There's been quite a bit of discussion about whether or not an internal bra is a tool of the patriarchy or not. On the one hand, the pitch seems aimed at conventionally "pretty" people who are concerned about meeting oppressive beauty standards, and thus want the boob sling to keep up with the Janes. Point for the Patriarchy camp.
On the other hand, there's an undercurrent of people (in some quarters being shamed as anti-feminist for their stance) who are cautiously pro-internal bra. While acknowledging that the product is tested on animals, and aimed at perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards, they admit the possibility that the internal bra might just be something to think about.
I'm betting a good number of those are having misty thoughts about going braless for the first time since puberty because they are "well-endowed." I'll admit it. That was my first thought. I'm one of those women who is large on top and can't really go without a bra. Not because of beauty standards, but because of aches and pains. Wearing a bra sucks. Underwires poke, they scratch, they bind, and mostly serve as sweat retaining mechanisms designed for irritation. Going without is no better, because then there are rubs and aches and chafing of different sorts (and no, I don't buy the "go long enough without and your skin will get used to it." been there, done that, doesn't work). The worst part is exercise. One of the biggest hassles for me in training for a marathon was always what to do about the boobs. For someone who has had large and "gravity enhanced" breasts since about age sixteen, there is no exercising without support. The bra is a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario, and at least for me, one that has extremely little to do with fashion and lots and lots to do with choosing a lesser of two evils in terms of comfort.
That's why the idea of an internal bra is sort of appealing, in an albeit, misty, non-logical way. On the surface it sounds like a great idea, like contact lenses or lasik, something that would eliminate a daily encumbrance, a recurring expense (says the girl who just forked out for six new "back to school" bras). Braless! Even better, braless without having to hold onto your breasts as you walk briskly down stairs or dash across the parking lot. Braless on a hot summer day when you don't want to wear an extra layer under a tank. Braless (or at least not wearing what feels like a cast iron chafing torture device) while exercising! For the big and, let's face it, droopy, the idea of the internal bra represents something that has nothing to do with beauty.
The idea sounds like freedom.
So, yes, once you start thinking about the development of the product, the target market, the not-so-subtle message that normal women's bodies are somehow unacceptable, sure, it's hard to be thrilled about the internal bra. But for those of us who have breasts that get in the way, that require a lot of management in order to engage in certain activities... One commenter (and I can't remember where I read it) said something to the effect of well, if you hate your breasts that much, just have them cut off. I don't know, but to me, that comment really smacks of a lack of empathy for those who have to deal with being large breasted. We don't hate our breasts, anymore than we hate being tall (or short), near-sighted (or far-). The idea of not being weighed down (which, I recognize, is no possible because they won't become weightless) is a tempting fantasy. Surgery is painful, risky, expensive, and unlikely to fulfil the fantasy. I know that. I also know that me sitting on a beach having some sweet young thing bringing me drinks with umbrellas in them is also a fantasy.
So forgive us large-breasted women who might hear about the internal bra, and imagine that it would feel like flying.Posted by binky at August 16, 2007 03:14 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Random Thoughts