Going "commando" (sans panties - by choice or by circumstance) can be one of the most freeing feelings. One of the best parts of the day is finally being able to take off your bra. But have you ever wondered why we even have to wear these contraptions?
History will prove that these are not garments we always wore. Bras were invented and sold to women as a means of hoisting up their breasts and shaping them in a way that was aesthetically pleasing (mostly to men, as usual). And, as is typical with many things designed for women, they were not design with comfort in mind (and they have the nerve to be expensive!). Generation after generation, we continue to subject ourselves to this without question. Getting up in the morning and putting on your bra is just as natural as breathing.
But, since bras aren't a natural part of our biological evolution, have you ever considered the ways that bras may be affecting your body?
There are some studies that say that when young women begin wearing bras, they deny the breasts gravity and thus the pectoral muscle behind each breast is never required to support the weight of the breasts, which can lead to sagging and increase reliance on wearing bras for support and aesthetics. One study followed over 300 women to learn how breasts changed over time after no longer wearing a bra. The study reports that over a span of 15 years, women saw a lift in nipple placement, increased fullness, and fewer stretch marks on their breasts. Following these studies, some women have ditched their bras and said they have better posture, less back pain, and better breathing. This is not a full case to completely stop wearing a bra, but it does present reason for girls not to start wearing them so soon, as not to stunt the growth and muscle development of their breasts.
Going without a bra goes against all the social norms women face, especially in America. Early waves of the feminist movement saw bras as a means of patriarchal control of the female body and took to burning them as a political statement. Aside from that, people tend to be uncomfortable with the idea of their breasts swaying freely or their nipples showing through their shirts because we've be trained to believe in modesty (neither right or wrong, just is what it is). Young girls start wearing bras initially for aesthetics and eventually for support (think sports bras for PE class, etc.). Women with large breasts may contend with back and shoulder pain as well as sweating under the breasts, so going without a bra sounds like a nightmare, no matter how uncomfortable bras might be.
What is the stigma of going braless? Is it that we will be seen as "too sexy", distracting, or even dangerous without a bra? We surely are called all of these things when we wear them. Seems like a Catch 22.
Wearing panties is equally political and divisive, as some people wouldn't be caught dead without wearing panties and others couldn't care less about them unless absolutely necessary. There has been plenty of debate as to whether or not women should wear panties, especially as they sleep. Most professionals will say that letting the vagina breathe while you sleep is helpful, especially if you frequently deal with yeast infections and other vaginal issues (UTIs, vaginitis, vaginosis, etc.). Bacteria grows best in warm, dark, wet places, so going panty-free while you sleep can be beneficial to your overall health.
During the day, though, your choice to wear panties or not is mostly inconsequential. Some find it comfortable or even pleasurable to go without panties under their clothes. There is less friction and more airflow to the entire area. You wouldn't have to deal with panty lines or wedgies. If you do choose to wear panties, make sure they're cotton, stay away from thongs as much as possible (literal butt floss, you don't want butt stuff in your cooch!), and replace your panties every few months.
Part of self-care is making sure you know why you do the things you do and making decisions for yourself and your body. You get to decide what you want to do or not do, and that includes you choice in (or lack of) underwear. You choose how your body shows up in the world and people will just have to deal. It's truly no one else's business.
So what do you think? You ditching your bras and panties or nah?