Inspiration from Meghan

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Bra Burning: Let Your Girls Be Free, Part 1


Who invented these convoluted boob contraptions?

Shockingly, it was a woman! A French woman named Herminie Cadolle was the lady/torcheress behind the cups and straps. Cadolle came up with the concept in 1889, originally dubbing it the "corselet gorge."

Bras play an important role in my  life- and not in the way you think. My maternal grandparents were partisans during the war. When Hitler's peeps forced them from their ghetto in Poland, they ran and hid in the woods, living there in hiding for years. My grandmother had a younger brother, orphaned by the war and sponsored by a family in Winnipeg. He came over and my grandparents soon followed. They opened a corsette shop, Rose's Corsette shop, located on Selkirk Avenue in the north end of Winnipeg. My grandmother was one of the first women to construct custom bras for ladies who had suffered mastectomies. When my grandmother past away of cancer at just 48 years old, my grandfather closed up shop and for the better part of the last 35 years, the inventory from their shop was stored away in the back of my grandfather's basement.

As little girls, my cousin and I would go down there and run wild through the best costume supply there ever was. It's possible we always ended up looking like some variation of hooker- seven years old in full length brassieres, girdles and garters.  We put on our fashion shows, jumped on beds, climbed trees and cartwheeled outside on the lawn- all done up in 1960's lingerie finery.

But then we grew up, and grew actual boobs and needed to wear bras and the fun stopped there.

Bras hurt. I hardly even have boobs and I find them terribly uncomfortable. Like pantyhose, the only thing good about them is taking them off (and I am sure our man friends would agree). Nothing better than releasing the girls and giving them a good old lymphatic draining rub down. Freedom!

Who would elect to wear something that has built in wires that dig into you? It's kind of like your own person medieval torture chamber.

It turns out that these annoying undergarments are more than just an uncomfortable inconvenience. They actually pose health risks. Yep. You knew where I was going with this. Cancer!

Here are the stats (courtesy of Ralph L. Reed, Ph.D):

    • Women who wore their bras 24 hours per day had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer.
    • Women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed had a 1 out of 7 risk.
    • Women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day had a 1 out of 152 risk.
    • Women who wore bras rarely or never had a 1 out of 168 chance of getting breast cancer. The overall difference between 24 hour wearing and not at all was a 125-fold difference.


Those are really significant differences! Think about the nonsense minuscule breakthroughs they are finding in their misdirected cancer research.  What if the lab coats found that people who took a certain pill had a 125-fold difference in cancer rates than those that didn't? They'd be pushing that pill on everyone. Just by letting our girls go free as often as we can has a significant impact on our boob health- and subsequently, our total health.

One doctor has commented that the current research between bras and cancer is where they were in the 1950s when doctors started to see a relationship between lung cancer and smoking. The association is there, but causation has not yet been proven. Think about that one for a sec.

Why do we even wear bras? What do we think they do for us? Give us a nice looking rack? Give our girls some lift? Maybe we wear them because we have been socialized to. Remember when your mom bought you that hideous lacy training bra? That thing was supposed to denote our entrance into woman-hood. Maybe that's part of how girls learn to take on adult roles.

We all remember the first time our love interest clumsily fumbled with the clasp- sure it had been secured by Fort Knox. Bras do play a part in our grown-upness and there can be something fun, once in a while, to getting all dolled up in a little fancy something, something.... but do we need to wear one when we are watching TV? How about while you sit there reading this blog post?

Anyone wrapping up the 21 Days To Health Challenge this week knows that old habits are hard to break, but maybe this is one worth thinking about. And no- I am not suggesting you let them ladies fly wild... I have better ideas and suggestions.

More tomorrow!


37 Responses to “Bra Burning: Let Your Girls Be Free, Part 1”

  1. devan said…
    RE: "but do we need to wear one when we are watching TV? How about while you sit there reading this blog post?" *successfully removes it at desk at work without anyone noticing. *gives self mental high five
  2. Jacqueline said…
    One aspect of bra-wearing is the metal underwire that is in so many bras--I've read that the underwire presses on a meridian (anyone with knowledge of Chinese medicine out there?), possibly causing effects similar to accupressure/acupuncture--what type of physiological effects could result? Also, most underwires are metal, which can cause an electromagnetic effect. You can remove the metal underwire from your bras, and if you reel you really need it there is a website that sells plastic replacements. I am on the smae page as Meghan and have switched to soft athletic-type bras, and really love to wear a yoga-type camisole with a shelf bra.
  3. kate said…
    This is your first blog entry I haven't loved. One swallow doesn't make a summer; have these study results been reproduced by anyone else? And what about those of us with HUGE boobs? (I'm a 36DD, and my boobs aren't even the biggest around!). If you get fitted, and buy the right size bra, it shouldn't be uncomfortable. In fact, for me, not wearing a bra anywhere outside my own home would be uncomfortable. They're heavy girls, and without support, the ligaments would stretch and there's no going back after that. The only situation it might be helpful to have boobs that hang to my waist, is when I'm carrying my baby on my back, and want to flip one over my shoulder to feed her. Otherwise, the girls need support when I'm out and about. There's no "one size fits all" in this situation, as you have suggested.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Read part 2! Read part 2... please please please. Maybe that may redeem it for you.
  4. [...] like to share a little (also not so) secret: I don’t wear bras!  Ever since I read this article followed by this one, I really began reflecting on why I wore one in the first [...]
  5. Joy said…
    I can't believe it was a woman who invented these horrible boob trappers! Great info Meghan. I will share.
  6. AC said…
    I always wonder if wireless sportbras make any difference?
  7. take off your bra (via @meghantelpner )
  8. Kathy said…
    I am 70 yrs old and stopped wearing a bra in 1976. I have gone to work braless,church braless and to resturants braless...........who the hell cares. They are my girls and they are the BREAST....LOL
  9. Ali said…
    So much anxiety over a suggestion of being braless. Weren't we born naked? Did our evolution so fail us that being in our natural state is harmful to us? Hmmm...very interesting. And I'm neither large breasted nor teeny tiny and have been braless for the better part of a decade...and I'm never turning back!

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