French Professor Rethinks the Bra

13 Apr

Harvey Morris of The International Herald Tribune wrote a blog post Thursday about a study that may reveal medical evidence that the bra does not provide veritable health benefits. The post–France Debates the Merits of the Bra–names Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon of the University of Besançon as the man behind the research. So far, Rouillon has studied 330 women–ages 18-35–and concludes breasts gain no benefit from a bra “medically, physiologically and anatomically.”

Morris reports that the French press and the social media community have been poking fun at Rouillon’s research (it takes 15 years to examine 300 young women?). Moreover, Rouillon’s claims may revive the touchy “social dimension” of the bra–what will the feminist response be to this research?

Victoria's Secret Store 9, 722 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022, USA - Dec 2012

How would Victoria’s Secret respond to a claim that denounces the bra as an unnecessary garment?

Je ne sais pas. I don’t know what to make of this study. I believe there are several pitfalls to this research. I don’t think every woman can go bra-less–every body is different.

Rouillon himself admitted his research is far from conclusive and final in an article from The Local website:

“These are preliminary results,” Dr. Rouillon said. “The small sample of 320 young women is not representative of the entire population – that would require something like 300,000 subjects.”

Ultimately, however, he feels his work is not complete, since the findings are not definitive.

“We will simply have to recruit a larger sample of the female population, and conduct further research,” Rouillon added.

Until reliable research shows that wearing a bra is a danger to women’s health, I know I’ll keep wearing my soutien-gorge.

If you want to learn more about the history of the bra, I found this YouTube video about its origins and how its changed from the 1920s to present:


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