Going braless: behind the choice

Source: Brighton On the Inside

Since the beginning of lockdown in 2020, there has been a surge in women saying adios to a piece of clothing that has been like an extension of their skin - the bra. As we spend more time indoors, fashion and beauty have gravitated towards comfort and feeling empowered in your natural state. Depending on your cultural upbringing and personal beliefs, the choice to go braless can either be empowering or, frankly, baffling. Why would a woman choose to go braless and face the hostility that would come with it?

To answer this question, we have to consider the history of feminism and fashion. Long-standing male dominance in every level of institution - from the family to the government - reduced women’s roles to childbearing, homemaking, and sexual gratification for men. This view led to the sexualization of women’s bodies and regulations on their clothing as a form of social control to restrain them from opportunities and confine them to a submissive position. Feminists have been dismantling these regulations throughout history by raising their hemlines and wearing trousers, which are traditionally reserved for men. And now, the bra holds a similar significance. Going braless is a symbolic, and literal, act of liberation - a demand for equality.

Although it is a personal choice, cultural standards influence how it is perceived. Especially in countries like Vietnam where people still hold traditional views about propriety, going braless can raise controversy, prompt judgment, and unsolicited comments, even putting women in danger for sexual assaults.

A history of sexualization and restrictions cannot be abolished overnight. The best we can do as individuals is to observe and question our own standards and values. Guys and girls alike, we should respect others’ choices and refrain from making assumptions about their character based on what they wear.