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To Wear a Bra or Not to Wear a Bra?

I still remember the days when I couldn’t wait to wear a bra. It was like a rite of passage into womanhood that I couldn’t wait to embark on. Fast forward to now, and I try to avoid wearing a bra at all costs. It all started during the quarantine of 2020. I traded my jeans for sweatpants, wore my glasses instead of contacts and most importantly ditched my bra. I didn’t feel the need to wear one anymore, and they were just unbearably uncomfortable. Just like we rip off our masks as soon as we get home, I would do the same with my bra pre-pandemic.

It was scary at first going into public without one. I almost felt naked at times, but overall I felt more comfortable and free. I noticed that I developed increased body confidence, as well. I didn’t have to worry about my straps showing or the underwire digging into my skin. I was free of any itchy fabric and constant adjusting. I can’t forget to mention the amount of money I was saving! Why are bras so unnecessarily expensive?

But are there any health benefits in not wearing a bra? According to an in France, a bra is a “false necessity” for young women. The study found that when women chose not to wear a bra, there was an improvement in the orientation of their breasts, meaning they avoided saggy breasts. This revealed that wearing a bra in young women could actually have a negative impact by weakening the muscles, and it didn’t do much in reducing back pain. This study, however, is not representative of the entire global population and only included women between the ages of 18 and 35. Therefore, sports science expert Jean-Denis Rouillon doesn’t believe these findings apply to any middle-aged women, especially those who have had children and are overweight. Although this is only preliminary data and not conclusive for the entire population, it is certainly curious to learn that a bra can do more harm than good in some women. This could open new ideas into new research to discover the true positive and negative impacts of wearing a bra.

Breast biomechanics experts found that some women are causing themselves breast pain and discomfort from choosing the wrong sized bra, which can stem from social stigmas of creating what society considers normal-sized breasts. It’s saddening to learn that the motivation of wanting to fit in or meet the standards that society has set for women is causing damage. No matter how big or how small, or whatever shape a woman is, their body is beautiful. Our bodies help us navigate our way through life so that we may accomplish our goals and reach for the stars.

Also, Dr. Scurr found that not all bras are created equal. When exercising, a woman’s breasts move inwards and outwards, horizontally and vertically. Most sports bras, however, only provide support for vertical movements. If you’re looking for complete support, this is certainly something to consider when choosing which bra you want to buy.

Other than muscle tone and pain, going braless can improve skin health, as well. According to Dr. Sekhon, bras “can trap moisture, dirt and sweat against the skin of your breast,” which can lead to skin irritation, especially for women with larger breasts.

But if wearing a bra makes you feel powerful and you love the support that it gives you, then continue wearing one! In no way is this a one-size-fits-all. Each person has their preference, so do whatever works best for you. However, if you are just like me and hate your bras and see no benefit to wearing one, then this your sign to throw it away. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their skin despite any else’s opinion. So, celebrate your body and all that it does for you. Ditch your bra or not!

Claudia is a third year Applied Physiology and Kinesiology major at the University of Florida. She's from Boca Raton, FL, but is a proud latina with roots in Mexico. She is a passionate woman looking to use her voice to inform readers on a wide range of topics from social disparities to personal college experiences from the perspective of a woman. When she isn't in class or volunteering, you can probably find her rollerblading somewhere outside or eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream while binge watching Friends for the 100th time. With her experience in writing for Her Campus UFL, Claudia hopes to one day bring this skill into her dream career as a physician to spread awareness about health disparities she encounters in the clinic.
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