No Bra Day was initiated in 2011 by plastic surgeon Dr Mitchell Brown, to promote breast cancer awareness. It is celebrated every year on the 13th of October. Wearers are encouraged to go braless on this day, to free themselves from a constrictive garment, and to act as a reminder of the importance of breast cancer screening in the fight against breast cancer. Most types of breast cancer can be treated if detected early.

No Bra Day is a controversial event in the eyes of some. Lijia Zhang – a Chinese journalist and also one of the founding members of China’s first feminist group ‘East Meets West’, explained that before the invention of bras, Chinese women were forced to wear an old-fashioned girdle, known as a ‘shu xiong’, mainly for flattening the breasts. She added how women should have the freedom to decide or choose when and where to wear a bra – and whether to wear one at all.

Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, feminists activists urged women to stop wearing bras as a manifesto of freedom and power. Then came the “Free the Nipple” movement in the 2010s, addressing the controversy of public opinions between men and women appearing topless in public.

Bras may help boost one’s self-esteem. Some may feel good and secure wearing bras while others may feel that it is uncomfortable and constricting. It doesn’t matter if you view this day as good, bad, or repulsive,  be in control and take charge of your health by scheduling an appointment for a mammogram. Encourage your friends and families to do the same!