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Do you remember when you got your bra? I think they called them training bras back in my day. I was 11 years old and really didn’t need a bra—just wanted one. I was playing lots of sports and some other girls were wearing sports bras or training bras. I never understood—and still don’t—exactly what the bra was training. Was it training my breasts, my shoulders or my mind?
I recently read New York Times article “The Playground Set Gets Its Own Bras” about 5-year-old girls wearing bralettes, more as spunky undershirts than serving as supportive bra. The article raised a question about what this early introduction of bras may do to young girls’ own body image. Will she think she needs to have a certain size breast as soon as possible?
There’s a scene in Jeffrey Eugenides’s Pultizer Prize-winning novel Middlesex where the protagonist, Cali, stuffs her bra before sneaking out into the night with her best friend and two older boys. She’s horrified that her breasts haven’t developed yet at age 14. And her story is way more complicated than teen angst, but it’s a societal expectation that tortures her nonetheless.
Conversely, I can remember seeing this girl Christina on the last day of summer before fifth grade. She had “blossomed” and was terrified to go back to school. The other girls and I were in awe. We wanted to blossom! Where did we get the idea that we needed to catch up?
Now that I’m in my thirties, I’ve fully accepted that I will never “catch up” to another woman’s breast size or shape. I reside in the in the same itty-bitty committee, where I was placed in sixth grade by a bullying group of boys. And I’m okay with it—now. If five-year-old girls and their mothers find bralettes to be a fashion choice or expression of individuality, I’m all for that. But my wish for girls growing up today is to enjoy who they are, with no pressure to catch up and blossom. I send them good energy for creativity, intelligence and kindness.
I love the HerRoom Know Your Breasts™ Bra Finder for taking into consideration all that variations of our blossomed breasts. No matter the slope or shape (or shapes), the bra finder recognizes that we each have unique characteristics to our breasts. And there’s a best-fitting bra for each of us.
Do you have any first-bra horror stories? Do you feel pressure to have a certain breast size or shape?
Meghan Barich is a writer, the storyteller at meghanbarich.com and a proud Hoosier. When she’s not crafting the next story, you can find her nose-in-a-book or walking her dog, Moose.