to the point of discomfort. Most women have experienced that awful feeling of being stabbed by the underwire, the necessary evil most bras contain to give us that lifted and rounded look society wants so badly. We know all too well that amazing relief of taking off said underwire bra at the end of the day. It’s an amazing feeling that creates many memes and entire Buzzfeed lists of “things every woman who’s ever worn a bra” can relate to. But my question is why?

Why do we put ourselves through it? I can admit there are days that I enjoy having my boobs lifted and perched sexily underneath my chin to draw attention on my better, well manicured days. Sure, we all have those moments. However, what percentage of days are those? I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, it’s a rather small percentage in comparison to the days I really don’t feel like my boobs being the main focus of my body. With that thought fairly frequently, I began to wonder how I could change my routine.

One day I was out shopping and found a dress I would almost never have considered. It had some skimpy straps and a relatively open back compared to what I usually wear. I don’t enjoy strapless bras and the bras I own have thicker straps. They aren’t the cute, brightly patterned, skinny strapped bras you find on small to average sized boobs. Oh no. They are the wide strapped, boring patterned, but well supported bras for those of us on the larger end of the spectrum. My kind of bra does not easily hide in an opened back dress with skimpy straps up top. I grabbed the dress anyway. I went into the dressing room and put the dress on without my bra.

It was a new world. I was scared to even look in the mirror, but when I finally got up the courage, I was shocked. Honestly, I could barely tell I wasn’t wearing a bra. The dress was patterned in a way that hid my lack of bra pretty well. I was comfortable and felt like I was wearing pajamas. I wasn’t confined, but I also wasn’t out for the world to stare awkwardly. I sent pictures to multiple friends to confirm the purchase was a good idea and walked out of the store with a dress I was certain I would wear without a bra in public. I was exhilarated and slightly terrified.

A social experiment was born. I decided to wear the dress on Memorial Day when I knew I would be out and about more than usual. I sent Snapchat video updates to a few friends that knew about the dress and my anxiety about it. It was a warm day, and before even leaving my apartment, I felt boob sweat building and running down my stomach a little bit. Yikes. I hadn’t considered that issue. Well, nothing I could do about it now.

I was about to go for it. Braless in public for the first time since I grew the awesome fleshy pillows that are my boobs... I ended up walking a lot more that day than I had expected, so it was a much bigger commitment than I had realized I was making. I sweated a lot, and I had to adjust. By the end of the day, I felt like nothing was wrong or weird at all. It rocked! How could I take this further?

A friend had told me of her obsession with bralettes, to which I initially responded I couldn’t wear them because I was “too big,” but after my braless day I wondered if perhaps I was not… I went to the wonderful land of Target, purchased a lacey, unsupportive bralette, and went on my way. I wore it over the weekend when I bought it, and I LOVED it. I was free!

I didn’t hate how it looked, and I began to think I never wanted a dreadful underwire again! The only issue I saw was that this particular bralette was lacey and black, two things that were blatantly apparent in many of my items of clothing. I didn’t care in my personal life, but if this experiment was going to continue to my professional life i. e. work, then I was going to need to find the right kind of clothing to try it with.

I chose a thicker fabric, black button up blouse. You certainly couldn’t see it through the shirt, and the pattern of the lace did not imprint on the fabric. I was good to go. It felt like a little secret I was keeping from the rest of the office. I liked my secret, and I wanted this to be more than an experiment. I wanted it to be a new lifestyle. The following week at work, I busted out the dress from Memorial Day, put on the bralette with it, threw on a cardigan, and went off to work. I was comfortable and excited.

The following day I wore a regular bra with an underwire, and let me tell you: IT WAS AWFUL. I felt confined, uncomfortable, and grumpy. These titties were not to be confined like that again, not that week anyway. The rest of the week was the bralette. I had to wash it a few times, but oh my goodness was it worth it. I even wore a shirt that showed the texture of the lace through it, and you know what? It was empowering. Who cares if someone can tell that my bra is lacy? Towards the end of the week, I wore a strapless dress to work and went braless. After a week of no underwire (minus one day), I went and purchased more bralettes.

I am embracing this lifestyle. I don’t care that my boobs are not pushed up and rounded as society has burned into my brain. It doesn’t matter that I am a woman with DD breasts. I can go braless or wear a bralette that does nothing but hold them in place. It is my choice, and it is empowering to take this stance against societal norms and pressures. I am well aware that some women do not have this luxury because, for some with larger breasts than mine, it can hurt to go without that underwire I so harshly spoke of.

This social experiment taught me not that a woman has to choose one or the other due to pressures, feminist or cultural normatives, but that the point is a woman gets to decide whether or not the underwire is her friend or foe, not society.