April 11, 2013

Instapundit: "Bras make boobs saggier, study finds."

Posted this evening, but please note that in June 2009, I wrote — on Instapundit:
DO BRAS PREVENT SAGGY BREASTS? “There is, so far as [The Straight Dope] can discover, zero evidence that bras prevent saggy breasts.” I recommend bralessness. At least don’t let fear of drooping breasts stop you.."
I had a corresponding post on Althouse, so there was a comments thread here. The first commenter was Bissage (the dearly missed Bissage):
I’ve always worn briefs instead of boxers, just in case.
Then somebody else said: "For older women, the bra offers one benefit. It holds the sagging organ away from the skin beneath it." And I said: "Go braless so you don't develop a place called 'under your breasts.'"

I also have a September 2005 post on this subject (which is close to my heart).  It started out talking about the old Maidenform bra ads, and I was criticizing the ones that featured a woman staying home with her kids:
What's the business sense of this? If I'm staying home with kids, that bra is coming off! A bra is for going out into the male-dominated world and achieving. As soon as you cross the home threshold, that bra is off. Right, ladies? What is the lag time for you between when you walk through the door and when you take off the bra? Five minutes, tops? Is it the first, second, or third thing you do when you come home?
That brought comments like:
You're kidding, right? No woman with a D-cup or greater --- I think the cutoff is really C, but I'm trying to be conservative --- would make that statement, I am guessing.
And:
Take off bra when you come home? Only if you're lucky (and small) it's UNCOMFORTABLE if you're "generously endowed" to go around without a bra. (...yes this is true for C cups too)
I think this may only be the case if you have become dependent on the bra instead of keeping up the strength of your ligaments. As I said then:
It's less a matter of size than inner structure. I think there is some evidence that wearing a bra all the time decreases your natural support.
And linked to some technical stuff (photos of breasts at the link):
There are lots of studies showing that ligaments and tendons in limbs do atrophy when the limb is immobilized. Bras obviously prevent the the natural slight up-down movement of breasts when we walk, and let shoulders bear the weight of breasts. If breast ligaments behave like limb ligaments, it may be a matter of "use it or lose it".

The only study ever published on the subject of bras and sagging was done in 1991, in Japan. The study suggests that a bra can actually increase breast sagging rather than the opposite. The abstract says (emphasis mine):
'Eleven adult female subjects aged 22-39 years wore a certain brassiere for 3 months while anthropometry and moire fringe photographs on the anterior trunk were taken regularly once a week. After the 3 months, the brassiere was not worn for another 3 months. Then the measurements and photogrammetry were repeated for comparison using superimposed moire configurations. The results are summarized as follows. Regardless of slim or obese trunk, subjects with pendent breasts showed the highest degree of breast form "correction" from wearing the brassiere. In all subjects, after 3 months of brassiere constraint, the underbust circumference was smaller but the chest circumference became enlarged, the distance between the right and left nipples became wider, and the breasts tended to hang down. This change was more marked in obese subjects with pendent breasts. And when this type of subject wore a "well-fitted" brassiere for a long time, her breast form became developed, that is, her breasts hung down more." Ashizawa K, Sugane A, Gunji T Institute of Human Living Sciences, Otsuma Women's University, Tokyo, Japan: Breast Form Changes Resulting From A Certain Brassiere Journal of Hum. Ergol.(Tokyo) 1990 Jun; 19(1):53-62.
The unspoken rules of the society may force you to wear a bra to work or to social occasions, but there's no need to wear one for the purpose of preventing sagging. It just won't work. Remember also that breasts will benefit from bra-free time, so it is good to take the bra off whenever you can.
I hate to think that anyone is doing something that's less comfortable because it's supposed to help when it's doing the opposite. Think about your ligaments, ladies.

ADDED: "Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity. Instead, it languishes with a bra."

68 comments:

edutcher said...

The Blonde, who definitely is larger than life in this regard, would never go without.

Since she spent her life lifting people weighing 300 pounds and better, her muscles are superbly developed (trust me, they give her wide berth a the biker bar) and she looks pretty good still, so she may present the best of both worlds.

I suspect a lot of women use a bra in place of any kind of fitness, so this study may not be reliable.

rcommal said...

After all of this time, I'm still supposed to be either taking a closer look at those breasts or just thinking, "Tits"?

Erika said...

Ha, yeah, no way am I depending on my ligaments, and it would be way too late anyway. C cups and 4 years of nursing = I wear my bra until the moment I climb into bed at night. It's extremely bothersome to me to A) have my nipples rub around on fabric and B) have the underside of my breasts touch my chest.

You'll have to pry my over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder from my cold, dead hands.

This whole thing sounds pretty fishy to me. Haven't you ever seen tribal ladies in National Geographic who did not have the benefit of supportive underclothing? Their breasts look like sausages. It's grotesque. Maybe my breasts will look that way when I am that age, even with wearing sturdy bras from the age of 14 on, but no one will know because I will still be piling them into a nice supportive bra anyway.

rcommal said...

Dang. Was it supposed to be as simple as that?

Darleen said...

There are other useful bras

http://youtu.be/NOiaSy643B4

rcommal said...

