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Brave and braless – how feminism hit the 70s

Today, us women are feeling more empowered to go braless, due to comfort, health related issues and self -acceptance. It has also became an increasing trend for us millennials due to, #freethenipple which was a campaign started in 2012.

The campaign was to raise awareness of women’s equality and rights. It was to reduce the stigma attached to our breasts being sexualised. Also for practical reasons such as, breast feeding to become more acceptable, even though it’s the most natural process on earth! Right?

Why should men be allowed to have their nipples exposed and not women?

Of course, Feminism didn’t just start there. It goes all the way back to the 70’s were women fought hard for their rights as citizens. ‘The 70’s may have been many things, but boring wasn’t one of them’’ Feminist activists, Susan Brown Miller, Kate Millet and Gloria Steinem all became the face of women. Gloria Steinem became the most prominent figure for women’s liberation. In 1980 she too was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she overcame it and continued to advocate for women’s rights.

Women’s Rights

Moreover, two years before the 70’s hit, the no bra movement can be traced back to The 1968 Beauty Pageant in Atlantic City. Where women chucked bra’s, mops, makeup and hair spray, anything ‘women related’ into a ‘freedom trash can’. This remarkable protest was against women being identified with such items. Not long after this, going braless became a trend on the runway and for streetwear.

Jerry Hall went braless. Modelling Diane Von Furstenberg’s collection on the runway in 1975. It soon hit the streets after famous actress Cybill Shepard starred in the movie, ‘’The Taxi Driver’. She wore no bra with a wrap dress, in an iconic scene.

The 70’s have definitely empowered women and increased the freedom to wear or not to wear what we wish to. Reports show us girls have walked away from wearing push up bras. Which we’re popular in the 90’s. This could be due to the increase of active conscious lifestyle, many women are going for bras with less wiring or no wiring at all. Such as the triangle bra, no padding or the sports bra.

Victoria Secret’s Fall

In a 2018 Forbes article, it discusses the dramatic fall of Victoria Secret. It states, ‘’ a 1% decline in comparable sales in the five weeks ended July 7, after lower demand for its bras and the Pink label targeting college-age customers offset gains in its beauty products. This indicates women not wearing bras, is becoming increasingly mainstream!

A lot of celebrities we idolise are caught by the pap not wearing bras! For example, one of the world’s most famous model, Kendall Jenner rocks her new signature style of going braless. She states, ‘it’s sexy, and is cool with her chest’’ Other celebrities such as Rita Ora, Rihanna have all been going brave and braless! If the celebs can do it, why can’t we?

All women must wear bras for ”decency of other visitors”

However, although with increasing acceptance of braless women, there are still disputes arising in 2020. A woman named Anneka Sutcliffe, was visiting her friend, which is an Extinction Rebellion protester in a London prison was refused entry. Due to the fact she wasn’t wearing a bra. She continues to say, Tameside Prison said all visitors are required to be “appropriately dressed”, and unless there are medical reasons all women must wear bras for “decency of other visitors” including children.

Sutcliffe adds, ‘’her breasts have never been so angry’’. However, a study carried by the Equal Opportunities Commission found out, ‘’women felt they were more equal than ever before’’ I feel in today’s society every woman should be allowed to go braless if they choose to do so. It’s your body, right?

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