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Unsupported Evidence

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Are women better off without wearing bras? This topic on nighttime news, squeezed between Korea's nuclear threats and the start of baseball season, has women voicing some strong opinions. I, of course, am one of those women. My first reaction is a resounding, "OMG! YES! YES! YES!"

Jean-Denis Rouillon, a professor at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon, France, conducted a study in which he examined the breasts of 300 women, ages 18 through 35, over a 15-year period. His study concluded that "bras provide no benefit to women and may actually be harmful to breasts over time," and "medically, physiologically, and anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity."

I must step in here and applaud Professor Rouillon for his courage in taking on such an arduous assignment. This brave man single-handedly (OK, maybe he used both hands) examined the breasts of 300 young women over a 19-year period. He worked long, hard hours.

Hi honey. Don't hold dinner for me. I'll be working late... Yes, again.

Capucine Vercellotti, a 28-year-old woman who participated in the research, found that she breathed easier without the constraints of a bra. No kidding, Capucine. The only time I fully enjoy breathing is when I'm in the shower.

I knew from the first day I forced my arms behind my back and blindly attempted to find teensy metal hooks to fit into weensy metal eyes that constraining and compressing my breasts was not in my best interest. Like caged animals, my girls have always cursed the inhuman individual who saw the need to restrain this part of my anatomy. All they ever wanted was to be free.

Maybe it made a modicum of sense to cover them in 1914, when 19-year-old Mary Phelps Jacob tied a couple of silk handkerchiefs together to conceal stiff whale bone stays that were visible through her sheer gown. But before long, the notion became a popular fashion statement as style-conscious women saw another way to start and follow a trend.

As luck would have it, someone, somewhere, decided those little silk handkerchiefs should do more than conceal whale bone. They might as well lift and support, also, because -- heaven forbid -- time and gravity might eventually have their way, and they would loose the youthful perkiness God, and most men, believe they should have.

I love being a woman. I have never wanted to be a man but -- and I say this knowing full-well I will be slammed by most of the female population -- when it comes to fashion, sometimes women are morons. The greater majority of them will rush out and buy anything that fashion magazines dictate. But, if they had clearly thought this bra issue through nearly 100 years ago, millions of women would not have dents in their shoulders from carrying around the weight of the world, and their midriffs would not have to tolerate irritating fabric rub. And for what? Just so bosoms wouldn't bounce?

SERIOUSLY?

I've harnessed my girls every day of my life since eighth grade. When I told my mother that Jackie Young had winked and asked me what I had in my gym suit pocket, she said it was time for me to wear a bra. And, she promised, if I always wore it, my breasts would never sag. Well, despite 62 painful years of doing what Mother said, I have two words to describe what my girls look like today: National Geographic.

When I was in fourth grade, I visited an eye doctor who prescribed glasses. "Don't wear them all the time," he said, "or you will become too dependent on them." I did what he suggested, and only wore them for seeing the blackboard, reading and movies. Of course, the rest of the time I bumped into walls and got into stranger's cars. But, the point is, I never found the need to rely on them. And, so it should be with bras.

Rouillon cautioned that women who have worn bras for several decades would not benefit from taking their bras off now.

Wanna bet? Stand back.