Thursday, July 28, 2011

What do Lesbians want from their bras?

In Vancouver, August is always ushered in with a glittering rainbow parade through the city and along the beach. PRIDE is one of the highlights in our city; a celebration of love and freedom of expression.

BUSKFILMS is a website for lesbian independent films
As I was chatting with one of my favourite busty lesbian entrepreneurs, Andrea Wing from Busk Films, she pointed out to me that gay women can have a very different relationship with their underwear compared to their straight friends. She said that mainstream lingerie is designed to be pleasing to men and lesbians don’t identify with that definition of attractive. This really got me thinking about the way I identify with the bras I wear and include in our Collection.

When I started Butterfly Collection I was adamant that I wasn’t going down the ‘sex sells’ route because there are so many women in Canada who don’t identify with the winged sex goddesses of Victoria's Secret. A lot of us want to feel beautiful, or funky or indeed just downright comfortable! I have nothing against sex appeal and lots of our bras have tonnes of vava-voom but the premise of our message is; "You should have the bras that make YOU feel great about your body and great bras start with great fit." This is the one thing I know for sure, whether you’re gay or straight your bras have to fit and that rule is universal.

A lot of gender neutral bras are sports bras and that's not enough choice
After doing some more research and asking some more questions I came to realize that it’s the gender streaming that causes a big problem for lots of lesbians. The lingerie industry has a penchant for bows and lace and anything frilly, but if you don’t identify with any of these things what options are left open to you? If you’re a busty lesbian who doesn't identify with these styles and fabrics your job is twice as hard.

I asked a couple of gay girlfriends to tell me which of our bras qualified as Gender Neutral and realized that the ones they chose were sports bras or molded cups and that's not enough choice.

Julie Goldman from the Big Gay Sketch Show
This gave me a huge insight to how hard it is to find something that speaks to you when the industry is so hetro-centric. I can’t begin to understand the frustrations but this quote from Julie Goldman (from the Big Gay Sketch Show) in Autostraddle's Bra issue really opened my eyes “we just need a designer to understand that for the masculeeene lady, our femininity is IN our masculinity and someday I hope there is a bra that supports that.” Just as beauty doesn’t come in one package, the definition of feminine doesn’t come in one design either.

The way in which we find ourselves beautiful is very important for self-esteem and lingerie is a great way to see yourself as beautiful. When very few bras are designed with you in mind it’s hard to form a fond attachment to your lingerie. Of course gay women do not come in a ‘one size fits all’ so neither do their lingerie wants.

This brief glimpse of the lingerie world through the eyes of a gay woman has brought about a whole new perspective for me. I know that I have bras for supreme comfort, bras for feeling pretty, bras for feeling sexy and bras for everyday life. I identify different parts of my personality and life with different bras. I’ve realized I’m very fortunate. Lots of women are lucky to find one bra that remotely resonates with them. I would love to hear more about the struggles and successes that busty lesbians have when buying lingerie. I hope to bring some more choice to your lives in the future! xx



  1. It is not just lesbians that do not like bows and lace all over their bras. I prefer my bras to be on the plain side - without going over to the heavy-duty-industrial-strength style bras. I never understood why there were so many bras with things that show through clothes! I don't want a bump from a bow between my breasts or from the lace or embellishments on the cups. Bras with all that stuff are just not very practical. But this doesn't mean they have to be ugly either! Just plain is just fine.

  2. This is such a good point. There are lots of reasons why a plain bra is ideal for many women. I am a big fan of the seamless bras. They are discreet and lightweight. Thanks for your comment xx

  3. I've always been confused by the idea of "feminine" meaning lace and bows. This seems like a fairly recent idea, since bows/lace/general frills used to be very fashionable for men. I'd really love to see frills (and really everything other than genitals) reclaimed as gender neutral.

    Though I identify as female, I don't identify as "feminine". However, I do enjoy velvet dresses and frilly lingerie in the same way that I enjoy not shaving my legs and wearing Birkenstocks. Some people are really uncomfortable with frills and some people enjoy them... and some people like mix of both! The most important things are a) that there are enough options and b) that no one feels pressured to dress a certain way.

    1. Thank you for such an insightful and thought-provoking response Quest. Our sense of self and identity is so fluid so it's incredibly interesting to hear other people's feeling especially in reference to lingerie. There's so much in here to explore further... blog post idea for you!! xx