I was 16 years old when burning your bra was fashionable. I wasn’t developed enough to wear one. I was unsure of the political reasons for this craze and was not too interested in it. In fact I was looking forward to wearing a bra, to going through that significant ‘rite of passage’. I remember going to the Eaton department store with my sister and my mother for the important event. We tried on several bras, settling for ones that were basically flat with a bit of elastic.
Was I interested in burning my bra? No way! I was proud to be wearing this symbol of my developing womanhood. It was a new level of status, and yet somewhere along the way this status symbol of femininity started to feel like a form of bondage to my true womanhood.
Strangely, our Western culture demands that breasts must be hidden. When they are exposed they are ogled lustfully, with little consideration for the woman they belong to. Breasts are a desirable symbol of femininity, and yet also shamed. They are the symbol of softness of heart. They embody the sensitivity of our feelings and an innate generosity. Yet that generosity can be perceived as ‘risky behavior’ if we express it too ‘openly’. In a patriarchal world, breasts make a woman feel like a unicorn in a world of horses. They ‘stick out’. Everyone can see them. And because we have to hide them, I wonder if we are able to fully experience them as the portals they truly are.
Breasts represent our emotional nature, reveal our womanly shape, generate sexual stimulation and radiate a spiritual purpose—yet the torrent of mixed messages we receive are muddled and incongruent. Present day entertainment media tells us that only big, firm breasts are truly valued. A man is “lucky” if he is with a big-breasted woman. But woe to the woman whose breasts get saggy, the same cultural conduit cries. Wear a bra to keep them firm. And now we find out, after a 15 year study, that perhaps wearing a bra actually makes them saggier!
Burning the bra was a symbolic political act. Now there is evidence we can toss them for physical benefit. But I think there is a renewed and even deeper reason for throwing off this form of bondage.
I say to my sisters, take off your bra, lift up your chest, breathe deeply and free your breasts to speak to you. Let them be portals of soft, generous, heart-centered messages inside you. The same muscles that support your breasts also raise the solar plexus. This is the nerve centre for the upper body—which has wisdom to share. Lift your heart and listen for the grief, the joy, the fear, the shame, the love that may be hidden there. Bless your breasts for the message you hear and listen again. These messages will not harm you. Your breasts will only bless, nourish and love you, delivering compassionate truth from your core. Free them and feel them... and let them uplift you.