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Breasts’ and Bras’ Significant Events


Each of us women has moments to remember about our breasts, including the time we see them start to develop, and the excitement that we felt when we entered a shop to pick our first bra.  For some it could be the feeling of frustration about finding that the bra they bought was actually not the right fit, and for others, the strange but nice feeling of nursing a baby.  It could also be an event when you had your breasts checked up and learned that you are perfectly healthy.

The following is a list of significant events that have become part of the history of breasts and bras.

3000 BC – Cancer was outlined in an Egyptian surgery textbook, where 8 cancer and tumor cases were described including the treatments made. It was also mentioned on the textbook that at that time, no treatment for cancer was available.

1880 – There were varying reports on when the first bare breasts were shown on films. One report says that it was between 1884 and 1887, while another says that it was in 1915 when actress Audrey Munson showed her breasts in “The Perfect Model” film. In other reports, however, 1963 was the year when Jane Mansfield appeared in “Promises, Promises” and bared her breasts.

1914 – The first modern bra was invented by Mary Phelps Jacob by using 2 handkerchiefs and some ribbon. 

1934 – The word “boobies” (or boobs) to refer to the breasts of a woman appeared in the classic “Tropics of Cancer” by Henry Miller. Since then the words boobs and boobies were used as slang words for a woman’s breasts.

1948 – Marked the invention of the push up bra by Frederick Mellinger, who was the owner of the company Frederick’s of Hollywood. He gave the name “the rising star” to his invention.  The creation of padded bras was also credited to him.

1956 – The La Leche’s first meeting was held.  This is an organization that supports breast feeding.  The meeting was done at the house of a woman who had given birth to 6 kids and was pregnant with her 7th.

1962 – Two plastic surgeons invented the silicone breast implants, and a 29 year old woman was the recipient.

1968 – The “Bra Burning” was only called that in an article in a New York Post, but actually it was a protest rally aimed at the Miss America pageant.  The women in the rally may have wanted to burn their bras, but considered safety issues, so they just threw bras, mops, girdles, and Playboy magazine copies to the thrash.

1969 – It is the year the first modern mammogram was invented.  This was designed to use low radiation level, and is now becoming increasingly available. There are debates, however, on when should a woman submit herself to screening mammogram regularly.

1977 – This was the year when the first Victoria’s Secret was opened in California’s Stanford Shopping Center.

1990 – Madonna made famous the cone bra designed and created by Jean Paul Gaultier. She wore it during her Blonde Ambition Tour.

1994/1995 – the breast cancer genes were discovered: the BRCA1 by a geneticist, and the BRCA2 by two English scientists.

2004 – Janet Jackson accidentally exposed her nipples during a performance with Justin Timberlake.

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  • Sofia Johnson
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