Bra Burning, Where Did It Come From?

If you’re familiar with history, more specifically the history of women, you’ve probably heard that feminists burn their bras.  However, as a fellow feminist I can assure you this isn’t something we do for fun. Bras are expensive as all hell, so why would we just sit around and burn bras? We have plenty of better things to be doing rather than waste our money to spite the patriarchy.  

So, where exactly did this idea come from? Well, it didn’t just come out of nowhere; it first came to light about 50 years ago.  A group of women called the New York Radical Women burned their bras in protest of the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1968.  These women had every right to protest in a way they saw fit because after all, the pageant is for males to gaze and guac at women. If you’re a pageant woman, I’m by no means dogging you because that’s a lot of hard work.  But, as someone who struggles with body image and always has, I’m personally not a fan of these competitions. The media has it in a woman’s mind that they have to look a certain way in order to be seen as beautiful. I’ve come a long way to get to the confidence level that I’m at, but I still have my own insecurities (as do many women).  

W. Joseph Campbell, writes, women gathered to “protest the degrading image of women perpetuated by the Miss America pageant.” Campbell added that protesters claimed the competition invoked a “Mindless-Boob-Girlie symbol” and “Madonna Whore image of womanhood” by placing “women on a pedestal/auction block to compete for male approval.”  

Okay, that was a lot but from what I can take away, I see where they’re coming from.  I can see where they might think the women that participate are a “mindless-boob-girlie symbol.” That’s how the media portrays them, but knowing women that have participated in pageants this isn’t the case for all. Are they “girlie”? Sure but then if they weren’t, men would be complaining.  Either way depending on the sex of the person, the women in the pageants are in a lose-lose situation. The women I know who have competed in pageants are beyond smart and were often involved in extracurriculars while in college. It’s actually a cool feeling to watch Instagram stories of other Alpha Phi chapters hype up their sister who’s participating.  

Bras weren’t the only thing that were burned at the time this event was occuring.  The trashcan in which things were burned was called the Freedom Trash Can. Along with bras, brassieres, girdles, high-heeled shoes, false eyelashes, and magazines such as Playboy and Cosmopolitan were burned.  Women for centuries have had to undergo painful ideas of “beauty.” This was their way of peacefully protesting that they’re not going to do what the man says in order to be seen as beautiful.  

Feminists aren’t a man-hating group, so let’s get that straight within the last three months in 2018.  We want equal rights as men have, and we’re not weak like we’ve been told growing up. In fact, we’re the exact opposite. We’re strong and badass, do some take it to the extreme? Yes, but good luck finding a group that doesn’t have extremists. Some women do get fired up when certain topics come up, but can you blame them?  We’ve had to fight, and fight hard, for every right that we have. We’ve been oppressed, and basically been told that we’ll never be good as any man. Guys if you’re reading this: news flash, you were almost a period and wouldn’t be here without a woman carrying you for about nine months.