I was thinking about this the other day because with cool weather and layering I often do not wear bras. I then though about all the kinds of bras i have worn and how that connects with my life at the time.
My aunt is the one who dealt with the fact that I was sprouting boobs when I was twelve. It was a thing with the girls then to compare who was more developed. I proudly sported a training bra, because after all, no one should see those nipples.
I was a small-breasted hippie chick so I stopped wearing a bra when I went to university. It was women’s lib time and I was full into being a feminist, whatever that meant at the time (a lot of different things, as it always has). I did not burn any bras, but I also didn’t have any. Even when I was having babies, I did not wear a bra, so no messing with nursing bras. It was certainly convenient.
I enjoyed this freedom until I did my student teaching, when a well-meaning teacher took me aside and told me I should wear a bra. So I did. Sometimes. A few years later I was in grad school, again free, until my internship supervisors told me to wear a bra. Which I did.
Then I was a teacher. For sure I wore a bra, even in my free time. I discovered push-up bras as I discovered my full sexuality. By then I was not so small-breasted, and it was kind of cool to have these melons pushed up and out for people (men) to notice. These bras were a little uncomfortable, but I got used to them and since they are usually sexy, enjoyed that too.
This went on for years until I had my cafe. Then I decided to go for more comfort, so I started wearing bandeaux. There wasn’t much support, but there was some coverage. The push-up bras were reserved for special occasions.
I still have bandeau bras and soft ‘athletic’ (ha!) bras and I wear them when I go out.
The whole bra thing is sort of a puzzle. I guess because I have never had saggy boobs (they are just lower now) that bras are less important to me. I was talking about this recently with a young plump woman with round melons and she commented that her boobs would hurt without a bra. Certainly men have a lot to do with bras. Women want perky breasts with good cleavage to entice men. Men want women to have nice breasts for fondling or more. I suppose the most important aspect of bras is that women wear them for their own need or pleasure.
For me, I have decided that I can go without a bra when I am layered and when I feel like it. It is one more step on the ‘frankly, I don’t give a damn’ road.