Tag Archives: breast

Bare breasts, bare feet

As those of you who have been with me for a while will know, I have an exploration underway into having unfettered breasts. I’m ample enough up top to have spent the last twenty years strapped up, so building up the capability to go unstrapped is taking time.

At Druid Camp this year I had chance to play with a few possibilities in a safe space. I spent the week mostly barefoot, sometimes with a bra, sometimes with a bikini top that offered far less support, sometimes loose under whatever top I had on. As I had suspisioned, being bare foot on grass makes a lot of odds. Most of us walk differently with no shoes on, tending to drop pace and place bare feet more gently. This reduces impact and means there is less swing generated further up.

Soft earth and grass doesn’t impact as much when you walk on it – I’ve done plenty of barefoot walking on tarmac and the difference is huge. The jarring impact of putting feet onto a hard surface jolts the free-range breast about rather a lot, making walking uncomfortable. It’s also hard on your feet. Softer surfaces make bare foot walking more viable, and reduce impact on the breasts. I find I can jog short distances barefoot on grass with little or no breast support. Neither feet nor chest could bear that on a hard, urban surface.

The moral of the research at this stage seem to be, if you want to be in a natural state, you need to be in a natural state. The more artificial your habitat is, the more you will suffer if you don’t protect breasts and feet from the consequences.

If you’re wondering about all the sticks and stones inherent in natural places… if you are barefoot you learn to pick your way carefully, and you don’t end up with the same rhythms. On rough terrain, you walk differently. With tarmac and concrete we can march vigorously over many miles, battering that tempo into our bodies. It’s worth remembering that the Roman roads were built precisely so they could march armies about quickly. Roads, tarmac and cement come from our desire to be places faster than our bodies are designed for. Modify your habitat and you have to modify your body to cope, hence shoes become more important, and you can’t run without a bra once you have shoes and a hard surface.

I’ve gone over to softer bras with no metal underwiring, and to floating about unfettered where I can. But, depending on my feet for transport, and having no choice about the surfaces which get me where I need to go, I’ve got to have boots to deal with the impact of the surface, and I’ve got to have chest support to deal with the impact of the boots on that surface. The more you can match your shoes to the needs of your breasts, the better this is going to work, though.

The unfettered breast

Like many young women, I started wearing a bra when I was about twelve, and have worn one for most of my waking hours since then. In the last year or so I’ve picked up a lot of things online about more free range breasts – French studies suggesting breast firmness might be improved by being bra-less, and ideas that breasts need to move freely in order to function properly. It all makes a fair amount of sense. We did not, after all, evolve to wear corsetry.

For a few months now I have been experimenting, and I have noticed some things.

My first feelings of going bra-free were of awkwardness and discomfort – emotional, not physical. I felt exposed, even though fully dressed. I realise that I have been socialised to consider the unfettered breast a sign of loose sexual morals and availability. The idea that, anyone realising I had no bra would conclude that I am a slut and open to any and all sexual advances, was not a comfortable one. I have yet to go out in public without a bra, and this is a big part of why. I simply do not want the assumptions that could go with it.

Experience of attitudes to the female body have taught me that what I have on my chest are two objects of gratification for other people. I realised, in my unfettered times, that I feel very little ownership of my breasts and that’s something I’m trying to work on. My being comfortable with them should be more important than anyone else finding them pleasing, especially when we’re talking about people with whom I have no relationship at all and no wish to share my body.

The next realisation was that, in the absence of a bra, I become more aware of my posture. My breasts become less comfortable if I am slumped, or trying to fold in on myself. In a bra, I am often oblivious to my posture, but without one I need to sit or stand in strong, confident positions that support my breasts. Thus unfettering my breasts sometimes, has changed how I think about the rest of my body, and this has been a really useful process for me.

It took time and practice to feel relaxed just being around the house, fully dressed but without a bra. To be able to do that and feel normal, natural and acceptable has been a journey. I have learned that my menfolk do not seem to notice whether I am strapped up or not. Apparently it isn’t so obvious. I have learned not to feel demeaned by a more natural condition and to recognise that if I am not doing something in a sexual way, no one else has any right to sexualise it and impose that on me.

For a lot of reasons, I’ve never felt wholly present in my own skin, nor proper ownership of my body. I’m looking at small acts of reclamation, including how I dress and move, what I do, and do not do. I’d like to get to a point of feeling more present in my own skin, and more possessed of it – that in turn would help me hold better boundaries, and it would be an innately healing process.

I’m aware of an innate irony in writing all of this. Like the ‘naked men’ post of last year, a blog with breasts in it will get a lot of hits. Those will come from people online who were seeking objects of gratification, and who probably didn’t make it past the first paragraph. A breast is so much more than eye candy. A breast is part of a person, and to treat it as a separate object, does no good at all.