Never mind nudity. North Americans seemingly can’t handle even the hint of what might be hiding beneath your clothes.
Since COVID, there’s been a fair bit of discussion about comfort as it relates to clothing. One of the “perks” of working from home for many was that they didn’t have to get dressed up (or in my case, dressed at all 🙂) for work.
For those with breasts, that included liberation from the bra. A friend confessed to me during the first summer of COVID measures that she no longer wore a bra, ever. Granted, she’s not especially well-endowed in the breast department, but to her, being free of the restrictive garment 24/7 was a glorious development.
It turns out that since March 2020, sales of underwire or other types of fashion bras have gone way down while sales of more comfortable stretchy fabric bras and bralettes were way up. Women turned to more comfortable options including doffing the bra completely the moment then had the choice.
So why weren’t they taking advantage of these options pre-pandemic?
The answer is that society has deemed that un-restrained breasts are obscene. God forbid a woman walks around without a bra on and lets her breasts move naturally. Or worse! What if her nipples are touching her top or shirt in such a way that it is possible to know that ***gasp*** they exist?
Even Seinfeld tackled the issue many years back with the famous episode where Jerry’s girlfriend Sue Ellen Mischke was walking around without a bra and Elaine was so offended that she bought her a bra (which she later wore as a top…scandalous).
I’m a male without breasts, and so I’ve never had to suffer with wearing a bra. But we men do have dangly bits of our own to worry about. Since adopting the naturist lifestyle, I will almost always go without underwear if I have to wear clothing. I strongly prefer to wear a light, loose-fitting pair of shorts around the house (and out of the house as well if that level of casual dress is appropriate). I’m pretty sure that if you were to look closely, the fact I have a penis moving about underneath the lose shorts would be evident.
Male runners and athletes generally face similar issues with the need to hide dangly bits when wearing tights or biker shorts. Some runners will wear shorts over their tights for this very reason — god forbid anyone were to catch a glimpse of the outline of a penis! Reference also the dreaded camel toe or protruding nipples for women athletes who choose tight-fitting athletic wear.
It’s a Start
Normalizing nudity is a laudable goal and one I support whole-heartedly, but in North America at least, we have a long way to go to get there. These days, the mere suggestion or outline of the dangly bits that we all have under our clothes still causes others to react in horror or shock.
Perhaps the free the nipple movement could start with convincing more women that going bra-less is perfectly acceptable if that’s your preference. From there we can work on equality between the genders as far as toplessness is concerned.
It’s going to be a long process of conditioning people to be fine with seeing various body parts like breasts, nipples, penises and vulva. We all have the bits under our clothes and maybe a good first step would be to stop worrying about whether what we’re wearing reveals too much.
If you have breasts and you want to be more comfortable (and perhaps healthier?), then ditch your bra and worry not about whether it’s obvious or not, or whether someone might get offended by the movement of your breasts. Join in on No Bra Day and take the first, tentative steps towards normalizing and de-sexualizing the female breast and nipple.
For those with penises, if wearing lose clothing without constricting underwear is more comfortable for you, go for it. On the off-chance that someone might be looking intently at your crotch, if they become aware of the fact that you have a penis, well…big deal.
Dangly bits be damned! Let’s acknowledge and accept that there is no shame in having body parts that sway, sag, poke and protrude. From there we can move on to making it more acceptable to actually see those parts now and then.