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. scattered said…
    hmmm, I have been thinking of this issue for a few weeks now as my cyst arrived for a 2nd disappeared for a good year and is going away again now. My nurse practitioner said it was nothing to worry about as it was not the same as cancer (by the way it fgeels and moves under the skin). Though I agree, when will it become cancer. Those ladies that let them flap in the wind must be in heaven all the time. The stats are crazy but if I think of most of the women that go braless in our neck of the woods, they lead very healthy lifestyles to boot, and by the odor they let off, they also don't wear antiperspirant. IF you wear a bra for 12 hours or more, likely you have a large rack or why keep em tied up. Have they studied breast size in regards to breast cancer? I imagine they have, that would be interesting stats to compare as there would likely be more rubbing. I am small (long) breasted with poky nipples so have to cover them up and pull them up so wear underwire. I would love some recommendations of nice supportive undershirts or sports bras...if they are ok
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Quotable: "Those ladies that let them flap in the wind" Hilarious.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      They actually have and there really hasn't been shown to be any correlation between breast size and cancer rates- at least from the studies I reviewed.
  2. I love this post! Since I had my son, 5 months ago... I have pretty much given up bra wearing all together. I wear nothing but a t-shirt all day at home with him (much easier to pull up and breast feed). And when out and about I wear some sort of nursing tank top. Since underwires and restricting bras are not recommended while breast feeding, it has been so freeing to wear something less confining and squeezing. I have found I can still get some "support", without feeling like a "my girls" can't breath!
  3. Alex said…
    I also barely have boobs so I can get away with sometimes not wearing a bra, and generally, I only wear underwires for special occasions. I did this purely for comfort reasons though, and had no idea there was an actual documented correlation between bras and cancer! I always thought that was a myth! Really interesting topic! And I really liked your family story too!
  4. your boobie talk on Saturday tempted me over here for this post specifically . . . THANKS for the info!
  5. Hello Veggie said…
    Love the stories! Interesting post for sure.
  6. Lauren said…
    I'm so happy to read this. Since nursing, I never wear bras anymore, unless I have to leave the house. It's just easier not to wear them and I was worried about saggy boobs lol, I'll take saggy boobs over breast cancer!
  7. Shannon said…
    I'm rather amply chested so walking around without a bra is just not comfortable. It's rather too bad I'm not comfortable with it in public as I think they look fine without a bra there is just too much movement so in public it's just distracting for everyone! That being said, the first thing I do when I get home is remove the bra, I'm fine at home unless I'm doing something active and then I put it back on and on weekends I only put one on if I'm going out. So I guess I do get a break!
  8. Lazarus said…
    Most woman aren't wearing the proper bra size! This is what contributes to all that pinching! I personally cannot go without wearing a bra, I don't feel comfortable without one and I don't like the delicate breast tissue being stressed as I walk or run up and down stairs. I'm very saddened to hear that their might be a link to cancer. I think it's very important to have the proper support. Your not gonna like what happens to that skin over time! ;)
  9. Shanna said…
    I only wear a bra when I go out, and I no longer purchase bras with underwire. I have no doubt how unhealthy they are, but our society freaks when someone goes out without a bra on. Apparently there's some major nipple fear out there! ;)
  10. Can't wait to go home and liberate the ladies.

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