BANNED THE BRA | 28.9.16

When I was thirteen years old the only thing I wanted in life was a bra. I wanted to be able to wear a product that strapped my barely formed breasts into place and give them a shape that was clearly fake for a teenager. It was purely so I could get changed in P.E class without the girls thinking I was even more of a tom-boy than I already was, it was only to fit in. I have never been one for doing anything seriously 'girly', I spent most of my years as a pre-teen wearing boys jeans and carrying a skateboard, if you've known me for years you'll know exactly what I mean. Every day I wore Dr Martens and a Nirvana t-shirt with a greasy centre-part that was almost at a state of being dreaded because I refused to put a hairbrush through it, much to my mothers dismay. I enjoyed that part of my life and I still am that person, just a more matured version. I do use a brush from time to time! When it came to trying new underwear it was almost a forced process rather than a complete need for it. Inside I knew I didn't want it, but I did it for the people around me. I wanted one because all of my classmates were strutting about with their push-up bras and I assumed that was what I had to do too.

Photographs by Martha Iona Oram | 'Ban The Bra' Vest - Brandy Melville

Now I'm a twenty two year old woman who doesn't give a fuck about what anyone else thinks, I decided it was time to ditch it. This was the best decision I've ever made, I feel like I wasn't born to wear a bra and that I was put under a microscope of judgement from a young age where if you didn't wear one, you'd be classed as a freak. School is a difficult time for a lot of people, especially if you're more of the quiet type that wants to sit in the back of class thinking about what Blink 182 album you were going to listen to when you got home. Girls were the hardest with judgement at that age, but everyone judges you and I can't lie, I've been known to do the same! I think you get to an age where you forget overthinking other people's opinions and realise that it's time for your own personality to shine without any holding back.

It's not that I don't ever wear a bra, there are some cases were a top is just that bit too see-through to get away with. I also find a lot of them attractive, how could you not when brands like just For Love and Lemons make such beautifully crafted pieces? It's a personal decision if I want to wear one one day and not the next, I shouldn't be judged for that choice. I've realised that I don't want to spend my time worrying about how my boobs look in a low-cut top or my lack of cleavage, I just don't care and to be honest, that's not me. I've become so much more confident with age and this is another step I've made to help me love myself the way we all should.

When erasing something from your life that you don't enjoy, you feel a huge weight off your shoulders and more like yourself. It's like breaking up with someone, you soon remember that it wasn't worth your time and it's gone for a reason. In the wake of getting rid of my bras I did some thinking about how we as woman were born without them anyway. Now that might be a serious feminist thing to say but that's another huge part of my life, so I'm not scared to sound like a proud woman who fights for our rights. We as women formed thinking we needed to wear underwear for many reasons, the main of course to be attractive for the partners in our lives. Matching panties and stuffed cup bras are known to be a pleasure for the love in your life, but if you feel like a goddess in them then that's a bonus, you shouldn't wear it for their sake. It's all about you, and the life you lead should revolve around that statement. It's empowering being able to bare it under my shirt and not care, if I can have that simple pleasure in life then I'm all for it.

It's a shame that I do still have people in my life that find it complete madness that I don't wear a bra, but you don't see me finding it weird that they're wearing one, do you? It's almost a form of equality, like all woman have to wear a bra in order to feel equal and if I'm not, it's a complete shock and I'm looked down on. That shouldn't be the case but sadly it is, it's now seen as natural and normal like eating breakfast or using toilet roll, but it's not. We were born without it and and if I don't want to wear one, I won't. That's my right as a woman and I'm allowed that little bit of enjoyment in my everyday life.

I'm still haunted by a friend of mine telling me to go and put a bra on because she could see the shape of my nipple through my vest. It was a horrifying moment, not because she could see my breast, but because she thought it was so offensive that I should go and cover myself up immediately. Remember, it's your life and no matter what everyone else around you is doing or thinking, just do you. Be yourself, whether that's wearing a bra or not. It doesn't matter! Do what makes you comfortable and happy and stay true to yourself in the process.

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