I Don't Wear Bras And I'm Not Sorry

I Don't Wear Bras And I'm Not Sorry

It's been a year since I've gone braless. Here's my story.

Most girls are told to begin wearing a bra in middle school, or even as early as elementary school, for the rest of their lives. I followed the social rule beginning in middle school up until last summer. Throughout those eight years, the thought of going out without a bra was gasp-worthy taboo to me.

But when I got to college, my roommate commented how she'd never met someone who hated wearing bras as much as I do, as she noticed the first thing I did when I returned to the dorm room was take off my bra.

Some may say I just wasn't wearing the right size or type of bra. But I tried everything from Maidenform to Aerie to Victoria's Secret, all with help from employees at the stores. I simply didn't like wearing a bra: it was uncomfortable.

I've always been self-conscious of my body, especially my breasts. I'll be the first to say they're small. I peaked at a 38 B cup. I used to hate how small my breasts are, but I've come to embrace them over my college career.

They turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I can comfortably go bra-less without the back pain and other physical pains big-breasted girls may run into if they go bra-less for the day.

So if I am far more comfortable braless — because, let's face it, bras are uncomfortable a lot of the time — why should I feel pressured to wear one?

But I can see your nipples!

And my response to this is: so? Women's nipples are a necessary part of human life and reproduction (we're still not sure why men have nipples) because before mankind developed baby formula, breastfeeding was the only way mothers could feed their newborns.

And still society sexualizes breastfeeding, as women who do so in public can be harassed or even arrested. As long as a woman is showing off her breasts to serve men's sexual desires, it's acceptable.

But this is not why I don't wear a bra. I don't view my breasts as inherently sexual. No one bats an eye when a man is shirtless, especially in the summer. But I would be arrested for doing the same in public.

Nipples alone are definitely not inherently sexual. While one may argue that breasts are sexual body parts because larger breasts signal to potential mates that the woman is past puberty, and therefore able to carry children, and have room to carry a lot of breast milk for their offspring.

The reasons breasts are sexual, then, are simply biological. The same goes for a woman's hips and butt; the size indicates her body's healthy progression past puberty and her ability to get pregnant and carry a baby.

While humans are biologically geared towards reproduction, that's no excuse for any woman to be shamed for not wearing a bra. Wearing a bra often covers the nipples and distorts the natural shape of the breasts by supporting them or pushing them up. Without a bra, I openly and publicly risk anyone seeing my nipples through my shirt, as well as the natural shape of my breasts, unsupported by a ridiculously expensive bra.

And I'm not sorry.

I've realized the extent to which women's bodies are controlled by quite literally, man-made, social constructions, bras being just one of them. Other social constructions that control women's bodies include the social pressure to shave our bodies: armpits, upper and lower legs, and our private parts.

So I refuse to wear painfully uncomfortable, ridiculously overpriced, pieces of social construction meant to control women's bodies, when I am perfectly happy with the way my body is naturally.

Also, if you're not convinced: it's really hot in the summer. Going bra-less makes it so much cooler.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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What I Learned About Millennials And Makeup

What This Generation X Gal Learned in Her 40’s.

Millennials and Make-up: What This Generation X Gal Learned in Her 40’s

During my years in graduate school, I was one of three women in Generation X. These women, albeit amazing and wonderful, were family women, attached and often times, difficult to get to know. I found myself, begrudgingly, focusing on making friends with women in their early 30’s. To my surprise, these Millennials had much to offer. Although they would often seem distant or aloof, once I got to know them, their vulnerability was palpable. They saw me, not as mom or big sis, but as the strong woman they wanted to be, which was laughable because I was phoning that shit in daily. They reached out, asked me my opinion on most matters, but also checked in on me, wanted to know how I was doing and how my family was, which was mind blowing because the Millennial generation is not known for their empathy. I found myself diving in wanting to know more about this culture.

I became close with two in particular: Crystal and Candice. In and out of class, although tired and spent from a day at work, had their makeup complete. Candice’s makeup was always pristine with a look as if a make-up artist had perfected it before class. Crystal’s make-up had a “natural” flare and never needed retouching.

