Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Embracing My Body Just as it is: Why I've Chosen To Ditch The Bra

If you saw last weeks confessional post you will have read that one of my confessions is that at the age of 32 i have decided to ditch the bra.
Here's the thing, I've been processing a lot of body image factors of late. From putting pressure on myself, not daring to looking at myself naked and then to finally accepting who i am and what my body actually looks like.
Us women are strong willed creatures aren't we? When we we use that will for good, it is a force to bereckoned with, but when we use it for bad, more specifically beating ourselves up over how we look, well then it can be desperately hard to come back from. Once we have planted that seed, it spreads like a nasty weed that you just can't dig that root up, and it sinks itself more deeply in to your psyche with each day that passes.

In the vein of complete transparency and honesty its probably best i start at the beginning.
As a young teenager i was teased awfully for being flat chested. I never had that growth spurt other girls had that seemed to take them from girl to woman. Being athletic in my youth meant i was just flat chested, and it just stayed that way.

The teasing made me insanely insecure, an insecurity so deep-seated that it would stay with me for the next 17 years (to this year).

As a young woman i would joke with friends about my "Fried Eggs" and how i would kill for a boob job, little did they know that what was said in jest was how i actually felt.

As i got older i invested in every push up bra on the market. Gel inserts, air pooches, pully systems and even "chicken fillets", anything to give me that enviable cleavage that i so wished for.
Looking back i guess the reason i felt so out of place and less of a woman was because, even then, society dictated that women who had big boobs were more beautiful young men looked at page 3, watched Baywatch and dated girls with big breasts not scrawny girls like me.
Media also told me the figure us ladies should aim for is an hourglass, big boobs, big hips, small waist.
Why though? To please men? To look good in clothes? To fit in and all look the same?

I never left the house without a padded bra on. After years of ridicule i feared i would be judged as "less of a woman" or severely unattractive. All through my twenties, even happily settled with a wonderful man (who I've been with since i was 21) who loves me just the way i am, i still had this bitter underlying current of not being good enough.

But then hitting my thirties, i noticed a change in me. A slow change, but it was a definite shift.
I started to care less what others thought.
I've changed. My boobs haven't, they're still tiny, but actually that's ok!
In fact, for me, its pretty great!
I am a woman, I am happy, healthy, I am married and have a beautiful family.

I am small breasted, but so what? 
That doesn't reflect on who i am as a person, just as being curvy, skinny, tall or short doesn't.

Once i had this realisation, breaking the bonds of years of internal torture, i started to ask myself, why do i even wear a bra?
The simple fact of the matter is.. i do not need a bra.
So why do i feel the need to hide my boobs in a contraption that is uncomfortable?
The contraption that was keeping them in, covering them up, pushing up or flattening down.
It got me thinking why do we wear them?



The reasons are simple:

  • Social norms dictate that's what women should do (as they do with size and figure shape too)
  • To de-sexualise women ( ie put them away love)
Since going bra free i have researched and spoken with lots of ladies about the topic, it's great that we all have a point of view on this.
So here's what i've learned.

Firstly we wear bras because of social norms, it is what everyone does and what is expected of us. 
Our mothers do, friends do and it is the norm. We wear a bra to fit in, be the same and not stand out (there's a nipple pun there i'm sure ;).

Secondly we wear a bra so that we don't have them "on display", God forbid our breasts distract anyone from going about their daily deeds.
Just like normalising breast feeding in public, women should be allowed to go bra free without being stared at, made to feel like a slab of meat, or suggested that she is promiscuous.
Men do not wear extra coverage of their nipples/pecs and that is completely normal.. yet all shapes and sizes of women feel the need to hide their boobs away.
Why?
The more we normalise it the more we will raise young people to see that our bodies are ours. We can do as we please with them, it is not for society to dictate to me or anyone else what i can and can not wear.

Thirdly? Why are we subjected to uncomfortable apparatus 12 hours a day with a garment that is currently in studies to see if they are actually doing our bodies more harm then good! Underwire digging in, pressure, and potential cancer threats.. why do we do this to ourselves?

