Draft cards yes, bras no

HuffPo buries the still-smoldering myth about feminists and their undergarments once and for all. Again.

By Lynn Harris

Published April 2, 2008 3:05PM (EDT)

Just out of time for Women's History Month (March), Claudine Zap of the Huffington Post takes us back to 1968, Atlantic City, the Miss America Pageant.

"Women this year are mad ... This is back when the women's movement is called women's liberation and women are not being taken seriously. This is before Ms. magazine. And, this is way, way before Victoria's Secret. Women's underthings used to be ridiculously uncomfortable ... So when feminism came along and suggested going au natural over being in pain to achieve the perfect hourglass figure, it was a pretty strong argument. And what better place to state your distaste for sexist undergarments than the Miss. America. Beauty. Pageant.

"This protest happens right after the 1968 Democratic Convention. The images of the absolute chaos in Chicago during that time was witnessed on television and shown over and over in classroom documentaries and is basically seared into our understanding of that time. "So it wasn't completely surprising that the actual draft card burnings and supposed bra burnings merged into one big memory of the '60s. "Back on the sidewalk outside Atlantic City Hall, hundreds of women filled a trash can with girdles, high-heeled shoes, false eyelashes, makeup and bras.

"And in fairness to the myth, the desire to light a fire was there, but there was just one problem. No one could get permission to do it. Since the boardwalk was wooden, the fire would be unsafe. So, these radical women were left with a trash can full of the cast-aways of womanhood. But instead of a fiery protest, it was just a big trash can full of junk ...

"Let's be clear here. These women in 1968 did burn. They burned with the desire for change, for equal rights, for comfort, for being free from the pressure of making their bodies mold to ridiculous looks that had nothing to do with an actual woman's body. But they did not burn bras."


Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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