Saturday, July 02, 2005

bras and breast cancer

I stopped wearing a bra about 12 years ago - I was too hot in a shop uniform one summer and going braless helped cool me down. I wore one on and off for a while after but stopped altogether a couple of years later. I felt self-conscious sometimes, but got used to it.

Significant people in my life have told me they have problems with it recently. I have been thinking hard about what it means to me. I read some websites and what follows so clearly expresses my thoughts I wanted to share it.

According to -
The average white American woman wears her bra for more than 12 hours a day. From the survey results the authors have determined that, "The average white American woman is 19 times more likely to develop breast cancer than is a woman who wears a bra for less than twelve hours daily." Remember that some of these women claimed not to wear bras at all. In the sub-group of women who do wear bras, "women who wear bras for over twelve hours daily, but not to sleep, have a 21-fold greater chance of developing breast cancer than do women who remove their bras before twelve hours."

Bra wearing is a psychological addiction, or hopefully, just a habit for you. You can reduce your cancer risk by dispensing with this one garment. say -
Society's concept of the "ideal" breasts are breasts that would remain in their firm, uplifted attitude, on their own, for our entire lives. Advertising and messages in today's media have done a good job of convincing us of that myth, and the myth that breasts will sag unless we "properly support" them. The point to remember is that they will assume a more relaxed, adult position whether they are supported OR NOT! Some breasts never seem to reach that lower, relaxed position, even into a woman's sixth decade of life. This phenomenon is not a result of constant bra usage. Bras will not prevent that from happening. Constant, unnatural, external support from the bra will allow the ligaments to atrophy. If the ligaments are allowed to weaken from the lack of use, they will become sore when they are later required to fulfill their designed purpose of supporting the breast.

When a nipple shows through the outer clothing, it often causes embarrassment to the young woman. The tendency is for her to hide them, as if she were ashamed that they are there or that she should not have them. Even bras on adult women have trouble keeping an erect nipple covered. Maybe we all need to consider working a little harder on our body image?!
A woman's intentions are often misunderstood by how she dresses. Women that elect to not wear a bra might be considered by some immature individuals to be signaling many things, including sexual desire, a lack of good taste, a lack of moral fiber, or just plain being "out of style".

We truly send mixed messages to everyone. Does society want us to wear a bra or not? How can the average woman ever know?

Movement of the breasts is a concern of many women, and they may wear bras only to control that movement. We have to ask ourselves whether this is a concern that is based on the myths of fashion, or on the common sense of science. Unsupported breasts (of any size) will most likely move when the woman is walking or moving about. This is a natural movement, and there seems to be a reason for it.

The results of much of the research have been interpreted as there being a positive correlation between restrictive clothing and breast diseases. Until more research is done, we are left to decide for ourselves what we want to do with our bodies. Hopefully, the day will soon come, when the fact that a woman does not wear a bra will be the "norm", and will not attract unwanted attention.

Much great discussion to be had here - I can't find a good UK website that picks up these issues - does anyone know of one?

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