I finally just wanted to touch on my personal thought, if i had seen more shapes and sizes of all types of women when i was growing up, then maybe i wouldn't have  had years of hating my body, loathing bikinis and investing in crappy bras just to try and feel more of a woman. It was such a horrible places to be that really took me years to come out of.
Nobody should feel crap about their body. Our bodies are amazing fantastic things that should be praised not criticised. 

So this is me. 
Small boob crew and proud. 
Bra free, extremely comfy and happy. I'm not burning all my bras, there is of course times when i may need one, sports possibly or transparent tops, but i will be opting for a bralet type with no padding or wire.

Its so important that all shapes and sizes are represented in society so that we normalise and celebrate our magnificent differences and not feel we all have to look a certain way.

Going bra free, how does it feel?
The first time i went out bra free was to the supermarket, i wore a baggy top and felt myself hunching over to begin with. I was absolutely terrified. I was scared people would stare, i was worried what they would think of me, i felt on show. 
However after being out for a small amount of time i soon realised nobody stared, nobody cared and i was sublimely comfortable in my own skin, just the way i am. I stood tall and gave no shits. From there i then went on to wear tighter tops and not think twice about it. Lets face it, the outline of my breast is really the least of the worlds problems right now. And why i should i/we be ashamed of our bodies and boob outline? 

As time went on i felt liberated. I felt like i was in control of my body, my world, no longer pretending to be something i wasn't.
I felt empowered that i am a woman and i am happy with my body and nobody can take that away from me.
Its crazy to think i hid behind bras for so many years.

I can only speak on behalf of myself of course, and i know there are many more larger breasted ladies who may feel they can't go without a bra, but perhaps consider just being your wonderful self..
Naturally beautiful the way you are without the bra, big small, high or low, breasts are breasts and why not let them just be as they are. 
We all have this preconception of how our breasts should look due to society and social media filling our heads with pert big boobs, but the more we are all open about our shape the more we normalise the real women of the world and all the fabulous shapes and sizes. I hope that maybe one day, young ladies won't feel agonised by their size because society says that she doesn't look right.

If you wear for comfort and support, i appreciate this is integral to how you feel, but the feeling at the end of the day, when you take the bra off is always one of utter relief isn't it? Why not go free for an hour, an afternoon or a day. 
They are part of your wonderful body that should be loved and celebrated.
Lets not let society dictate to us how we should look and our breasts should be kept.

So go on I dare you, let the puppies out for a day and see how you feel!😂💛💜💚💙


PS. Its worth mentioning that this is still very much a work in progress for me and this post took
A LOT for me to be completely honest with both words, images and content.. I'm still bricking it if i'm honest, but like i said, its a work in progress, my personal development. Sure there will be people who think i have an awful figure and that is their opinion, but this is about me being happy in my own skin.. something that has never ever happened and that I'm pleased finally is beginning!


* This is part one of an ongoing Body positivity series I am presenting. More to come soon!*
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32 comments

  1. Love the post, keep it up :) Small boobs crew represent ;-) As I already said on Friday's post, I don't wear a bra most days either, bralettes under transparent tops or those with large armholes or cut outs for the fancyness. There's no way to describe how much better it is without.

    But I know what you mean about the society standard. There's a whole photo shoot that never made it too the blog because of my perky nips that seem to more or less always stand in attention ;-P

    Alex - Funky Jungle

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    1. yes to the small boob crew, haha! You are completely right, without is so much more comfy and wearing one now feels so crazy! like you i still do own a few for those occasions when needed, but otherwise i am learning to be happy just the way i am.
      And hey, you should totally post the piece that never made it, the more we show that boobs and nipples are normal the more it will be accpeted.. as you can probably tell, it was a bit breezy today in these photos, but that is all part of me and who i am! Something that has taken me a while to come to terms with.. Plus theyre just nipple outlines.. im not bloody naked hahaha!!XX Big love to you and thanks so much for commenting sweetie x x

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  2. Great post, love your positivity. It would be wonderful to live in a world where everyone accepted their body and weren't judged by it.

    I had the complete opposite experience to you growing up. My boobs started growing when I was 10 and was one of only two girls in our junior school to wear a bra. I can remember attracting lots of male attention before I was 12 and became incredibly shy because of it. I still don't deal well with comments about my looks (and I'm 39!).