.

rcommal said...

?

Broomhandle said...

Well, it's nice to have a post where the commentariat won't split along ideological lines.

Inga said...

Ahhhhhh, I knew I was on the right track. The bra goes off the minute I'm home and staying put, if I'm in and out it stays on.

Inga said...

I should say comes off.

Palladian said...

After all of this time, I'm still supposed to be either taking a closer look at those breasts or just thinking, "Tits"?

Lol.

edutcher said...

rcommal said...

After all of this time, I'm still supposed to be either taking a closer look at those breasts or just thinking, "Tits"?

Both. Althouse may denounce you as a politically-incorrect Libertarian with an inhumanity vibe, but, if you don't, you risk not only your guy card, but tripping Shout's gaydar.

Erika said...

This whole thing sounds pretty fishy to me. Haven't you ever seen tribal ladies in National Geographic who did not have the benefit of supportive underclothing? Their breasts look like sausages.

I stand ready to be corrected, but I do believe many of those women walk around with the kid hanging off them.

At least that's the impression I got of Hindu women from a book on the Sepoy Mutiny and a couple of Rubens paintings.

ndspinelli said...

What about man boobs? Does the "mansierre" make them more saggy also?

Lipperman said...

Bissage puts the crack up my ass:

"To answer your question, I must begin by explaining that it is now only Mrs. Bissage to whom I give every inch of my love. When I am banging her doggy-style -- with my rock hard boner -- oftentimes things get so loud that I can hardly hear myself think, what with her constantly barking orders for me to serve it up harder, faster and deeper. I accommodate her demands, of course. Providing for her total happinesss requires only a mere fraction of my astonishing talent. I hope that doesn’t sound immodest because it is simply true".

Oh fuck, that is precious. Hours of fun times ahead reading that old blog!
Thanks for linking to it, Althouse!

chickelit said...

Broomhandle said...Well, it's nice to have a post where the commentariat won't split along ideological lines.

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall unto his wife's cleavage become one flesh."
Genesis 2:24

We could dispute that translation.

madAsHell said...

uummmmm....Gravity wins!

yeah....If you believe this, then you failed physics.

Lem said...

Ann Althouse said...
Sorry to screw up the link. Here. Again, it's "not safe for work."
9/28/05, 12:51 PM

Conclusion

To prevent or lessen the eventual sagging that will come with age, let breasts be free of bras when you can so that the ligaments inside them can be "in use"; however protect the breasts from bouncing too much ...


Something else to think about during an earthquake.

Nichevo said...

Dear Ann, pics or it didn't happen. Anyway, pics please. More seriously, this seems to show the effects are short term/reversible, anyway.

wyo sis said...

Home for the day for good.
Bra off.

Lem said...

(which is close to my heart).

Hide the pun in plain sight.

William said...

Lenny Bruce had a line about a woman wearing a dress that you could see through but you really wished you couldn't.

bpm4532 said...

If YOU had someone carry you around all day instead of freely exercising your own muscles, you might atrophy and lose a bit of tone, too.

SOJO said...

It depends on the boobs. Some people have well-anchored boobs, other people have boobs that go from torpedo tits at 13 to hanging when they are 22. Since people stopped having 10-15 kids, you don't see granny knee boobs anymore, but you do see fake boobs everywhere.


chickelit said...

It depends on the boobs.

All boobs actively depend. There's nothing passive about them. They depend in active voices, lifting men's spirits and separating women from girls.

Lem said...

The day women land on Mars the droopy breast scourge will be over.

♫ We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
We shall overcome someday ♫

chickelit said...

The day women land on Mars the droopy breast scourge will be over.

The day men land on Venus, the sex wars will be over.

chickelit said...

Lem: Sí se pudenda

Lem said...

ha!

Lem said...

The day men land on Venus, the sex wars will be over.
Halleluiah!

From your lips... wait.

chickelit said...

Dalle tue labbra... aspetta!

shirley elizabeth said...

Forget bras, pregnancy and nursing destroy beautiful boobs. What I hear from mothers older than I is you can never get the perk back. One of the things they don't warn you about before kids. That and after pains.

Kirk Parker said...

Erika,

" Their breasts look like sausages."

Some of the ladies we encountered in South Sudan didn't look like sausages, they looked like sausage skins without any stuffing! I'm guessing these were the same ladies who in their younger days literally threw the boob over their shoulder to the nursing babe carried on their back (yes honest to goodness we really really really did see this more than once.)


rcommal,

I think ! is what you're looking for next.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

If memory does serve, you well it does that indeed.

I say.

And if I ever say "just sayin'" that means I am more smart then having conceivced off brightnessesss under thatwhich mine: condone.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxdMqiKI08g

Moose said...

Hmm. Might be a good time for this one:

How they hangin' Professor?

edutcher said...

shirley elizabeth said...

Forget bras, pregnancy and nursing destroy beautiful boobs. What I hear from mothers older than I is you can never get the perk back. One of the things they don't warn you about before kids.

Another old wives' tale, according to another study. Supposedly, the two are unrelated.