Initially, I avoided conversation with most students in my classes. As an introvert, it was difficult for me to engage in basic conversation, but after hearing their intelligent and witty comments in class, I pursued their friendship. I discovered these women were searching for the same things I was: knowledge, respect and a chance at a better life, in a world filled with struggle and sadness. The makeup was not a form of hiding or cultural obligation, but it provided them focus and empowerment.

After graduation, Candice and I went to her uncle’s cabin up at Lake Harmony. We went into town to walk around and check some things out, there was an event going on and some vendors were selling their goods. A jewelry vendor, who was probably from Generation Y pointed at my friends’ eyebrows and said, “I love your eyebrows.” I had always noticed, Candice took great care with her eyebrows, were perfect. My eyebrows were throwbacks to Brooke Shields in the 80’s. I thought the Generation Y girl was joking when she asked her about her eyebrows, but I could see she was admiring her, ogling her skill. I turned to Candice and said, “Is that a thing?” She replied, “Yeah, it’s a thing.” Women, admiring other women’s eyebrows, who knew? Women complimenting each other, empowering one another, I believe, is part of the new wave of feminism. These women are not working on their makeup to impress men or even other women; they do it to feel good about themselves and to gain a skill for life.

Candice and Crystal led me to YouTube where I discovered a woman in her forties who has an autoimmune illness, as I do, who is producing videos on how to do your makeup in your mid-life. She’s beautiful before and after makeup and she empowers her audience to be their best selves on a level I never would have given credence to as a feminist. I used to feel that Millennial women hid themselves in the wild, with makeup, now I have learned the value of showing off your mad skills and the truth of “putting your best face forward.”

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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5 Style Stars Every Girl Should Know

From Gigi Hadid to Margaret Zhang, these stand out style stars should be on your watch list.

January has been a beautiful month for fashion. With award season in full swing and new street style trends emerging as everyone fully adapts to the bitterly chilly weather, there has been so much to see in the world of fashion.

Fresh pairings of bold colors and bright details, mixing dressy pieces with bulky sneakers, form-fitting skirts, monochromatic looks, raw cut denim... the list could go on forever. There's so much to gather inspiration from, but of course, certain looks stand out more than others.

I've found a few fashionistas who I know I can always look to for inspiration. These style stars have earned permanent spots on my watch list for the rest of this year.

1. Gigi Hadid

I must admit that I have not been the biggest fan of Gigi Hadid's style in the past, but in recent months she's made quite the impression on me. Her off-duty style has come a long way. Her looks are simple and well-paired without being too boring or basic.

We can always expect Gigi to be perfectly on trend. I appreciate how she takes dressing for the weather up a notch by playing with color or simply letting a jacket hang off her shoulder.

2. Chioma Nnadi

Although she's not the easy to spot out and about, any time Chioma Nnadi steps out, she STEPS OUT. The Vogue.com writer and editor rocks anything and everything with pure confidence but still holds an effortless vibe.

Many of her looks feature bright colors and longer silhouettes. She's an all-star in pattern play and loves to work denim into her wardrobe.

3. Margaret Zhang

Margaret Zhang is an impeccable dresser. She knows exactly what works for her body shape and is never afraid to play with dramatic details, such as ruffled sleeves, shoulder pads, or heavy-duty layering. Her looks are so easy on the eye it's almost unfair.

4. Anaa Nadim Saber

This newbie is not one to mess with. As an athleisure writer, it's no surprise that her street style game is A1. Anaa has an amazing ability to pair urban, athletic pieces with chic designer items to create super unique looks, even working in menswear and vintage pieces.

5. Karen Blanchard

I'm not exaggerating when I say Karen Blanchard is the epitome of cool-girl style. Bomber jackets, denim, florals, vintage, leather pants, combat boots, bold metallics... she does it all and does it very well.

Her style is so well-rounded and yet consistent, it's hard to not look forward to what she'll do next.

With so many names in the fashion industry, it can be hard to keep up with everything and anyone. The style game of these women have definitely caught my attention and hopefully yours too.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | @margaret__zhang

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