Last January, I stopped wearing a bra. I haven't put one back on since.
I don't remember buying my first bra. I just know that at some point around age 12 I started wearing one -- long before I "needed" to. There wasn't much to support, as friends in my 8th grade dance class informed me, joking that they could cut an apple on my chest. It wasn't funny then, but I suppose I can laugh about it now since I just bought my first cutting board and I don't see much of a resemblance.
Over the next 10 years, as I graduated from high school and college, I also graduated from a kitchen accessory to a solid A, while clasping a bra around my chest every day in between.
Then, seven months ago, I had a brassiere epiphany. After waiting just a little too long to do my laundry, I ran out of bras. I could have forced myself to head to the laundry room right then, or worn the less than fresh Cosabella number I'd worn the day before, but I realized the only visible difference for me between wearing and not wearing a bra was a bulky bra line. So I didn't wear one. Yes, I went braless.
Sure, my boobs had a bit more point to them than before, but that's how they're made to look, right? Other than that, nothing terrible happened. No chafing, no slips, no perverted stares directed downwards. In fact, when I confided in my friends that I was bra-free, they admitted they couldn't tell. I suddenly thought, what if I could be this free all the time?
It was as if I had finally opened my eyes. That was that. Since then, it's just been me and my small boobs, hanging out together. And I'm happy.
I wish everybody else could be happy like this too, but today it seems we women are more insecure with our size than ever. Today, large breasts wield tremendous power, and the truth is we -- women -- are partly to blame for supporting that status quo.. This past year alone, 300,000 women put themselves under the knife for breast augmentation surgery. 300,000 women felt that unhappy with their bodies. For what? Certainly not for ourselves, as one major risk of the surgery is losing the best thing your breasts give you: sexual pleasure. To add insult to injury (literally), last month the FDA issued a new warning. Ladies, while the loss of sensation may be lifelong, your silicone implants may not be. According to a new report, at least one-in-five women will need her implants removed due to serious health complications. These are complications that far exceed the perceived problems of having small(er) breasts: Implant rupture, scar tissue hardening, breast wrinkling, and in the most unfortunate and rare cases, anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Let me repeat, removal due to these complications isn't a one-in-a-million chance. It's one in five.
Do women not know the risks involved, or do we just not care? I believe it's the former, not the latter, because you know what else has a one in five risk? Smoking. In the United States, one in five Americans die each year due to tobacco use. The difference is that while massive nationwide campaigns are shifting our impressions of smoking towards taboo, breast implants haven't lost their sex appeal... yet.
So ladies, this is my appeal to you. Don't hold yourself to ideals of epic proportions. Let's just all hang out, together.