I didn’t wear a bra for a month. Here’s what I learned

I saw a post on Instagram listing the downside of wearing a bra. The post argued that it could promote an irreversible change in a woman’s body anatomy. Just think of indigenous women: free nipples and boobs with an intimate relationship with Gravity’s Law. Just beautiful and natural!

Plus, they have the lowest breast cancer incidence rate.

Amazing and intriguing, right?

The idea of steep and toned tits populate most men’s mind. The fact that boobs are sexualized intrigues me. Both men and women have breasts made of breast tissue, areolas, and nipples. However, men are the ones who can be topless at the beach, in a park, while many countries still prohibit women from BREASTFEEDING in public! Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms censored breastfeeding pictures.

For me, it’s just insane!

There’s no other way to explain this other than assuming that we still live in a misogynist society. What makes men and women’s breasts different is only the ability to produce milk for offspring. Boobs should be something as natural as any other part of the body. Free the Nipples on Netflix (2014) sparked a movement focus on equality and empowerment of all humans. It truly bothers me the idea that women cannot breastfeed or even be topless if they want to, simply because it may provoke sexual urges in men.

Your rights end where mine begin!

Talking about rights, we all know how bras are emblematic — they translate the female chauvinist standards of beauty. That’s why back in 1970’s women dumped their bras and other accessories (heels, girdles, and curlers) in the “Freedom Trash Can”. Interesting fact about it: even though most people called these feminists “bra burners” they never actually got a chance to officially burn any bra. The protesters were unable to obtain a fire permit.

And I wonder why?

To begin with, bras were created from a woman’s frustration for not fitting into a beauty fashion standard. Mary Phelps Jacobs, the lady who got the patent for the first “brassiere”, felt awkward in the model of dresses that were a trend in the early-20th-century; the cut was for slim and boyish figures. She wanted a cute dress to attend a gala party and used her creativity to create the first bra. Does it remind you of someone, Sara Blakely?

Please, don’t get me wrong. I think the Spanx story is amazing and Sara is a real inspiration to women. I’m all about women feeling confident and empowered. I’m also all about women feeling good about their bodies and in tune with their inner-self. If you want to lose weight because you want to be healthier, go girl! If you want to use make-up to bring more color to your life, go get their lipstick! But, please: be mindful about it. In the morning, when you look in the mirror just contemplate how unique your beauty is!

Appreciate who you are!

That being said, those were my reasons to challenge myself to not wear a bra for 30 days. I just wanted to let my nipples be! I wanted to see how it would feel to free the nipples! And here are a few notes of my experience:

Steepest boobs, higher sensibility, and intimacy

When I let my nipples breathe, something curious happened. I noticed the interaction of them with different fabrics and textures. If before they were confined in a massive layer of soft foam (I love/hate my Bombshell!), now they were free and enjoying the ambient temperature and the softness of a diverse type of materials. It is something simple, but that I have never paid attention to. These 30 days bra-free changed my nipples form. They are more rounded and there’s nothing blocking my hair follicles allowing my body to operate freely and naturally. My nipples were free to breathe and the hair that grew around it was easier to remove if I wanted to. I felt that my boobs got steepest during these 30 days of my bra-free challenge.

Surprises happen when you break beauty standards

My main concern about this challenge was to get in trouble at work. Would my director comment anything? Would my co-workers be staring at my nipples? Would I hear evil comments? Well, I would have to do it and wait for people’s reaction. And guess what?

I did not hear a single word about it.

I don’t even know if people noticed or if they were very discreet about it. Maybe, they just don’t care. This made me reflect on how much we stress out about fitting beauty standards and attending people’s expectation. Confidence can break any fashion trend. “I don’t do fashion. I’m fashion”, right, Coco?

For me, not wearing a bra for a month was a good example to never stop myself from doing anything based on the fear of another’s opinion.

When freedom meets control

When I did the cold shower challenge for a month I wrote about the sense of control and gratitude: I chose to be under cold water — it wasn’t an inescapable condition like in many countries. No one forced me to have a routine of cold showers for a month. I decided to put myself in this situation just to experience how would that feel.

During this no-bra challenge, I felt the same in terms of freedom and control. I was in charge of my body. I assumed control over my nipples by letting them be free. I never had to worry about putting a bra in my duffel bag. By the way, the only times I actually wore a bra were when running at the beach, because I usually run with my bikini top. Even at the gym I worked out without a bra. Fuck it!

Looking at it in a bigger picture, I think that when we expose ourselves to challenges like these we take mindfulness to a higher level. It’s like meditating. I’m in control of my mind by simply letting it be. By not wearing a bra for a month I was in control of my body. I will tell you, one of the most beautiful experiences is to witness the meeting of freedom and control. Have you tried it?

Thanks for reading and See You Next Tuesday! ;-)

Let’s connect! Tell me about your journey in the comments and/or follow me on Twitter: @anaclaraotoni.

Journalist. Sustainability, Social Justice & Gender Equality. Becoming Odara daily. Passionate about life, sexuality & wine. Mugs lover.