    Needless to say I won't be going bra-less in public, but will be taking it off when I'm home.

    Your comments of 'why should we hide our boobs away from men' really struck a chord with me. Can they really not control themselves if they can see an outline of a nipple? I've spent nearly 30 years being ashamed of my boobs! Why? All women have them.

    Can't wait to read more of your body positive posts.

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    1. Hi Gill! Its so great to hear another side of the boob story! Its so important we all talk and be open about these things. Its so sad to hear you had unwanted attention because of it, sadly boys and hormones are a lethal mix in high school. Crazy though how that can affect us on a fundamental level and stay with us in to adulthood isnt it?
      And yes.. nipple/boob outlines are all part of who we are? I hid mine under so much padding for years like they needed to be well and truly covered, but really we all have them,whats the fuss?HA!! But again the more we normalise the site, the better it is for young ladies growing up and seeing all shapes and sizes i think!
      Thanks so much for commenting Gill x x x

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  3. Love this, love you-you look amazing and yay for going bra-free. I'm 34dd so cannot go bra-free-I need the support (back pain is bad here and I invested on bras that are perfect for me) but I love that you are doing what you want and not feeling pressured. Your boobs are amazing! If mine were smaller, I'd be joining you xx

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    1. Thank you sweetie!XX Its great to hear the story from the other size of the spectrum, as i can only speak from a small boobed place, but great bras that fit well and you're comfy in seems to be super important for lots of ladies! For me the journey, big or small is about acceptance, accepting i am no less of a woman and that my issues were totally misplaced. Something after SO many years i'm finally realising. Big love to you sweetie x x x

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  4. I'm with you! I only wear a bra when I'm running and it is a comfy one. I will wear a bralette with some things because they are comfy and look cute peaking out! I have always thought bras were invented by someone who wanted to torture women! :-) I hope you will join Ladies Who Link Up on Fridays. Peace!
    Cheryl Tucker
    http://www.northwestmountainliving.com

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    1. yay to the no bra club. Like you I'm going to invest in some bralette's i think, for those times when you need one for a skimpy top etc, plus i agree, some look lovely dont they! And yes,totally agree, we encase our poor boobs in contraptions that can be torturous! Heres to happy comfy living with accpetance of who we are and how we look!XX

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  5. The media might say "big boobs, small waist, big hips" but the fashion industry says "small boobs, small waist, small hips" and if you think shopping for small boobs is hard, try shopping for big ones. I'm not comfortable in a bra, and I'm not comfortable out of a bra. There is no win. I hate when I see women wearing pencil skirts with fitted shirts tucked in and realized that when I try to wear that it just doesn't work. The buttons always pull, it blouses out around my waist since there is so much despairty, and lord help me to ever find a skirt that fits both my hips and my waist. The world of backless dresses is lost to me, strapless bras are miserable, forget about all those cute little bralettes. I look trashy in anything even remotely low cut. I can't imagine how you could be the least bit unhappy with your small perfect breasts.

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    1. Hi sweetie, I'm going to be totally honest with you Lydia, your message stayed with me all night, it really hit home for me how different sides of the spectrum of the breast size really feels, which lets face it can be awful both sides. I think for me what is so important is that we learn to love our bodies just as they are, which is something i have struggled with desperately and i am only now finally confident enough to even start down this road of self love. I do disagree on one level though, i dont think you would ever look trashy in a low cut top, i think this may be some sort of bad seed that has been planted and left to grow in your psyche, as i don't think you could ever look trashy,even with a low cut top as you are elegant and graceful and smart. Its super hard overcoming our mindset sometimes though isnt it. I feared that these photos would look 'trashy' and all evening i was wondering if there would be some mean comments as it is a little 'out there' for me, the girl who usually wears super loose tops and never shows anything. It all comes down to confidence and attitude. I hope that even though you feel negative about your boob size that you realise how magnificent they are! You are such a beautiful woman it is seriously enviable! Would love to chat more with you so do feel free to email me if you ever get the chance. Big love to you sweetie x x x

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  6. I've always been small chested (except when pregnant) and as a teen it bothered me, but once I got into distance running I was happy I had a small chest! I didn't have to worry about finding the right sports bra to support me because I didn't need as much support as others. It's almost a struggle for me to find smaller sized bras that aren't push up or very padded. I am glad you are showing body positivity and promoting to love yourself as you are!

