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Dinner Meeting on 27th November
To mark the second day of the Orange the World Project Members attending the November dinner meeting bought along items for the Food Bank that are Orange !
We also gave a cheque for £900 to Tracey Bentley, the Children and Families Team Leader at the YMCA. The money will go towards parties and presents for the most vulnerable families in the Crewe area. Tracey was absolutely delighted and said that the money will make a real difference to these families.
After dinner we enjoyed an excellent presentation by Kitty Sadler from Snugbury’s. We heard about the development of the company from a struggling farm to a highly successful business. At the end she let us sample some of the ice cream, which was absolutely delicious! As you can see President Nancy enjoyed it very much.
Our Club meeting in October 2018 has prompted a blog by Caroline Marsh….
What is supportive, lifts you up, and always close to your heart? Yes, it could be your best friend, but we are talking about bras here, lots of them, through the ages and social twists and turns of the last century.
Our dinner speaker in October was Janet Blake who brought lots of garments for us to see and gave a gentle and informative talk about bras, slips, petticoats pyjamas and other undergarments. It was an opportunity for a history lesson for some and to reminisce for others – one of our members even shared that she had even been a model for Spirella corsets! It got me thinking though – what have bras ever done for women? Are they a vital undergarment for style and comfort or a symbol of male oppression and desire to control women? A little bit of googling around came up with some interesting points.
At least 75% of western women wear a bra, including me, so it is still popular, if not universal. We heard that they came into common usage in the early 20C and surely must have been a force for liberation from the uncomfortable and unhealthy corset. There is no doubt though that by the 50s the style of bra – think pointy and prominent breasts – was seen as a desirable look promoted by men, and through the film industry and beauty parades they came to be associated with treating women as sex objects, and “a way for men and society to control women and bras negatively affect the female image”. 
We have all heard about the ‘bra-burning’ feminists of the 1960’s and the now famous demonstration held at the Miss America 1969 contest on September 7, 1968, attended by about 200 feminists and separately, by civil rights advocates. In fact, the protesters threw bras, and other feminine products, into a “Freedom Trash Can” and there was never any bra burning. Although many women continued to wear their bras and over time ‘bra-burning feminist’ became almost a term of abuse by some, it marked a time when women began to wear what they wanted for comfort, style and their definition of sexiness. They have also enabled women to more easily participate in sports with the development of supportive sports bras.
Kristen Flor Perrett provides some interesting food for thought in her recent blog about what women want from their bras. From around 2006, when Dove began their ‘Real Women” campaign there has been greater emphasis on a more holistic view of health and beauty product marketing. We are all into leading health and active lives, and the bra has potential to be more than an essential item of underwear that we mindlessly put on each morning. She highlights 3 key current themes that influence the role of the bra:
- Body positivity is the new sexy – manufacturers want to encourage women to feel good about themselves, and many high street stores sell bras for women who have had reconstructive surgery for example. “H&M has launched a line of bras designed by breast cancer survivors, for breast cancer survivors, bringing awareness to what the bra shopping experience is like for women who’ve undergone mastectomies or invasive surgeries.”
- The rise of athleisure – sports bras are everywhere: on catwalks, red carpets, social media, and in every woman’s wardrobe.
- Intimate apparel integrated with a health and wellness lifestyle – imagining how wellness might be built into the product itself as part of the job it does for us. Sports bras like the Mi Pulse Smart Bra come equipped with sensors to monitor heart rate and Bluetooth transmitters to connect to your device. As a woman with a recent heart problem this sounds amazing and exciting. The OMBra tracks a number of biometrics, including breath rate. Detection of cancer is not impossible to imagine.
At the end of my little thought ramblings I think bras are here to stay, and I am still a feminist J I can see that there will be a greater integration into the health and wellness lifestyle. This could be a fad, but equally, it could be a vital part of healthy lifestyle, and potentially lifesaving. Let’s hope the trend to involve women in design and to inform functionality continues though.
So, all in all, it was a pleasant evening that got me thinking. It was also good fun as I hope these pictures show. What more could I want?
( Hooper, Amelia, “The Bra and its Effects on Women and Society” (2014). USU Student Showcase. Student Showcase. Paper 41.)
Club Meeting – “Granny was a Suffragette”
Our February joint dinner meeting with many good friends from Northwich Soroptimists was a huge success.
We had a speaker talking about her grandmother who was a Suffragette.
She highlighted many aspects of her life and her possessions, including badges and sashes “Votes for Women” and explained the meaning of the colour of their scarves.
Soroptimist member Liz Cooley says “A fascinating talk, and amazing to be able to handle the personal items of a leading light in the Suffrage movement!