It's not what you think.
Bra burnings are a myth, by the way. The image of the militant feminist ripping off her bra and setting it on fire to symbolize throwing off the chains patriarchy and oppression is powerful and pervasive in our culture, but the tactic was never actually used by second wave feminists in the 1970s. The myth that feminists burned their bras at protests and demonstrations was started at a 1968 protest at the Miss America pageant, where a small group of women picketed outside the pageant and threw things like make-up, high heels, girdles and bras into a trash can.
|A tradition is born!|
|Some traditions are overrated.|
When I do laundry, I never dry my bras in the dryer. I re-shape the wet bra cups on my knees and put the freshly cleaned and molded garments on this plastic drying rack that I prop up on the stove. The heat from the pilot light dries the bras very quickly and leaves them feeling crisp and warm against my skin. Few pleasures equal this.
But two days before Christmas, I was putting the freshly washed sheets on my mattress and suddenly heard a bubbling noise, like my electric kettle had come to a boil. But it wasn't yet time for tea. I turned around and poked my head out of my bedroom door, and saw that all the bras were aflame! My first thought was my fire extinguisher, but it was hidden deep in my kitchen cabinet and I didn't know how to work it. So I grabbed the closest thing at hand and began beating the flames to smother them. The melting plastic rack with the burning bras slide to to the floor, and the apartment was flooded with the overwhelming fumes of burning plastic.
The potential for disaster in this situation was great. I was barefoot on a wool rug, hitting a plastic-and-polyester fire with a quilt while surrounded by heaps of freshly laundered bedding and couch pillows. All of my windows were locked for the winter, and because the building sags to one side, the windows sit crookedly in their sills and are hard to open. And I'd removed my smoke detector from the wall just that morning because I'd burned my breakfast toast and didn't want it making noise.
But, as you can probably tell by virtue of this post existing, everything worked out. I'd smothered the fire by the time the bras hit the ground, and the melting plastic splashed on the couch pillows instead of my skin. I opened the windows before I suffocated and cleared the smoke out with the ceiling fan before the neighbors called the fire department. And I put out the last of the fire by doing what I should have done in the first place, which was to pour water on it instead of beating at it with the precious hand-stitched quilt my sister made me for my 17th birthday. My sink even has the hose attachment that could have easily reached the stove if I'd thought about it for two seconds instead of panicking like I did.
|I'm a fraud. A fraudulent fraud!|
|Not mutually exclusive categories.|
And I'm going to approach bras with a bit more caution, because those suckers when up like fireworks, especially the push-up bras with the little gel packets in the cups. They melted quicker than butter on a hot biscuit. This is what women put against their skin every day of our lives. Think about that the next time you're cooking something, and remember Big Island Rachel's advice: always take your bra off if you're doing something with open flames.
No, I don't know what you'd be doing bra-less around open flames. I'm not here to judge, only advise.
Happy New Year!