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    1. Aw im so happy your journey has been a positive one, i hope more girls and young ladies have positive experiences like you! And yes! all small bras are full of additional padding and wires and gel inserts lol! Its ridiculous (and sadly i have tried them all ha!) I am going to invest in some pretty bralettes i think as those seem much more natural. Thanks so much for commenting laura, it really has made me so happy to hear of a positive experience! xx

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  7. What an interesting topic, I'd never really thought about all of this but come to think of it there's a lot going on psychologically in my bra-wearing. More than I'm willing to share publically, but thank you for raising this issue x

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    1. You are most welcome lovely, thank you for taking the time to comment and i hope your journey with your body is a positive one!XX

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  8. I always went braless in my 20's, there was no point in me wearing a bra however I couldn't get used to the comments "is it cold out?" My nipples were quite large and prominent, probably from breast feeding two hungry babies (for which being a very flat chested A cup made absolutely no difference!) and wearing white t,-shirt would have been an absolute no no. I am still much more comfortable braless and if I can get away with it I do. I have nipple daisies if I want to make them less obvious but otherwise I think my body, my rules! Enjoy the freedom and comfort of not being strapped in/up and embrace your figure.

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    1. This is wonderful to hear that you truly embraced your body shape and are happy with who you are and how you look naturally! You're an inspiration! Love it, my body my rules.. i honestly couldn't agree more! I know what you mean about nipples standing to attention, i have that fear still, however i am trying to re-programme myself to not care as they are one of the most natural parts of any (man or womans) body, the outline of a nipple shouldn't be a topic of conversation to people, yet it is. The more we normalise bodies (and nipples) the better for everyone. Thanks so much for commenting Phillipa x x x

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  9. This is such an amazingly honest post. Good for you Rachel! If I had small boobs like you I'd be very tempted to join you but it really isn't an option for us bigger boobed ladies. If I didn't wear a bra I would quite probably give myself a black eye running for the bus! No seriously though, I would be crippled with back pain without the support. There is nothing good about having big boobs trust me! I spend a small fortune on the scaffolding it takes to keep mine in place but actually the upside is that my bras are very comfortable I'm not dying to take them off at the end of the day. I guess none of us are ever completely happy with what we've got - big or small. We just have to embrace what we've been given - bra needed or not!

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    1. haha black eye.. oh dear! Its really great to hear the other side of the spectrum, as i can only speak my story which started off on such a bad road. I completely appreciate that bras must be so integral to your well being. And yes i totally agree we are never truly happy with what we have are we? For me the journey, big or small is about acceptance, accepting i am no less of a woman and that my issues were totally misplaced. Something after SO many years i'm finally realising and i hope that other women won't feel as badly as i did, that we are all amazing creatures that should love our bodies that are all wonderfully different!XXX

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  10. I'm reading so many positive body image pieces at the minute it's fantastic. For what it's worth I think you look fantastic I hope you're brave enough to carry on ditching the bra. Unfortunately those of us that actually NEED to wear a bra this is never going to be an option but I still applaud the sentiment of this piece. Go you!

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    1. Thank you so much Jaime, and yes to reading more and hearing more about positive body image! The more us ladies discuss it the better the situation will be! Totally appreciate that larger boobed ladies need that support, its great to learn from another perspective. For me the journey, big or small is about acceptance, accepting i am who i am and that my issues were totally misplaced. Something after SO many years i'm finally realising and i hope that other women won't feel as badly as i did, that we are all amazing creatures that should love our bodies that are all wonderfully different!XXX

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  11. Well done Rach for doing what you want to do.

