Not long ago a page I follow on Instagram had a post about how not wearing a bra increases lymphatic health. I didn’t believe it and held on tightly to my bra as I did a google search to prove them wrong. That was at least two months ago and to this day; I stopped wearing a bra and haven’t turned back since.

The search results were staggering

When I went to google and searched “not wearing a bra good or bad?” what came up was a whole page of headlines talking about the benefits of not wearing a bra.

instagram photo from @feminist about not wearing bras.
Lymphatic drainage

There is a lot of controversial information out there about how bras cause breast cancer. I am in no way trying to say that here. But it has been shown that improperly fitting bras cause issues in lymphatic drainage.

According to Julie Groulx RMT, “unlike blood vessels, the lymphatic vessels in our breasts don’t have muscle pumps to assist the movement of fluid through them. A tight, improperly fitting bra is like a dam impeding the flow of lymphatic fluid, which works with our immune system to help eliminate toxins.”

“You’re big busted, they’ll get saggy by the time you’re 30”

First of all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Second there was a study done by sports medicine specialist and Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, from Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besancon in Besancon, France would suggest otherwise.

“Our first results confirm the hypothesis that the bra is a false need,” Rouillon told France Info. “Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity. Instead, it languishes with a bra.”

The study followed 330 women between 18 and 35 for 15 years and found a 7 millimeter lift as measured from their nipples each year in women who did not wear bras. It also found women’s breasts to be firmer and stretch marks faded.

Actually, saggy boobs have less to do with support and more to do with collagen. You can thank the Cooper’s ligaments, the connective tissue in your breasts that helps keep ’em perky, for the lift in your breast, any drooping is caused by the stretching of these ligaments. health.com quoted Dan Mills, MD, vice president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery saying “Like all the tissue in your body, they’re made up of collagen and elastin, which break down as you age.” Mills also said durign menopause more dense glandular tissue is replaced by fat which is more likely to sag.

 “A bra will hold up your breasts to give you the shape and look you want, but it can’t prevent further sagging, which is caused by age and gravity,” says Dr. Mills. 

The one exception to this rule is wearing a sports bra when exercising because improper support during exercise can cause damage to connective tissue.

Social stigma

Celebrities like Rihanna have made a splash lately saying they don’t wear bras. I scoffed when I saw that. Of course they don’t need to wear a bra, they have nice small, perky breasts. What about people like me, in the C cup and up range? That’s not seen as cute.

I get it, social stigma is ingrained in all of us and part of that is what gave me pause about this whole situation. I have had a rocky relationship with my body and my own breasts. But overall, the potential health benefits outweighed my fear. And honestly, since I’ve stopped wearing a bra I’ve felt all my feminist energy just swell up within me. Anytime I start to feel a bit self conscious about my nipples showing through a thin material t-shirt I just tell myself to think of it as a big middle finger to the patriarchy. I took control of my own body and I stopped wearing a bra and it has made me feel so powerful. (an example of my word of the year manifesting itself?)

If I haven’t convinced you, think of that feeling you get at the end of the day when you take your bra off, or on a lazy day at home where you never put one on. Now imagine feeling like that all of the time. No red marks from too-tight straps. No more being stabbed by underwire or scratched by the little clasps on the back. Are you ready to burn your bras or are you holding onto them for dear life, until death do you part?

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