No Bra Day: Women's tales of freedom and comfort

In Summary

• Every October 13, women celebrate the No Bra Day as a way to create awareness on breast cancer, one that has been an issue worldwide for years.

• this Day was initially observed on July 9, 2011, but within three years it had moved to the 13th day of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October.

A bra.
A bra.
Image: COURTESY

If you are a woman, you can attest to the joy of removing your bra after wearing it a whole day. It is such a satisfying feeling.

Well, today is No Bra Day, a day where women are encouraged to ditch the bras as a way to encourage breast cancer awareness.

Every October 13, women celebrate the No Bra Day as a way to create awareness on breast cancer, one that has been an issue worldwide for years.

 

According to Wikipedia, the day was initially observed on July 9, 2011, but within three years it had moved to the 13th day of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October.

The event was spun off a medical event in Toronto, Canada, that encourages breast cancer survivors to consider reconstructive surgery. First held on October 19, 2011, the medical event was named BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day.

With the various types of cancer, breast cancer, with some 5,900 new cases reported annually, is leading cancer in the country.

It accounts for 12.5% of all cancer cases and 20.9% of cancers among women. Of greater concern is the fact that awareness on early detection of breast cancer, and uptake of screening services remain low.

Well, women have different tales about bras and what they think about them with many stating that they always look forward to getting home and just taking it off.

Speaking to a few women in Nairobi, most of them said that if they had an option, they would do away with the bras for good.

Wambui* says she thinks bras are the most uncomfortable type of clothing ever created.

"Ask any woman around and they'll tell you they wish it was possible to never wear a bra. When it gets really hot, you sweat a lot especially under the breast, hence experiencing some discomfort. The worst part about the bra is the metallic ring that holds the breasts. Sometimes it makes you feel very uncomfortable," Wambui explained.

She says she stopped wearing bras after she developed rashes under her breasts.

 

"The rashes were as a result of sweating and not being able to take off the bra in public. I had to get a cream to clear the rushes, but after that, I decided to avoid bras."

Marion* owns a lingerie store in Nairobi and she says women of different sizes visit her store to purchase bras. She says some women leave the shop satisfied while others are a bit disappointed.

"I have run this business for two years and I have come across different women with different specs on the bras they want. Women are built differently; some have big breasts, others medium size, and others even small sizes.

"I get a lot of questions from women with bigger breasts because getting their size is sometimes hard," Marion said.

She explained that there are women who can get a bra with the perfect cup that fits their breasts but there can be a problem when it comes to the straps.

"I try as hard as I can to help my customers find the perfect bra because, at the end of the day, I would want them to come back and purchase more."

While Wambui said she decided to avoid wearing bras, Sheila* says she can't walk around without one because she finds them sexy and gives her breasts a good look.

"Who wouldn't want to walk around with a well-fitting bra that pushes your boobs up? I live for a beautiful bra that accentuates my breasts plus I love the attention I get from men," a smiley Sheila said.

She says she has specific places she gets her bras because "not all bras can do you justice."

"I get my bras from Woolworths because they have different options to select from. They are pricey I'll not lie but I'd rather buy an expensive bra that I know I'll wear for a while than getting a cheaper one that won't serve me for even months."

Echoing Sheila's words, Maureen* said that getting a good bra can also help hold your breasts firmly.

"Women have heard all sorts of narratives about bras, with the common one being that if you don't wear a bra, your breasts will sag. I don't believe it, but I'm an advocate for well-fitting bras, in turn helping you not to develop complications like backaches," Maureen said.

She also asked women to develop a habit of washing their bras, especially the black ones.

"Let's not beat around the bush. Some women can go for months without washing their bras, arguing that it's not exposed to any dirt, hence can be worn several times. Hygiene starts from inside and if your inner wear is not clean, then you might as well walk around with unkempt hair," she explained.

Men also have a say on women and bras and Jeremiah* says that women should wear bras and there should be no debate about it.

"It is very important to support events that bring awareness to the public like the No Bra Day because it is for a good cause. But I think that women should always wear bras while in public. If at all you have to walk around without a bra for reasons best known to you, at least look for a good blouse that does not expose your breasts," Jeremiah said.

For Brian* the case is totally different. He says he doesn't have any issue with women who don't wear bras.

"It is a choice and I believe everyone has one and if walking around without a bra is what they see as comfortable, who am I to change that. It's not as if they are walking around naked," Brian explained.

He pointed out that there are other men who find it 'calming' when they spot a woman with no bra.

"I do not mean it in a perverted kind of way, but it is more like appreciating what we see. Yes, there are those who will take advantage of the sight but a decent man will just appreciate the beauty and move on."

As women, we get tired of wearing a bra all day and look forward to taking them off.

Some of the reasons women give are discomfort. Yes, bras can be uncomfortable especially during a hot day and as women, all we want is to walk around freely.

Other women have complained about having health issues.

Wearing the wrong bra can bring complications to someone. Women with big breasts often complain about backaches and most times they are brought about because of wearing a bra that does not support your breasts as it should. 

Investing in a good bra can help you avoid such situations and it's also advisable to look for a professional that can easily help you identify the right bra.