Party with India’s favourite contemporary author Anuja Chauhan! Join us for the Baaz Party #AuthorTalks in Bangalore

You Know Unicorns Are Fake, Right? Well, Bra Burning Falls In the Same Category

Posted: September 26, 2016
Want to get more freelance writing opportunities? Sign up for a Women's Web workshop in Mumbai & Bangalore!

Bra burning is a term most often associated with the women’s liberation movement. Did you know that this term is actually a misnomer? Find out why!

‘Bra burning’.. just the sound of the term signifies a lot of anger and energy and that is why it has caught the fancy of the world. People tend to use the term without really realizing that the term is actually a misnomer, and a thing like ‘bra burning’ never ever happened in any of the feminist movements around the world. Here is all you want to know to get your facts right.

How did the term bra burning originate?

The term originated as a result of the agitation that took place at the Miss America pageant on September 7, 1968 where hundreds of feminist activists got together in the Atlantic City of Boardwalk to protest against the Miss America pageant. The disconnect was not so much with a beauty pageant as much as it was on the judgment parameters of the models that were indicative of being ludicrous. It was also meant to be a strong stand against the Vietnam War and racism due to the absence of even a single black Miss America!

The protest did not involve literal ‘burning of bras’ although the protestors did throw items that they thought indicate oppression in the ‘freedom trash can’. These included high heeled shoes, Playboy magazine copies, girdles, hair curlers and bras. However, none of these were put on fire.

The good that originated from this myth about bra burning was that it gave a easy, common term to these feminists. The ease of understanding of the literal meaning of the term gives it a meaning of ‘breaking open the shackles’ and therefore, ‘bra burning feminists’ as a term caught the fancy of many.

However, bra burning also began to be used as a term to signify radical feminism, and not always in a positive manner, and that is why it is so commonly heard. It’s easy to diss feminists if you think all they are doing is burning bras!

Here’s a funny video that tells you more about how the myth around bra burning feminists emerged.

Image sourced from

Ruchi Rajan

Ruchi Rajan

Ruchi Rajan is a woman on a mission of self-discovery. An avid reader since childhood, she grew up in the idyllic world of Enid Blyton and went on to devour the age old classics, her favorite being “Little Women”. While her academic pursuits led her to an MBA and then an HR job in the Corporate world, she gained something far more in terms of “the people she met”, learning valuable life lessons from each of her friends. The world opened up its plethora of differences to her, revealing brilliance in fields beyond mere academics. Since then, she has lived by the rule of “breaking her own barriers” and achieving things which she might never have considered before. Be it the pursuit of fitness , the thrill of ditching an Activa for an Avenger, or quitting her job to raise her two sons, she believes a person needs to do a lot in one life to raise it beyond the level of “existence.” In much the same manner, she picked up writing on a whim and discovered another side to herself. She writes mostly in the hours after midnight, after putting her screeching children to bed. But with yet another path laid out in front of her, the thrill is far more than the call of sleep. And that’s what being a woman has meant to her all along.

Facebook Comments


Share your thoughts! [Be civil. No personal attacks. Longer comment policy in our footer!]

Follow Women's Web

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!