“Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra”.
Many of us have been raised in a society in which wearing a bra was the norm for post-pubescent females. As a symbol of womanhood, sexuality, and modesty, bras have become a part of the female identity. And though probably all of us reading this now are likely wearing a bra, how often do we stop and wonder, why??
The lingerie industry in the USA alone accounts for upwards of 40% of the global $32 billion lingerie market (thelingeriejournal.com). For American women, bras are often seen as fashion, to Australians they are viewed as necessity, and in Chinese markets, fine goods. Selling promises of beauty, sexuality, comfort, and breast health, companies have craftily marketed what was once a simple optional garment into a fancy and at times quite expensive necessity.
Women most often wear a bra for the following reasons: comfort, appearance / modesty, health, and being frank, to reduce sagging. But really, how accurate is any of the information we’ve been given about bras? Research conducted by Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports science researcher and professor from the University of Franche-Comte, France gives us reason to think twice before we lace up our delicates and question what marketers have been telling us…
Rouillon and his team undertook a 15-year study documenting the effects of bras on 330 women between the ages of 18-35 years old and the results are startling. Women who stopped wearing bras (through their own accord, not as a requirement of the study) showed a staggering 0.3 inch lift in their nipples as opposed to the other women who wore bras. Furthermore, based on the study, researchers were confident that younger women would gain more supportive breast tissue and toning should they decide to not wear a bra. “Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra,” Professor Rouillon disclosed in an interview with France Info.
In fact, not wearing a bra, especially from a young age might have incredible benefits long-term. According to Dr. Stafford Broumand who was involved in a separate study, “for younger women, not wearing a bra will lead to increased collagen production and elasticity, which improves lift in a developing breast”. Meaning, wearing a bra might make your breasts look fuller, but ultimately will lead to increased sagging long-term. Appearances aside, what is most frightening is the body of literature that links bras and breast cancer.
Over the years there has been research linking bras to increased temperature in breast tissue, changes in prolactin hormone changes, and restricted flow of lymphatic fluids which have all been linked to breast cancer. Though these studies are often controversial, there remains much speculation as to whether or not bras cause this often lethal disease and if so, should all women refrain from wearing them.
Though it remains a personal decision whether or not to wear a bra, there is no doubt that we will always feel a strong sense of social pressure influencing our decisions. As long as images of full breasted models continue to permeate our image of the “ideal woman”, so too will the lingerie markets penetrate our pocketbooks.
To bra or not to bra, that is the question. For beauty, for health, for comfort, or just because you can – it is ultimately your choice.