While the health impacts of COVID-19 are still unfolding, the cultural impacts of the pandemic are already underway. And the most visible change is the liberation of the breasts, along with the imprisonment of the face.
For any readers who do not know about the health hazards that breasts face these days, you should know one of the biggest hazards is wearing tight bras. Since the invention of bras, there have been doctors warning about these tight garments and their link to breast disease, including breast cancer.
For example, Dr. John Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, wrote in the article “Susceptibility to Cancer” in the 1931 Annals of Surgery, that “Cancer of the breast occurs largely among civilized women. In those countries where breasts are allowed to be exposed, that is, are not compressed or irritated by clothing, it is rare.” A bra patent in 1950 stated, “Even in the proper breast size, most brassieres envelop or bind the breast in such a fashion that normal circulation and freedom of movement is constricted. Many cases of breast cancer have been attributed to such breast constriction as caused by improperly fitted brassieres.” (Taken from Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, Second Edition, (2018) Square One Publishers, NY.)
The fact is bra-free women have about the same risk of breast cancer as men, while the tighter and longer the bra is worn daily, the greater the risk of breast cancer, with 24/7 bra users having over 100 times higher risk when compared to a bra-free woman.
For a century, bras have been causing discomfort, disease and death. But cultural standards and financial interests often trump commonsense and the instinct for self-preservation, as the bra industry continually pushed-up their bottom line. Surviving in our culture as a woman demanded wearing a bra, at least to work, even if it killed you.
In the meantime, a powerful and rich breast cancer detection and treatment industry has grown, offering pink ribbons, fun fundraising marches and bra-art competitions, frequent radiation of the breasts with mammograms to detect tumors once they appear, “preventative” surgery of removing the breasts before they get cancer, more radiation to kill tumors, chemotherapy, and an endless promise to find a cure, while insisting there is nothing to the bra-cancer link, which is the true hope for prevention.
Even the bra industry admits that most women wear bras which are too tight, and this makes worse the constriction caused by these breast-shape-altering garments. When pressure is applied to the breasts by the bra to change their shape, it results in reduced circulation in the breasts, and resulting disease. Red marks and indentations in the skin left by bras is a sign of constriction and lymph-stasis, a condition that can lead to breast pain, cysts, and cancer. To read how bras can cause cancer, see my article, How Bras Cause Lymph Stasis and Breast Cancer.
But the unprecedented lockdown created novel cultural conditions. Living and working from home is a different reality than having to go to work. While many bra-using women can’t wait to get home from work to take off their uncomfortable bra, for women working at home there is no real excuse for having to be uncomfortable in a bra all day. And some women have ditched the bra altogether.
To see this cultural shift, and the positive take on this new trend, simply do an Internet search of the terms, “Braless” and “Bra-free”. It’s the new fashion trend. Comfort is in, constriction is out.
Years of sales propaganda that created the bra industry and breast obsession that feeds that industry are being challenged by the new desire for comfort. That is a great outcome of the pandemic. Women are starting to consider their comfort, and are asking whether they need to wear bras in the first place.
Interestingly, articles about the new bra-free trend discuss the feeling of freedom and improved health from not wearing bras. But the link between bras and breast cancer is still censored. Despite dozens of studies internationally which show a bra-cancer link, the cancer industry has been resisting this research and issue, since it challenges their current approach which ignores bras. It’s as embarrassing as ignoring smoking when researching lung cancer, which, of course, the cancer industry did in the 1950’s, when doctors promoted smoking.
This reveals a truth about public health policy. As the pandemic has shown, public policy is political. Advice to wear masks or not, for example, has changed throughout the pandemic. Information about whether the virus is airborne or not has changed. The benefits of certain treatments has been controversial, too. And the push for a vaccine is rife with disinformation and distrust. While health experts try to consider the “facts” when coming up with guidance for public health policy, we have seen how facts can be reinterpreted, ignored, or invented to achieve a given public policy goal. For another example, see my article, Beef Over Red Meat Advice Reveals Medical Corruption.
It should also be noted that bras cause more than breast cancer. We are conducting an ongoing International Bra-Free Study, with participants from over 36 countries, and the preliminary results of the study are astounding. Bras can harm the entire body, affecting body temperature, breathing, digestion, menstruation, melatonin levels, and more.
Were it not for the lockdown, women would still be suffering due to bras. Now, they are freer than ever before to liberate their breasts from the bounds of bras.
