Summer is just around the corner, perhaps after the forecasted snow on Sunday, at least that’s what they tell me. I’m actually super excited to get back to my favorite running outfit which is a running skirt and just a bra. There are lots of reasons that’s my favorite outfit and it took me while to get there. We will get into that here shortly but guess what none of those reasons have ANYTHING to do with you looking at me! Not my partner, not my mom, not someone in a passing car and not for anyone’s attention. I also don’t own anyone an explanation. I’m also not going to cover up for any of those people either. It doesn’t matter to me what you think about my choice either. And spoiler alert I’m going to keep doing it without apologizing for it because I don’t need to and neither do you! You might get that I’m a little fired up about this one and that’s because I am. Guess what in Canada it’s legal for me to run down the street topless in any underpants of my choice if I want to and sometimes it’s hot enough that that starts to seem like a reasonable choice. No matter what you look like, who you are, what gender you are, your weight, cup size or what people think if you want to wear just a bra on top I say go for it. If it’s legal to wear something in public then it’s your right and your decision to make, full stop. This stance took me a long, long time to get to and you know what I was wrong before I got here!
Some people are going to say that my sports bra invites some of the behavior I’m going to complain a bit about or makes me a certain type of woman but they are wrong too. You might think that this is going to be an ‘all bodies are beautiful’ body positivity post but it’s not. It’s more along the lines of why do you think any one owes an explanation of their outfit to you post. Mixed with a dose of your behaviors and opinions are all on you. So if you’ve never taken off you shirt even though you wanted to or thought ‘she’s asking for attention’ then read on because this post is for both of you!
I was judgmental and I was wrong
This isn’t going to be well received by some people in my life but I think I was raised to be a little judgmental of what people chose to wear. I might even still do it a little from time to time before I catch myself. It came from living in a small gossip filled town, a modest yet progressive religious education and there were more than a few comments about what a lady should wear at home. I internalized that along the way and hanging out in just a bra was reserved for the beach. It’s kind of funny because most of the other stuff my upbringing said a lady shouldn’t do didn’t stick at all. Lets not get into all of it (ever) but… suffice to say if it seemed like fun, wasn’t hurting anyone and I really wanted to do it, I did along the way. But when I would see someone exercising in just a bra I did think some judgmental things for a time. Not so much things like ‘she’s asking for it,” “that’s all about attention” or “what a slut” but more like “That’s a lot of skin for a Wednesday morning.” I was immature and wrong though but we’ll get into that in the second half.
How it came to be and now that we’re here
There were lots of times I was running, biking or working that I just wanted to take my top off. Eventually I started expressing that feeling too. After complaining again, probably loudly, on a very hot day at work my stepson who was 22 at the time said something like “F&$% Allison, just take off your top then it’s not like I haven’t seen boobs before my girlfriend is pregnant!” Which was to be fair a pretty good point. So I did and I never looked back!
Now I certainly workout in just my sports bra if that’s what the conditions call for and I wear them at work around customer’s homes too. After all in Canada the law says if men can be totally topless in any given setting so can women. If the boys are running around in just their shorts just a bra is a lot more than I’m legally obliged to wear. I’ve not wanted to go totally topless in public during daylight hours but if I did that’s my choice too. Even at multimillion dollar homes, even with very religious owners if you have an issue with that well than that’s a you problem not a me problem.
Why it’s the best
So many reasons really, it makes a mid workday swim possible, the tan lines are better and really it’s just so much cooler. Feeling the breeze on the small of your back and tummy is a game changer for hot weather. Those are areas you tend to accumulate sweat and not having puddles rocks. Ladies if you’ve wondered just how much better it is you’re underestimating it! Once you go about in just a bra you’ll also quickly realize that it’s no big deal. Those are all the reasons I’m fine with my life choice thankyouverymuch! And 99.9% of the people out there have literally no reaction to it. But as summer is coming again I think it’s time to talk about me and my sports bra.
