Wendyl Nissen

Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: Resisting bra-induced cleavage for natural form

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"I don't wear a bra. I just don't like them. Never have." Photo / Getty Images
"I don't wear a bra. I just don't like them. Never have." Photo / Getty Images

My daughter once took me into a Victoria's Secret store in New York. I walked in and immediately felt deeply uncomfortable. I was surrounded by bras of every description. Bright colours, candy floss colours, lacy, pushy, not so pushy, frilly and fancy.

"Don't just stand there," my daughter whispered. "Find a seat or something."

So I joined several men perching on the pouffes generously provided for people not interested in buying bras to wait out the time it took for those who were.

The reason I felt so discombobulated was that I don't wear a bra. I just don't like them. Never have.

I find it impossible to wear one without feeling constricted, controlled, pinched, pulled and prodded into a shape I'm not sure I want to present to the world.

If you stand there and squeeze two boobs together, no matter what size, eventually you are going to get two mounds with a cleavage. Every woman does it as soon as she grows breasts, just to see what will happen. Obviously you can't walk around with your hands squashing your boobs so instead you strap yourself into something which does that for you.

Last time I looked there's only one sort of person who appreciates a good cleavage, and that's a man. Personally I can't see an ample cleavage without wanting to stick something in it like a coin or a flower ... oh ... I just got it.

I'm just not sure submitting myself to the back-biting, flesh-pinching constriction that is a bra is worth the effort just in case I happen to be seen by a man who might be turned on and look at my boobs for longer than is polite or necessary.

For my money, I'll swing about and be myself and go for comfort over creepy.

As I continue my challenge of being a supportive wife for a year, going bra-less could be seen as being rather neglectful and so I've had a bit of a rethink.

It is true that on occasion my husband has made the suggestion that I might like to put a bra on so that people can see my lovely knees. That's a joke, he would never be so rude, he'd say thighs instead.

He was merely pointing out my outfit was either see-through or low cut in which case I risked revealing my naked breasts to the world or having one pop out when I leaned over. My daughters have also begged me to bra-up on occasion.

Because the problem with going bra-less is that you begin to regard your breasts as just bits of your body and forget that they could be seen as things to be stuck out in front of you as some attempt to draw attention from the opposite sex.

To me my breasts are just another part of my body. There for a reason, sure, but a functional reason, not a sexual introduction.

When I had my first child I regarded the fact that milk started coming out of them with sheer horror. I was stuck in a science fiction movie where aliens were taking over my body, which is true when you have a baby, only they're not aliens, they're gorgeous little creatures.

Of course, going bra-less is the ultimate act of feminism because as we all know bras were burned (they never were but it made a good headline for the protest against the Miss America Pageant in 1968) and Germaine Greer once took her bra off on television and described the bra as a "ludicrous invention". Bras were seen as a form of oppression and so feminists the world over stopped wearing them.

Which suited me fine in the 70s when I first encountered a bra. I stopped wearing them for comfort, but why not support feminism while I was at it?

I have now bought a bra in the interests of covering up and will occasionally wear it, if prompted by my watchdog family or a visit to the gym.

I know from a recent 15-year French study that they do nothing to support a women's breasts and may even do some damage. So, as a supportive wife, I'm sticking with the unsupported option.

- NZ Herald

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