Yesterday, I was at the Pride Parade soaking up all the love and beauty of each and every one of us. Three young women walked by me and written across their bared chests was, “Free the Nipple.” It made me smile and feel proud that these women were baring their chests.
In the 1960s and 1970s, many women including myself were baring our chests in another way. “No bra for me.” I wore no bra because I believed in naturalness. No bra, no make-up, no razor to shave my armpits or legs. Just the natural me. It was freeing and wonderful to accept my body and not be bounded up by man’s idea of what Miss America should look like.
Many times I would think why can men go out bare-chested and not women? Men were not separated from their naturalness. Performing as a singer with a symphony, I was told to wear a bra. I had to be separated from my naturalness. I was told to make sure my breasts were in control. I had to bound them up so they didn’t move at all. I had to keep them hidden.
As a young girl in the 1970s, being natural seemed right. Especially out in nature. Skinny dipping and laying out in the summer sun. It unleashed positive accolades from my mind to my body. I started to love my body. I loved everything about it. In loving my body, I owned it. That was empowering. I stood differently, I walked differently. I breathed differently.
When I saw those three young women owning their bodies, I just wanted to say, “Yeah! Go be you! Love your bodies. Be proud. Be prideful. No matter what shape, what size, what color, let us all love our bodies.”