Guest post by Marilyn Mars
Why is there this big stigma, with girls not wearing bras and being considered promiscuous? Since puberty we are told that we have to wear bras. I remember being told that guys will stare at you differently if I didn’t wear one. Differently being code word for sexualized. I didn’t know what I was being protected from or why that was even such a thing to worry about. How sad is it that at a young age we instill this fear of self-image at such an early age. How crazy is it that we simply allow this behavior of men to dictate how we are raised and what we are supposed to do with our own bodies.
Wearing bras are a great and not wearing bras are great too. This article isn’t supposed to convince you to do one or the other. It is simply standing up for our freedom of choice and shedding light on a conversation that should always be available.
I was raised mainly by mother who gave me a lot of freedom with my choices in life and how I choose to express myself, therefore I never had an authority figure of any kind tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my own body. It was my junior year of college when the staff of my school was repeatedly picking on me. I'll never forget the day I was called into the deans office to be told that a professor of mine was feeling uncomfortable with the fact that I do not wear a bra. Her voice sounded sweet as if she was talking to a naïve girl yet her subtext was pouring with overall scrutiny. All I could do in that moment was sit there and take it all in. I was scared to speak up on something that was clearly so messed up.
I am kind of what you call a goody two shoes, I never really have problems with people and I almost always follow the rules. To have someone call that to my attention was shocking for me. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong other than my professor sexualizing me. Yet somehow I was the one to blame. My biggest problem that people have when it comes to others not wearing a bra is that they think it is unprofessional. Oh, I went to an art school by the way.
But what is it about not wearing a bra deems unprofessionalism?
The truth is nothing. What is really unprofessional is when men use it as excuses to diminish you as a sexual object because they just cant do their jobs. There is nothing wrong with not wearing a bra. There is something wrong with people who sexualize you and act like they don’t have nipples or pretend boobs have this hypnotic force that harasses them to stare. Nobody should be told what not to wear. If you are in a nice blouse and slacks at work but are not wearing a bra; why and how is it not considered professional? Why should women have to fight for their place as professionals just because they do not want to wear a piece of lingerie under a shirt? Now, if you came to work shirtless, then yes I can see the problem. I think society has progressed a lot compared to our history and women in the workplace. But I think this goes beyond just women. Professional standards should be reviewed to fit a more realistic setting. For example, having tattoos and not wearing a bra shouldn’t be factors of defining professionalism. I understand that boobs and nipples in the female anatomy are sexual organs, this is true but if you are not in a sexual setting then you just have to control your desires as every other woman does in their workplace. There is just no excuse. The fact that there has been this invisible throne that man have abused to protect their sexual thoughts are simply unfair and old news.
Not wearing a bra does not give you the right to assume that I want or will do anything sexual for you. It doesn’t mean that I will fulfill whatever fantasy you have either. I choose to not wear a bra because I simply do not want too. I don’t have to prove or justify that choice to get validation from anyone. I am not looking for approval nor do I need it. I choose to not wear a bra because I am confident as a woman; a woman who embraces her spiritual and majestic body as a gift and not an object. I choose to not wear a bra because I am still as educated and refined with or without one on. I choose to not wear a bra because I will not let an article of clothing define my character or measure my intelligence. I choose to not wear a bra because I am free.
The ignorance of others, lack of respect, or assumptions will not phase my ethereal beauty.
Nor do you need to keep explaining yourself to people who will only understand you from their level and capacity of perception.
You can choose to wear a bra because it makes you feel sexy and empowered and comfortable and you can chose to not wear a bra for the exact same reasons but please don’t choose which one your going to respect and coexist with.