Women To Emerge From Lockdown Without Bras Says Study

Story By: Joseph GolderSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash

Women may be ditching bras after lockdown after a study in France revealed many had stopped wearing them at all with an expert saying they will be healthier and happier, and that far from sagging, they will have perkier breasts after just one year.

The expert said just about the only disadvantage was some pain at first while the boobs adjusted to their new environment, because the lack of support would initially be something women were not used to.

The IFOP (Institut Francais d’Opinion Publique) study revealed that 8 percent of all woman completely ditched wearing bras during lockdown and for philosopher Camille Froidevaux-Metterie, who has written a book called “Seins, en quete d’une liberation” (‘Breasts, in search of liberation’), “this figure says a lot about the weight of external pressures.”

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Meanwhile, Dr Jean-Denis Rouillon has been studying breasts for some 15 years in a bid to determine whether bras are actually useful or not. According to his data, after not wearing one for a year, women would be pain free and nipples would perk up, sitting a little higher.

And French media are questioning whether women will stick with being bra-less as lockdown ends in France or whether they will go back to wearing the clothing items which were only invented in 1889.

Bras are known to cause red sores on the skin, irritations, a feeling of not being about to breathe properly, and the study shows that one in 10 women said ‘no’ to the contraptions during lockdown.

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In the 18- to 24-year-old bracket, the number is even higher, with 20 percent of young French women not wearing bras at all since 17th March.

Froidevaux-Metterie said: “During lockdown, women find themselves freed from the weight of external glances. It’s new. They were able to take advantage of it to change certain habits and, among other things, we saw that some abandoned their bras.”

Local media spoke to some of these women, and the underlying reason they took off their bras was comfort.

A woman named as Mathilde has not worn a bra in over a year. She said: “I was constantly scratching itches until I would start bleeding. Today, I feel free.”

And Laura, 30, who stopped wearing her bra at the beginning of lockdown, said: “I feel less awkward and I really can breathe much better.”

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Ironically, the modern bra was invented in 1889 by Herminie Cadolle – to free women from stuffy and restrictive corsets.

But Froidevaux-Metterie, 52, says: “For a long time, bras have been a form of liberation for women’s bodies. But since the appearance of the Wonderbra in the 1990s, there has been a form of ‘re-corsetisation’ of bras, with reinforcements, foams, pads, frames and elastics becoming ever more restrictive.”

Not wearing a bra however can be painful, especially when women do sports or run. But for Jean-Denis Rouillon, who started looking into the matter some 15 years ago, the pain would not be permanent and women’s breasts would adapt to their new environment after about one year, becoming firmer and perkier, and moving less when doing physical activities like running.

Dr Rouillon, whose exact age is unclear, has studied over 300 pairs of breasts and how they have evolved over time with and without bras. He said: “Our main hypothesis is that initially the breast is able to support its own weight on its own thanks to Cooper’s ligaments.”

Cooper’s ligaments are connective tissue in the breast that help maintain structural integrity. This suspension system exists, regardless of the size of the chest.

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He added: “But after a few years of wearing a bra, especially if it is put on during the period of breast growth, the system degenerates and then the woman is trapped. If she wants to stop wearing bras, she will have heavy, sore breasts.”

According to the doctor, after stopping wearing any type of bra, it takes a year for the breast to adjust to new conditions, to gravity and to doing sports.

A former sports doctor in the French city of Besancon, Dr Rouillon slams bras, saying: “We make a false need and then the woman is captive of the false need that we made.”

And speaking about how so many women put on bras every morning, he said: “I think it is crazy. I thought to myself ‘for over a hundred years, women on the planet, especially European women, have conscientiously put on a bra every morning without its usefulness having ever been proven’.”

Camille Froidevaux-Metterie seems to be onto something when she says: “There are people who have a lot to lose by demonstrating the uselessness of bras, for those who can do without them. There is a whole underwear industry that has an interest in women wearing and changing bras often.”

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Joseph Golder

I am a journalist and currently work as the chief subeditor at Central European News.

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