Breast harnesses are in no way erotic

ROSEMARY MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2013
Bra
REUTERS
DOLLED UP: They make bras pretty as something of a consolation prize for having to wear them all your life.

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Rosemary McLeod

Making out the Dotcom circus Mastering behaviour in the neo-feminist age Hacking awful but plastic bananas worse Why try to spin it when a wobbly does the trick Nobody looks saintly in politics' sick soap opera Sutch paranoia way back then Fighting the combat zones at home Craziness an uncomfortable rationale in latest brutality Cunliffe's apology patting himself on the back Wallowing in war memories

OPINION: I have always thought David Bain's instruction to bury his slain sister in her new bra was one of the weirder minor details associated with that weird case.

She had been pleased with that recent purchase, he reportedly said, though to go from that to burying her in it was a bit of a leap: Who was she going to impress?

Yet men and their attitudes to bras are baffling at the best of times, and maybe other men make similar requests for their dead women. I cannot imagine a woman doing it, though.

We wear bras because their discomfort is less than not wearing them and because we do not want to end up sagging if we can help it, the sag being currently not in vogue. 

They make bras pretty as a consolation prize for having to buy them all your life and because you may be showing them off to an appreciative audience, usually of one. They make them expensive so you can kid yourself that they are a treat. 

A bra is a harness and I cannot be the only woman who felt instantly depressed at being fitted into my first one, practical white cotton without an inch of give in it.

I immediately understood that a degree of freedom was lost to me forever, and I would never be comfortable again in my own skin.

Life as a woman involves caring about bra straps showing, about the clumps of fat that bras force together on your back and dealing with bra under-wires pinging out of place. There is no glamour in that. 

Men who perve over women in bras should be forced to wear them themselves and master the trick of fastening them behind their backs, a knack it took years of my irritated adult life to master. 

Then they would understand a little of what it means to have to package all that flesh every day. 

The closest they ever get to the experience is jock straps, a trivial annoyance.

I think of bras as being a bit like the other manipulations of female appearance that men - and customs -  have insisted on, like the tiny slippers Chinese women once wore on their bound feet, or the elongated necks of some tribeswomen.  Thankfully we are better off: We can remove our harnesses at bedtime.

There is currently an issue with bras in London, where a group of men called the Muslim Patrol are energised about posters at bus stops advertising a brand of push-up bras.

These would-be enforcers of Islamic  law  - who should surely take themselves off to countries that live by it instead of bothering free societies - call the ads ''disgusting public pornography''.

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That is a concession that they find the images arousing, surely, since that is what porn is intended to do. And I feel sorry for them if that is the case, because porn, by their definition, would be all around them, and bra ads, however much the models pout fetchingly, would be the least offensive form of it. The poor beggars must be constantly uncomfortable.

If porn achieves its aim simply by exposing flesh, these men had best avoid beaches in warm weather, because they will only get upset. And they should shield themselves from fashion, which currently dictates that young women wear short shorts, below which the cheeks of their bottoms quiver as they toddle down the street.

I would understand taking exception to that, and it may indeed be the kind of look alluded to in one of the men's YouTube posting, in which they describe ordinary women going about their business as ''like complete naked animals''. They must be alluding to jellyfish.

Israeli premier Golda Meir famously said that rather than imposing a suggested curfew on women, who were being sexually attacked, Israelis should impose a curfew on men. And for men who are offended by women feeling free to dress how they like, that is the glaringly obvious solution. 

You can always watch telly indoors, and if you get offended, switch channels.

- The Dominion Post

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