Bras Just Want Some Appreciation. Don’t We All?

IntimatesFools-199x300Women can be mistaken for their sexuality. Or, women can make their sexuality work for them.

Intimates and Fools, with poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman and illustrations by Sally Deskins, is a thought-provoking, conversation-starting coffee table book that got me thinking about all that.

Here, brassieres emerge as the main characters.

A ribboned and bowed satin looped bra that hugs and squeezes can’t help but twirl in a soft orange light. You just know “she” will be treasured and cared for.

Others are self-important and inflated, via tennis balls, water balloons, tissue, silicone…

Until they’re removed or disposed of.

I’m so great, why would anyone take me off? Bra wonders. And yet people do: Lovers, doctors — and soon-to-be sleepers slipping into PJs. 

Some say they’re pointless.

Some burned* their bras.

sallydeskins-intimates__fools__art_poetry_collaboration-p-9Oddly, it was Flappers who “invented” the bra while binding their breasts. Was this to declare sexual freedom in the backs of newly-created cars, alongside freedom from being only about sex and reproduction? Ever notice how women got the vote about the same time that flappers – and a sexual revolution – arose?

But not everyone got the word. Daisy Buchanan still believed, “The best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

Bras cover boobs. And “boob” sometimes means “fool.”

sallydeskins-intimates__fools__art_poetry_collaboration-p-31-32Bras seem to gain self-acceptance as they relax with age. But only to face rejection as old, discolored, snagged brassieres squished inside plastic bags, wondering why they are no longer worthy of wearing. Bras hoping to be chosen and worn. Somehow, Old Bra just knows that with a little dressing in lavender oil she will be up for a night out on the town.

Or, renewed again and appreciated in all her seasonal color.

In this love-hate relationship, bras just want a little appreciation. Don’t we all?

(*Actually, feminists threw them in the trash–but “burning” is so much more colorful.)

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 17, 2014, in body image, feminism, objectification, women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Huh, sounds interesting. I personally only like bras because they can feel nice if you get the right material and because my FwB likes it when I wear “cleavage enhancing” ones for him. It’s all a role to play…I used to use cloth bandages to bind my breasts up in high school. Ouch.

  2. I’ve never really thought of my bras being connected to my sexuality or anything. Honestly, I can’t wait to take the thing off at the end of the day. I think removing your bra after a long day at work is the equivalent of a man removing his pants.

  3. This made me smile… Loved learning a little about the herstory of the bra.

    • Yes. Looks like a fun book.

      And I just saw your blog. Looks like your experience with having big breasts — that others have sexually objectified — fits with this. (That was a powerful piece by the way.)

      • Thank you! I thought they fit together well too- no pun intended. Also- definitely got the parallel you make between bras and breasts and how both are regarded, treated, embraced, and discarded.

  4. I love this!! Thank you Georgia. Please note Laura Madeline Wiseman’s name. Here it is on amazon! :)

  5. Quite a bundle of fun and uplifting in places :D xox

  6. Hear hear! Bras have saved me on several occasions, they deserve appreciation! Nice post, made me smile :) x

  7. The best thing about a bra is the feeling you get when you take it off and throw it across the room.

  8. Interesting about bras. For me it was the best invention ever and it took me 40 years to find the right one to feel sexy in it. (having very small boobs) :-)

  9. When I read this blog it made me immediately compare myself (women) to the bra being spoken about. Especially the part where it spoke about the bra getting worn down and eventually been forgotten about for a new more sturdy one. It kind of feels like the weight of the world for women. We have to keep our appearances up and look younger and healthier than we actually are in order to remain relevant or even get the attention that we want and deserve. On the other hand when I think of my bras it can also go the other way, there is no offense meant by me when I have to let go of an old bra. Its just that it is not longer able to support me in the way that I need support and it could be hazardous to myself to continue to wear it under those conditions.

  10. Okay so I guess I never really gave much thought to the pros and cons of the brassiere or if there was not a need for them. I always thought it fitting and proper to wear one. According to K.G. Dunst (January 16, 2012) something representing “bras wore worn by Minoan women 2500 BC because they did not want their breasts touching their clothing and around 450 BC Greek and Roman women used bands to adjust the size and contour of their busts”. I’ve always just accepted the fact that bras were needed to hold things in place all sound and snug. Yes some women complain about them being uncomfortable and resent having to wear them and solve the issue by taking them off. Of course some women can get away with not having to wear them because they are very small busted and at the end of the day it is relaxing to just let it all hang out until you suit up for the next day. And as the saying goes there is a time and place for everything.

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