Author of breasts study: more research needed

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
Author of breasts study: more research needed
Photo: AFP

A new French study suggesting women could be better off without bras has been challenged by females. The professor who conducted the study explained his findings to The Local on Thursday, saying more research was needed.


On Wednesday The Local reported that after 15 years studying breasts, French scientist Jean-Denis Rouillon, from the University Hospital of Besançon concluded that women would be better off not wearing bras.

“Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra,” Rouillon said.

His study has sent ripples around the world, with many women appearing to doubt his findings.

Rouillon has underlined the provisional nature of his data and that more research is needed to get conclusive proof, before would should start binning their bras.

“These are preliminary results,” Dr. Rouillon told The Local on Thursday. “The small sample of 320 young women is not representative of the entire population – that would require something like 300,000 subjects.”

However, Dr. Rouillon did confirm that the initial data indicated that when young women stopped wearing a bra, there was no disimprovement in the orientation of their breasts, and in fact, there was widespread improvement.

“Of course, this is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether or not wear a bra – for example, many women simply find them very comfortable, especially in winter,” Rouillon acknowledged.

Ultimately, however, he feels his work is not complete, since the findings are not definitive.

“We will simply have to recruit a larger sample of the female population, and conduct further research,” Rouillon added.

Sceptical women will want to see that further research carried out before making their own conclusions.

“This might be true for girls with small boobies, but for girls with D cups or DD cups and bigger, excuse me, but gravity will only take over. Running a marathon if you are DD or FF would be incredibly uncomfortable,” said Farida Zo on The Local’s Facebook page.

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Dr Jean Denis ROUILLON

Dr Jean-Denis Rouillon (Photo courtesy of Osteopaths de France)

Shannon Gausten had a similar view.

“This might work for women who are small, or who are rather sedentary. Frankly I'd rather keep the 'girls' tied down as they tend to jiggle like angry water balloons every time I need to take a quick jog to the car,” she said.

Using a slide rule and caliper, Rouillon spent years carefully measuring changes in the orientation of breasts belonging to 130 women, at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (University Hospital) in Besançon. He concluded that women wearing bras do not develop muscle tissue in their back that would help support the weight of their breasts.

However Yvonne Cupp said going braless would cause consternation among her colleagues.

“If only it were socially acceptable... I would go braless but bigger boobs flopping around do get stares and looks mighty unprofessional at work,” she said.

Another commenter questioned whether the scientist had studied the appropriate selection of women to come to his conclusion.

“I'm sure whoever did this study meant well - but they have obviously never tried to deal with DDD breasts without a bra and after having nursed two children. If I didn't wear a bra I would look as if I had an extra roll of fat around my middle,” the commenter said.

Other readers however, had nothing but praise for the researcher.

“‘Rouillon spent years carefully measuring changes in the orientation of breasts belonging to 130 women…’, I chose the wrong career. M. Rouillon is a genius,” said a commenter named 'Kastan'.

"It was so easy, so beautifully simple. It took a genius to see it. A genius and a set of calipers," said another.

See also: France lifts 200-year-old trouser ban on women


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