It was when I was 25 years old when I decided to start going braless through life. And which meant that, she didn’t wear it when she went to work either.
It is true that, spending several years in a newsroom where most of my colleagues were women, I never felt that I was doing anything special. Now I realize that I had the privilege of being in a place where I had the freedom to dress as I wanted without anyone looking at me differently for it or hearing certain comments. This is not the case with many of my followers, who, after a round of questions on Instagram, told me that it was something that they would not feel comfortable putting into practice.
And of course, if you have a large chest -which is not my case-, the bra fulfills a support function, as its name suggests, which prevents back pain by resting the shoulders and spine. But I’m talking about those who, having the option of going more comfortable with nothing on, end up using it for external reasons. Mostly, people who don’t feel comfortable if they don’t wear it:
«The guys are going to look at you yes or yes if you go without a bra. That intimidates me.”
“Many times I go without because I feel comfortable and good with myself, but if I aspired to ascend, it would condition me.”
“When I worked in front of the 90% male public , especially in summer, I preferred a bra.”
«I have large breasts and I notice the looks» .
«Being a teacher it is difficult even to go with a bralette because it bothers me that the nipple shows something».
«I would love to go without, but I am a nurse and you can imagine the looks of the gentlemen» .
“A lot of times I feel like not wearing it, but I feel like it would be conspicuous or unprofessional and it pisses me off because I know I shouldn’t, but then I still don’t dare.”
“I work in the hospitality industry and it depends on the day, I don’t want to deal with some shit of male customers.”
These are just some of the stories that left me answering the question if they wanted to share their experiences.
The (long) shadow of sexism
Yes, I am aware that reflecting that I would like men and women to feel equally comfortable at work in their clothes is not a struggle that may seem as urgent as many that feminism faces. But when talking about equality , why not claim this too? The equality that we don’t feel obligated to wear something because, if we don’t wear it, we feel harassed or that we are taken less seriously at work. For now, professional worth is not measured in the nipples , seriously. I have acquaintances in human resources departments , in the part of recruiting new talent, and that’s not what they tell me they pay attention to.
Nor does going without a bra make you a worse team worker, take longer to perform your duties or make you more messy in Slack conversations -because that’s where we all get involved without distinction. Men and women have nipples, but the fact that many still feel like this shows that we have been dragging that, being the same area of the body, it is not perceived equally. The male nipple has a free hand on beaches, swimming pools, social networks or even the office when it is visible under the shirt (yes, friends, it happens to you too).
On the other hand, the feminine continues to make its way in all these environments. And it is nothing more than the umpteenth proof that the sexism that we have been carrying includes the objectification of women. That is, reduce them to their body or parts of it-, something that discriminates against them because they are treated differently (with looks, comments, etc).
Tips for when your partner goes braless to work
The good? That making things easier is in our hands. Start by not thinking of the female nipple as an invitation to look at it or comment if it shows up in any way under your clothing. There is a big difference between a glancing glance, which can happen to all of us at some point, and staring -with the discomfort it causes-.
Below, all comments about it can be saved, seriously. We don’t want our chest to be a topic of conversation. It does not matter if it is to make an assessment that you think can be positive, such as “Your nipples are marked” (yes, it is normal for them to be marked, they are marked because I have them ). If I don’t tell my coworker that the entries are marked , no matter how visible it is, I think it should be the same on the contrary.
Also avoid jokes of those that for some are very funny of the type “It seems that it is cold”. And of course, not to suggest that the chest would not be so low without the bra. To summarize in this case, although it can be applied to any observation of the physicist, the 5 second rule should be applied . If there’s something about my appearance that can’t be changed in five seconds ( a snot, a piece of salad …) don’t comment on it. As tempting as it is to ask, “Aren’t you wearing a bra today?”, it’s not necessary. If it gives that feeling, we probably won’t wear it, but it doesn’t have to be a topic of conversation in the same way that we don’t ask if they wear socks or not.
Finally, the only way to avoid being considered unprofessional is to remember that the chest is not something that takes us away from the ideal job.
If not wearing a bra is what really prevents us from achieving the promotion of our dreams, why have bra-wearers also hit the glass ceiling?