Last year, Filipino actress Julia Barretto made the news, not because of COVID-19 or the launch of a new show but because of her not wearing a bra. Her going braless at home sparked multiple reactions, good and bad, on social media. But if there is one thing to take from this is that many Filipino women can relate to her ditching the cups during the pandemic at-home life.
Started by Canadian doctor Mitchell Brown in 2011, No Bra Day, Oct. 13, is a holiday women all over the world observe by freeing themselves from the restraint and discomfort brought by the supportive undergarment. But with many of them doing it every day now, does it still make sense to celebrate it?
As much as many would see this as an anti-fashion initiative, No Bra Day promotes breast cancer awareness, which is also happening in October. Manila Bulletin Health columnist Cheshire Que mentioned a report by an online database providing global cancer statistics, Globocan, stating that the Philippines has recorded 27,613 new cases of breast cancer in 2020. This makes it the third cause of death among the top 10 cancers in the country.
While renowned Filipino dermatologist Vicki Belo supported Julia in going braless at home, even pointing out a few medical benefits such as better blood circulation in the lung and breast area and neck pain prevention, wearing a bra or not doesn’t make much difference when it comes to wellbeing, according to Healthline.
There isn’t much research done about the effects of not wearing a bra. But a 15-year-old study in 2013 by French professor Jean-Denis Rouillon involving 300 women ages 18 to 35 presents that “women who did not wear bras developed more muscle tissue to provide natural support.” Although this is good news, he also advised women who have donned it for decades not to ditch them for good as “they would not benefit from taking off their bras at this juncture.”
Setting those aside, going braless on Oct. 13 is a women’s choice that must be respected. Whether they are doing it for a worthy cause or liberating themselves from “bondage” and aches, the case of strapping on or strapping off is always a personal one, and in many ways empowering. And that alone is worth celebrating.