It’s not for you
Guess what my bra, my short shorts and my midriff isn’t at all, even for one moment about you! I’m not wearing whatever I am in any moment, for even a second with you in mind. Certainly not for a random stranger and not even my husband. It doesn’t matter to me if you want me to cover up I’m comfortable with my choice both figuratively and literally! If you’re judging me for showing ‘too much skin’ I’ll never know but no one is forcing you to look.
Which brings me to my next point why would you ever think it did have anything to do with you? When I checked the weather, picked an outfit and wore it running, potentially hours ago now, I can assure you that your potential presence on this particular road didn’t factor in. The weight of the fabric, color, level of support and design factored in to my decision to wear it today but you, you didn’t even cross my mind! So if you wouldn’t holler like that at a man you saw exercising today, don’t holler at me. Certainly don’t honk and swerve toward me, I already know you have poor judgement. If you act this way, please stop. After you stop think about the level of narcissism you are displaying about how my bra relates to you. Treat me exactly as if I was wearing a sweater. If you must display your interest wave, that’s it.
I’m lucky as I understand it that I don’t have as rough a time as many. Lots of ladies in online running groups deal with this on every single run. Side note some of them are carrying (no really sports bra holsters are actually a thing) so consider yourself warned. I get offers from men to perform certain sexual acts for them a couple of times a year, yelled at from passing cars about three times a year and honked at more often than that. I have even been followed for a short time or had people pull up in front of me for close range interactions too. Looks of obvious judgement and stares from men and women though are probably the most common. Inevitably these interactions happen more often the less I’m wearing. People of both genders and every age can be guilty of this. Many women deal with this sort of thing on more runs than not. Whether it happens to a female runner once a year or once in a lifetime it’s WAY TOO MUCH in 2020 and it has been for a long, long time. That is totally unacceptable! Frankly it’s appalling that you think my bra or anyone else’s has anything to do with you!
None of that is acceptable behavior on your part. Sure look if you want, I’d prefer if you didn’t but past that a lot of your behavior taken to an extreme is probably illegal. Nothing about my outfit or hers is an invitation for you to harass women and that’s what it is. If you grab at me, in Canada, that’s sexual assault! Yes that is the same charge they use for rape.
My sports bra doesn’t ‘say’ anything to anyone
All my sports bra says is I’m exercising and it’s warm out, that’s it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a full coverage bra or small and strappy. It doesn’t matter if it’s covering A cups or double D’s. It also doesn’t matter what body type that bra is on either! My bra might mean something to me but I can assure you it’s not saying any of these things to you!
- I’m not “asking for it” or anything else from you
- I don’t want your attention or any one else’s
- I’m not looking to turn anyone on or off
- My bra doesn’t mean I deserve to be cat called, ogled or followed
- I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone
- It isn’t trying to intimidate you if you want to wear a shirt
- This actually is a family friendly outfit, someone in your family had boobs too
- Nipples happen, you got a set, get over it!
- It doesn’t mean I’m showing off or full of myself
Treating a woman differently based on what outfit she chooses to wear is despicable behavior that is never okay whether it’s a sports bra at the gym or a mini skirt at the club. Shouting slurs, intimidating her or assaulting her because you think a piece of fabric means she’s asking for it is actually criminal! All it does is show how arrogant and pompous you actually are regardless of your gender or age. No outfit someone chooses to wear is an invitation for you to act a certain sort of way. Just like it would make you uncomfortable if you were forced to strip down to nothing to please me the implication that I should cover up to appease you is equally upsetting. This exact concept of equality is something women have been fighting for at with events like take back the night rallies for over 50 years now and its well past time that we get it!
Whether seeing a woman workout in ‘just’ a bra is common or rare for you I can promise it has no message to you whatsoever. If a person wants to workout in a bra or topless at home or in public and they are allowed to then they get to, end of story. Do you workout in ‘just’ a bra or topless? Do you find that others treat you differently because of it? Leave it and your thoughts in the comments below!