But there has been a trade-off. Women were freed of the necessity of wearing a bra. But we all are now forced to wear a mask.
Masks have now been mandated in most places, changing the face of all interactions in our culture. Now, instead of women rushing home to rip off their bras, everyone is rushing home to rip off their masks.
I must give a disclaimer here. I hate masks. I can’t comfortably breathe when wearing one. And I feel very uncomfortable trying to communicate with people in masks.
Communication is difficult enough when you can look a person in the face and talk. But when you can’t see their lips or nose, you lose the ability to “read” important information. I don’t know how people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing deal with not being able to lip read those in masks. Maybe they just stop communicating.
And you don’t have to be deaf to not talk with masked people. There is something socially rejecting about being in masks. Everyone is treated as a potential vector of disease. If you wanted a way to disintegrate a society, then put everyone in masks.
Of course, we who have been raised and have lived in a culture where you could see someone’s full face find masks more difficult to accept than a child being raised in our new pandemic culture. For such children, being masked will become the norm. They will grow up feeling naked without a mask. And people will be shamed if they go out in public without covering their face in a mask, just as women have felt shamed about their breasts and being in public without a bra.
We are exchanging face shame for breast shame. Nobody will care if your breasts are not in a culturally-defined shape, so long as your face is covered.
You may think that the mask mandate is temporary. It will not be, in my opinion. The reason for masks is to prevent infectious disease. While the current focus is on COVID-19, we are continually facing an annual influenza season. And public officials are warning about future pandemics. Why wear a mask now, and then expose yourself to infectious disease once COVID-19 is under control? And will it ever be under control?
To drive home their point of wearing masks, public officials have created a germ-phobia that is conditioning children into believing that they can kill someone if they don’t wear a mask, or be killed by someone who is brazen enough to be bare-faced in public.
Of course, given the high demand for masks is creating a huge mask market. Billions of people will be masked. Landfills will be filled with discarded masks.
This brings up the issue of mask disposal. If masks are supposed to catch virus particles and other pathogens emanating from the noses and mouths of people, then shouldn’t we consider these masks to be biohazards? If someone is infectious, so is their mask. Should masks be treated as biohazard waste?
Masks will add to the environmental problem of waste management, as face masks, which are really “face-diapers”, are thrown on the sides of roads, negatively impacting wildlife, and into landfills with soiled baby diapers and adult diapers.
Of course, masks will create their own health problems. Some people wear masks tightly, which digs into the skin behind the ears and around the mouth. Some dentists are warning of “mask mouth”, with associated bad breath and tooth decay. Not everyone changes a mask as frequently as needed, breathing into the same mask for days. Touching the face to repeatedly reposition the mask increases the likelihood of touching your face with dirty hands.
Naturally, the burgeoning mask market will make masks fashionable. The mask is a new billboard for your face, allowing slogans and a special type of facial branding. This gives new meaning to the expression, “Read my lips”.
This mask trend can also have impacts on the cosmetic industry. On the one hand, women would need less lipstick if their mouths are covered. On the other hand, when they take off their masks their faces will be even more noticed, so they may have lipstick on for those time when they unmask. Eye make-up may see some changes, too, as the eyes become the most expressive part of the face. Eyebrows and foreheads will also get more attention, so expect some plastic surgeons to start pushing for eyebrow lifts and forehead botox.
Dentistry may also be affected. Why would people pay for a million-dollar smile when you can’t see their mouths? Cosmetic dentists are probably grinding their teeth with worry.
Masks have also added to the difficulty of people finding friends and a mate. Masks put the kibosh on public flirtation, assuming anyone still had the guts to try striking up a conversation with a stranger these days. Nowadays, when you say someone is “hot”, it will be assumed they have a fever and have COVID-19.
Children will accept these changes with ease. They have not had years of seeing other people’s smiles and frowns. Infants will need to develop their ability to identify facial expressions by looking at computer screens and images of people, not by looking at people in the real world. Maybe they will notice greater nuance of emotion in the eyes and forehead. Most likely they will be afraid of people, since we are all potential agents of disease and death.
At least women will be free to have comfortable and healthy breasts. Less breast cancer and other breast diseases, but more mental illness, alienation, and face acne from masks.
Here’s a suggestion. Instead of throwing your old bra into the landfill, cut it in half and use it to make two masks. You’ll help save the environment from all the new face diapers.