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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

About a year ago is when I decided to stop wearing bras. I have bigger boobs too, I am a size 36DD. I do not have a body type that has been idealized by the media, I have been this size for many years now and I almost never went without a bra, only because I thought that was the only option. I thought my boobs were ugly when they weren’t in a bra, I thought I looked sloppy. However, I never even found bras to be comfortable, they never fit right, they irritated my skin and just me in general, but despite this, I still wore them because I was afraid of how I would be perceived. I had been conditioned to think this way and a lot of women and people with boobs have been too. 

Caroline Hernandez via Unsplash

I was wearing bras all that time just to please other people and to appeal to the male gaze. The male gaze is the idea that women are objects constantly being sexualized by heterosexual men, and the norm is for women to conform to it. For me at least, I don’t have that much cleavage when I am not wearing a bra, so to the man sexualizing me, that’s not cute, that’s not good enough, so to be better looking to him I must wear a bra. When I started to learn more about the male gaze and realize that I wasn’t wearing bras because I liked them or for myself in any way, I decided I didn’t want to wear them anymore. But it wasn’t that easy. I started out only not wearing them with tighter shirts so my boobs would be lifted by the shirt. Then I gradually started to love the natural shape of my boobs, from the side they have that long slope. Also since my boobs are different sizes and different shapes, they are far from symmetrical and this is normal. Women and boobs do not exist for the male gaze. This is not an easy perspective to change. It has been so ingrained in women that we exist for the eyes of men when we should simply exist for ourselves. Only you have to like what you see and who you are.

Black women in bra
Photo by Womanizer WOW Tech from Unsplash

And don’t get me wrong, I still wear them if I want to, if it makes me feel more confident or if the bra is just cute, sometimes I wear bralettes, but honestly, that has become very rare. The male gaze is not your fault, conforming to it is not a bad thing, it is something we are subjected to regardless of what we decide to wear. However, you should not let it dictate what you choose to do, especially if that choice is hurting you in some way like it was for me. I would advise everyone to try not to wear bras, it feels liberating and kinda dangerous. But, if wearing bras is more comfortable for you than not wearing them that’s great, you know your body better than anyone else and bras are freaking cute. But do it for you and for no one else.

Becca Nash

U Mass Amherst '23

Becca is a content contributor for the University of Massachusetts - Amherst chapter. She is a sophomore double majoring in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Communications and is minoring in Education. She will definitely be sharing her knowledge and passion for Women and gender issues in her articles!
Contributors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst