Faceoff: Bras Versus Bikinis

by July 27, 2012
filed under Activism

We’ve come a long way from these swim suits.

Summer is the time for going to the beach and having fun in the sun and the sand. All across the beach, you’ll see women decked out in tankinis and bikinis – but what you won’t see are bras. Society has long told women that it’s in appropriate to wear a bra in the same fashion that they do a bikini top. But why? Bras often offer more support and coverage than bikini tops do. So why is that you don’t see women strolling down the boardwalk in denim shorts and a bra?

Bras are generally associated with a state of undress and sensuality. They’re worn under clothing and are generally hidden so it seems taboo when they’re seen. Bikini tops, on the other hand, are made for swimming and suntanning and are therefore viewed as acceptable to wear in public. I think that this is a fault of our society. Something that I, as part of the 20-something generation, struggle with is the conservativeness of the generation before me and how that differs from what my generation believes is appropriate. Our society is constantly evolving, but I think that with the majority of our citizens residing in the baby boomer generation, it’s difficult for society to truly evolve. What I deem appropriate versus what my parents deem appropriate is similar in some cases, but vastly different in others. I think that to change what is acceptable or unacceptable in society, we must first change the demographic of our citizenship. Many baby boomers are stuck in the past. There are those that are open to the changes of the young generation, but there are also those that are set in their ways and refuse to accept anything otherwise. Another issue that prevents change in the beliefs of society is that there are so many closed-minded people in the world. It is difficult to introduce change when there are so many people that are not open to it, whether that’s because of gender, religion, personal opinion or just pure stubbornness.

Matters that affect women, like the bra versus the bikini top, are things that I feel strongly about. As a woman, trying to find where I fit into the world is difficult when so many people are placing expectations and limitations on me, especially if I don’t believe in them. I believe that women should be able to wear what they want on the beach, whether that’s a bikini top or a bra. This idea that society has placed upon us that bras are taboo is ludicrous. Bras have gone from something purely functional to something of a required accessory. Society tells us that it’s inappropriate not to wear a bra, but all of a sudden it’s inappropriate to wear one when people can see it. We all know that women wear bras. I’m wearing one right now and, chances are, so are you. So what the hell is the big deal about wearing a bra in place of a bikini top? With more support and more coverage, I feel more comfortable in a bra than two fabric triangles any day. With a bra, I don’t have to worry about any strings coming untied or giving everyone a show if I move too fast.

What does please me, though, is that swimsuit designers are now designing bikini tops to look and function more like bras. They’re putting in underwire, giving them cups instead of flimsy triangular pieces of material and adding clasps instead of strings. There is finally a bikini top that I can feel semi-comfortable wearing. Despite that, I would still feel more comfortable in my bra and what’s important is feeling comfortable in whatever you’re in. When you’re comfortable, you can be who you are and can show off your confidence because confidence is what’s sexy, not what you’re wearing.

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