Breasts are typically covered by bras, which are then covered by shirts. However, many have different opinions on which of these layers should go into their daily outfits.
The typical modern bra was created by Ida Rosenthal in 1921 when she opened a bra shop in Manhattan called “Maiden Form.” Her bras were made to emphasize the shape of breasts by separating them into cups. Her design gained popularity, and it soon became a staple for women to wear bras, as it still is today.
“It’s the social norm and the way we’ve been raised. I’ve gotten used to wearing bras,” said Hailey Garcia, a junior.
Bras have been a subject of debate for years, and while they bring comfort to some, they cause distress for others like sophomore Lauren Tran.
“Society, for some reason, calls for people, specifically females, to cover their boobs with bras, which I think is totally unnecessary,” Tran said.
However, many women find comfort in doing so, such as Carlmont Chinese teacher Mindy Chiang. Chiang and others think the bra is useful since it supports suspensory ligaments in the breasts, and can overall promote better posture.
“Some wear it to complete their outfit and to emphasize certain features, and a lot of people do wear it for protection and coverage. Anyone who needs support should wear one, so they don’t injure themselves, but ultimately, it’s your choice,” Chiang said.
However, the 1960 New York Radical Women didn’t think it was their choice; they felt restricted by the bra. These women organized a protest against the bra on Sept. 7, 1968, during the Miss America contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During this protest, they threw bras and other feminine items such as corsets, girdles, fake eyelashes, and makeup into a “freedom trash can.”
In comparison to these radical women, Morgan Romero, who is genderqueer transmasculine, does not entirely oppose bras but sometimes becomes uneasy when considering the idea of wearing one. Despite disliking the concept of bras, he feels no hate towards bras in general. In fact, according to Romero, bras are quite comfortable and unnoticeable.
Nonetheless, Romero experiences a bit of gender dysphoria when his bra strap is exposed, but wears them just as much as he did before he came out as transgender, since sports bras give the illusion that he has no breasts.
“I haven’t thought of it until now, but I haven’t gone bra shopping in a really long time. I think it’s because I want to avoid making an extremely feminine purchase,” Romero said.
According to PINK employee Bianca Duenas, two of the most well-known shops for purchasing bras are Victoria Secret and PINK. PINK is a branch of Victoria Secret that caters to young women. Duenas admits that both stores have never used male models since primarily only females wear bras.
Duenas said, “It’s a more feminine thing. It’s a bit weird that we do get men sometimes, but still, I think as long as you like bras, you can wear them. Express yourself.”
While it is less common for men to wear bras, some, including John Smith*, choose to break the gender boundaries and fashion them.
“Generally, I’d say that there’s a lot of forced masculinity, and I don’t think that’s right. I wear bras whenever I feel like it; it makes me feel good, and it genuinely gives me the back support that I need,” Smith said. “If a ‘man bra’ were the same price, I would buy it since it conforms to the male body.”
One of the websites that sells bras for men is HommeMystere. On their website, they display a multitude of bra types and styles, which include lace, silk, and simpler variations. Though they do not use the typical cup sizing method, they have sizes that range from small to extra large.
Despite those who wear and enjoy bras, some feminists today still hold an anti-bra mindset. The #FreeTheNipple movement is prevalent on Twitter, and various public events have formed to promote topfreedom. During the summer months in Brighton, England, these promoters hold annual protests against the bra.
Upon discovering movements like these, freshman Lila Frieden points out that everyone is different and may have mixed feelings towards bras. While many have radical opinions about the usage of bras, Frieden couldn’t care less about whether or not people wear them. She believes that it’s entirely a personal decision, just like any other article of clothing that one might choose to wear.
“It’s up to you. If you want to wear a bra, wear a bra,” Freiden said.
*Due to the sensitive nature of the content, this name has been changed to protect the anonymity of the source.