By Wendy Macklin
All over the nation, all over the world, a strange thing is happening. Women en masse are flinging away their bras. Off they come- relegated to the back of drawers, behind the bathroom door or into the bin. Isolation is causing people to change and frankly, become quite weird. Some of us have gone mad and vacuumed under the beds, others are keeping chooks as pets. Honestly, don’t they know about DYNAMIC LIFTER ? ( It is not the brand name of an undergarment).
But the bra toss is only now being publicly revealed. This is not a new occurrence but the burning years were long ago and nobody actually did set bras on fire; we just didn’t wear them for a day or two with nothing to lose (pencil wise) being young and perky.
I became aware of this phenomenon last week when Judy whispered into the phone, “And do you know what? I haven’t worn a bra for a week!” Emails on the subject of Isolation practices had the sentence: “And I must admit I haven’t...”
I was surprised at the levels of guilt but not at the news itself. Being in the deepest Isolation in a Coastal village- where one can go whole days without see any living creature except rabbits and galahs- I had long abandoned constricting garments. I was also wearing my partner’s car cleaning T-shirts which are so comfy and roomy, I could have two rock melons under there (dream on) and you wouldn’t know. And if you’ve had a partner for a while, they don’t notice and you aren’t going out to work where you have to look good for both women AND men. Who notices anybody in the Supermarket? And these days you could strut down the aisles wearing nothing but a large flower painted over your navel and nobody would be distracted from their relentless race to the paper goods.
I decided to do some deep and meaningful research and of course, Google has everything you were afraid to ask on the history of the bra. Here are the important facts: Women had a lot to do with the invention and development of the bra. So did the Germans until WW1 when there was a lack of wire and corsets and other strait-jacket like under-garments began to disappear. (This is the only good thing I have ever heard about that war).
The first mass-produced bras were manufactured by Mechanische Trikotweberei Ludwig Maier and Cie in Boblingen, Germany, information I include because it is vital for trivia buffs if they can remember it. By the way, the story that bras were invented by Otto Titzling is just not true. The letters for the cup sizes began in the 30’s and in modern times we have gone past the “C”. Way past. Bras do not prevent sagging. In recent times, a survey asked women to choose one word to describe the bra and the winner was “uncomfortable”. Which might be because about 80% wear the wrong size. There is no denying that women all look forward to putting on their Nighties and PJ’s. Which reminds me that, long ago before marriage and childbirth -and influenced by magazine propaganda - I wore my Wonderbra to bed to encourage perky uplift. Ridiculous. I only lasted a week.
These days we are more sensible and going public. Last week, the gutsy Magda Szubanski went on the 7.30 Report with a song and dance to encourage fitness and pay tribute to our wonderful health workers. She had some friends with her- not tiny, delicate ladies by any stretch of the imagination- but they sure moved. Everything moved. The television toppled off the bookcase. Leigh Sales signed off with, “ And not one was wearing a bra!”
So there it is- public acknowledgement of what is happening in our modern world. Sisters -don’t feel guilty. Feel proud that you are free at last and your least favourite garment is now tying up the door to the chook pen.