Hot subject: History records only one authentic burned bra, another slightly smoked
Fem libbers deny anyone ever really, intentionally burned bra in anger
By Bob Monroe News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) April 13, 1973
Footnote to history: Department of bra burning.
Question: Did any feminist ever burn a bra in protest? Answer: The record shows at least one bra burned, and another slightly smoked.
Why the question? Well, leaders of women’s liberation say no bra was ever burned in anger, that it has become a symbol meant to demean a movement with a serious purpose.
“It never happened,” declared an editor at Ms., the feminist magazine.
“Nobody ever burned a bra that I know of,” said Betty Friedan, a leader of the National Organization of Women, adding that she thinks the whole thing is a product of the media’s imagination.
The common assumption is that bra burning began with demonstrators outside the Convention Hall in Atlantic City during the 1968 Miss America contest. That apparently is false.
Women’s Lib pickets protesting the pageant talked of a “symbolic bra burning.” But reporters who covered the event say the demonstrators ended up throwing bras, girdles and hair curlers in a “freedom trash can.”
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One newsman recalls a picket preparing to burn a bra by lighting newspapers in a wastebasket. But the papers never really caught fire before police put out the smokey flames. The bra was slightly smoked.
The one authenticated bra burning took place in Oklahoma City during a demonstration in conjunction with the 1970 national Women’s Liberation Day.
Mrs Gwen Rose, secretary of a YWCA branch and an organizer of the local protest, set a bra to flames. She also accidentally ignited a small patch of grass and a cardboard box of underwear that was to have been burned later.
You could look it up.
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From most accounts, bra burning wasn’t all that common… even though going braless was somewhat trendy in the 70s. I suppose it was easier to simply not wear one than to try to set one on fire.