Posted by thedude on December 31, 2017 Two years ago, the internet was ablaze with the stories of women wearing bras.
In the midst of the global feminist movement, a growing number of women started to dress provocatively, sometimes in clothing that was too revealing or provocative, often with the sole purpose of showing off their cleavage.
The first time was with an Instagram post by a 29-year-old British woman, who shared a photo of herself in a bra, a black bra with a small, dark bra clasp, which was the first time anyone had ever worn one.
The photo went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of views, and soon became the go-to photo for all women everywhere.
“I feel like I’m doing something really brave and interesting and amazing,” she wrote in the caption of her photo.
“I’ve never had to feel this way before,” she added.
The post went viral.
“You can’t get more revealing in your life.”
It was, and still is, one of the most popular images of women of the ’50s, which is a time in which women were still allowed to wear dresses and make up, and when the “glamour and the freedom” of the era were still considered the key to women’s success.
“In the 1950s, it was considered the most feminine, liberated time of our lives,” says Jennifer Meeks, a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of The First Wave of Modern Feminism: The Feminine Mystique, 1960–1970.
“We had a new sense of freedom, and women had a freedom to express themselves in a way that they had never done before.”
It’s an image that has been repeated ad nauseam in the years since, as many women have taken up the sport of bra-wearing.
The bra is now ubiquitous among young women in the US and around the world, and has become an emblem of women’s liberation.
“The bra is a symbol of liberation, it’s a symbol that women have the freedom to wear whatever they want,” says Meeks.
However, the bra isn’t a new trend; in fact, it predates the internet by over 50 years.
“It’s a very old concept,” says Dr. Jodie St. James, an author of the book The First Feminine Revolution, which traces the history of bra wearing.
“It was just one of those things that was born in a time of revolution, where women had their first opportunities to get out of their traditional dresses, their traditional hair, their tradition of being silent.”
“The idea of the bra was invented in the 1950-60s by women who felt they had no other option.”
In a world where women were allowed to be as naked as they wanted, bra-clad women were one of a number of new forms of expression.
Some women were wearing nothing at all, like the young singer-songwriter Cecilia O’Brien, who famously wore a small white lace bra underneath her skirt in 1962.
Others wore long dresses or miniskirts, which were a staple of the 1950’s.
Many of these women were seen as being more independent, or at least less beholden to the patriarchy, which saw women as property to be owned and controlled.
Many women who wore a full-length bra would find themselves on the receiving end of a barrage of unwanted comments, especially from men.
In a 1960 essay on women’s bodies, British actress Barbara Broccoli wrote that “it’s not enough to be naked or undressed, you must be in a state of sexual excitement.
We must be full of sexual energy, or the rest of us won’t be allowed to enjoy ourselves.””
In the ’60s, a whole lot of women were finding their feet with the bra,” says St. Martin.
“For many of them, it meant wearing something that was very revealing, and it meant taking on a persona.”
The bra was a symbol for women’s empowerment, as it meant a woman could show off her cleavage and reveal the confidence of her feminine identity, without the pressure of being a woman.
The ’60’s also saw a rise in the popularity of the mini-dress, or mini, that women wore, a mini-skirt with a few buttons and a small skirt.
“The mini-dresses became so popular that there was a boom in them,” says Broccoli.
“People wanted to wear them and they were not just limited to women of colour.
There were lots of women who wanted to show their cleavages and express themselves without having to hide anything.”
In the mid-1960s, the “modest mini-suit” became the most common bra size for women.
As more women began to wear more revealing clothing, they