The history of the bra begins in the 1800s with it's first crude ancestors. Many women embraced the first bras as the bra embraced them. Chores were easier, less painful and clothing looked more tailored with these first bras. As the bra evolved, it became more like a corset and much more stifling. Remember in he movie Titanic when Rose's mother is tightening her corset... they had a great dialogue about a woman's position in those days; to marry wealthy and help provide for her family. As the corset tightens it becomes a great metaphor for Rose's life in a cage.
In the 40s and 50s women put themselves into very utilitarian bras. Large, many clips and definitely underwires were the rage and what was 'proper'. Many times, these bras gave a 'pointy' look. Hum...
In the 60s and 70s, as women fought for equality with men, their clothing showed the determination the wearer had to be taken seriously. Bra burning was a show of force to others that women were no longer going to fit into stereotypes set by generations before. I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, who never wore a bra until she was well into her 20s and married. She grew up in the 50s and 60s and embraced "hippie-dom" when it hit. I must admit, it does sound freeing!
Alas, I can never go without a bra. That's ok. My figure looks much better with my supportive friend. Bras have really evolved. Even I can get one now that's supportive as well as pretty and feminine. There are special shops I can go to for my size bra. Even my sports bras are better now than when they first came out. The sports bra first got popular during the women's game of the World Cup. The winning women's team, after running, kicking and sweating pulled off their team jerseys to reveal their snug-fitting yet modest sports bras. Women everywhere took a sigh of relief as we saw what to wear during workouts. As a teen I danced ballet, tap and jazz. It was my life then... some class almost every day after school. Sports bras did not exist then. I really wish they would have!
So, as you get dressed this morning or undressed tonight thank your friend the bra for all the support over the years! I know I will.