    High five to being part of the small boob crew too.... although I won't go braless because I think I'd have someone's eye out with my nips-- they constantly stick out. But I'm proud of you & I can't wait to see more from this series xxxx

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    1. woop small boob crew haha! See in regards to the nips, that is something else i want to address, i personally dont think we should hide them away, theyre part of us, and as much as im not saying walk around in the nuddy, seeing a nipple outline really should be natural and not a conversation starter "smuggling peanuts are you love?"lol! If you dont need a bra, i would honestly say go for it #freethenipple and see how you feel! We are honestly such wonderful creatures that should be proud of how we look!XX

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  12. Amen and good for you! I would love to feel comfortable enough to do this.

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    1. Deena, i never ever thought i would be comfortable but times and mindsets change. I covered my boobs in large amount of padding since i was 13! I feel empowered to have taken control of my body. I would definitely recommend starting for an hour at home, then just pop to the shops and before you know it you'll be bra free 90% of the time! Thanks so much for commenting, your support is so appreciated x x

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  13. This is a great article. It gave me a lot of useful information. thank you very much.


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  14. You look great. Good on you for giving it a try. I wear a bra because I prefer it plain and simple, I don't feel any pressure, I don't do it becuase society tells me to. I don't have to wear a bra and on occasion I don't, but if I don't I wear a tight fitting vest instead, as this is how I feel comfortable.

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    1. Its all about personal comfort isnt it. My boobs are small and dont need one, and finding a comfy bra was nye on impossible. For small boobs they're all super padded or really ugly lol! so ditching it made sense to me. Bralettes are something i will look in to as sometimes needs must, but for me being comfortable in my own skin is such a huge step forward and that's the main thing. Bra or no bra, as long as you are happy with you, that's whats important! :D XX

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  15. hah, we are never happy with what we've got... I could kill for small boobs, they have always been large to a point when even in primary school I was bullied by it. Sadly I can't NOT wear bra, it would hurt. BUt you are correct, we defo need to accept who we are! #BrilliantBlogposts

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  16. This is greatness. First of all, you had me at the white tee and red nails--my trademarks. And after breastfeeding for nine straight years (Hey. THREE different kids for three years each--OK, so it was really ten years. I nursed the last for four years), my tits are a bit flabby. I wear a bra only to the office and the second I arrive home, it comes off. However, I need to wear a bra with my white tees. But we leave next week for our annual foray to the South of France and I'll be braless and, at times, topless. My girls need a vacation too! Atypical60.com

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  17. Love, love, love this post!!!!! I'm part of the larger chest group (I wear a FF cup) so I wear an underwire bra pretty much every day.
    I've had problems in the past with my boobs trying to escape and I once bought a bra that a specialist picked for me that was absolutely awful.
    The back was supposedly my size (a 30, I typically wear a 32) but it left marks all over my sides and back and the wire in the middle came up high in an awkward place so that every time I leant forward it would dig into my chest. That bra didn't survive long.

    I was always uncomfortable with the thought of going out without wearing a bra, to be honest it’s the thought of my nipples getting unwanted attention, but a couple of years ago I went on holiday with only bralettes and I absolutely loved it.
    I still wear bras pretty much every day (one that I’m so obsessed with I had to buy multiples of) but now and again I decided to ditch the bra and go for a bralette. Although the whole nipple thing still makes me nervous, so I’ve been wearing tiny inserts to make me feel more comfortable.

    Jaye x
    The Life of JayeP

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  18. This is a great article. It gave me a lot of useful information,thank you very much.
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  19. Gosh Rachel, in high school I dreamt of having a flat chest. I've always had big boobies, and I finally don't hate it, but I surely don't love my gals. I mean, now they're old and saggy and without a bra they're so awful. They get all sweaty and ugh. I don't mind how mine look as much anymore--in a well fitting bra. I do consider having a reduction--A LOT actually. I've been to a few consultations. With all my other physical woes though this seems like the last surgery I need....

    But oh, I do envy flat chested women. And I love, like absolutely LOVE the no bra look. I find it sooooo sexy. Like, oh. You don't know. Basically I've just always wanted to have perfect little boobies. Just like yours actually. You look amazing! You rock this look. Go for it Girl. Cuz you can!!

    In the meantime, I will dream and live vicariously through you. Because, I have to wear a bra. My breasts feel more comfortable when they're supported.

    Love, Double D Annie ;P

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