I'm guessing a lot has to to with the original firmness and elasticity of the flesh. Like good bones and good skin, it's likely all in the genes.

C Stanley said...

I've often wondered about this but even when I was young and not saggy, it was terribly uncomfortable to go without a bra. I never understood the feminist aversion. If anything, in terms of appearance, keeping the headlights off was the main function other than support when I was young.

Genetics and pregnancy/ lactation history have got to be major factors. As Erika mentioned, the ladies of Nat Geo are hardly perky. And even without that evidence, it's intuitive that the same hormones that relax ligaments during pregnancy would have that effect on the support structure of the breast, right at the time of increased gravitational pull on the enlarged breast.

C'est la vie. It's a bit sad to leave part of youth behind but a small price for bringing new life to the world and giving nourishment.

pm317 said...

Time to burn those bras, republican style, eh?

C Stanley said...

Nah, pm317...Republicans are anti-science, remember?

Roger J. said...

Ahhh--a great story with great commentary. Memphis is moving into the summer season where for dirty old men like me, our ship has come in. Midriffs, muffins, and flip flops accentuated by braless ladies. Life is good.

rhhardin said...

Voting democrat makes your breasts sag. You wind up with the tennis ball in athletic sock look.

Spread the news.

Broomhandle said...

OK, so I was wrong.

shirley elizabeth said...

Edutcher, my body post two kids is stretch mark free (is that a sign of nice "elasticity"?) yet I hold to my former statement.

Roger J. said...

Ms Shirley--congrats on no stretch marks, but I have always thought that a woman isn't a woman without them :)

Fritz said...

We must ban bras, if it only saves one boob from sagging.

Bryan Reston said...

Is it possible that women with larger breasts are more likely to wear bras? Heavier breasts will pull more on the ligaments. The causation could be the size rather than the bra.

Rusty said...

See. This is what science is all about.
Although I'd like to get some hands on experience.

I Callahan said...

DO BRAS PREVENT SAGGY BREASTS?

I would think that question axiomatic.

qqcifer said...

has Smoove B ever written about this

http://homepages.theonion.com/PersonalPages/sB/

qqcifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
qqcifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

Enjoying the sagacious reasoning.

Steve Koch said...

"I also have a September 2005 post on this subject (which is close to my heart)."

Haha.

LB-Philadelphia PA said...

Even the modestly endowed can sag over time, even after decades of bralessness. I bear witness to this, and I am older than you are. Sports bras are now the only thing standing between me and some nasty fungus infections.

LB-Philadelphia PA said...

And, p.s., I remember the earlier post and believe I am the "somebody" you refer to.

Roger J. said...

Next up on Althouse: Meade posts on the efficacy of jock straps.

Its non-stop fun on Althouse.

chickelit said...

We could shift topics to jowls and earlobes.

Tatter said...

Wearing bras makes you sag, in the same manner buying a larger size of clothing makes you fat. It alleviates the more painful symptoms of a problem (specifically, the problem of having breasts larger than your underlying muscles can support, though I suspect all those who would start screaming "MY BREASTS ARE NOT A 'PROBLEM!'" have probably gone apoplectic with my first sentence anyway) without taking action to correct it, though in all fairness correcting sag and/or back pain is much more difficult than correcting obesity (which itself is much harder than "just put down the fork"), and past a certain age will unavoidably require surgery.

Harriet said...

SO unscientific not to compare post-nursing vs. not.

I nursed 3. Talk about an outrageously shocking difference. Ruined for life.

For example, I didn't used to be able to make my you-know-what's touch together. Yeah.

Roger J. said...

This has been an absolutely fascinating post with altogether too much information. Me? there is no such thing as ugly breasts--I love them all.

Roger J. said...

Harriet: do they still make the Mark Eden bust developer? perhaps you should try that :)

TJIC said...

> I linked to some technical stuff (photos of breasts)

I don't normally read footnotes, BUT...

C Stanley said...

LOL Roger, fortunately many of our husbands feel the same way. Mine seems to appreciate the working models as well as he did the showroom versions, and if he secretly pines for those he (wisely and compassionately) keeps it to himself.

Crunchy Frog said...

What's this "male-dominated society" feminist bullshit? If men had their way, women would not only go braless, but they'd be topless as well.

Astro said...

My late wife once told me she was in D size bras by the time she was 15. She never spent a day of her adult life when there wasn't an 'under there'. After she gave birth she needed DD sized bras. The bra came off at bedtime; went on first thing in the morning. It was hot and sweaty under there; the bra was a necessity.

You've heard of the pencil test? In her case, a baseball bat.

And yeah, the FLBP tag on 'The Chive' is accurate.

Unknown said...

This whole post by the Professor demonstrates the truth of the proposition: Once a hippie chick, always a hippie chick.

HA said...

According to this article, the researchers used a slide rule to measure the subjects' breasts. This is an obvious methodological flaw. Not only have slide rules been obsolete since Helen Reddy's last number one hit, they are primarily used for calculations rather than measurements. Any serious student of breast science knows by now that the only proper tool to measure breasts by is an erect penis.

shayanne payen said...

would it be better to wear a sports bra or does the same thing apply?