Feminists burned their bras in the 60s? Think again.

Cast your minds back to the late 1960s, Buzzkillers. There are protests everywhere against Vietnam, against capitalism, against oppression of women, and many other issues. Protests were sometimes peaceful, and sometimes not so peaceful.

freedom-trash-can-bra-burning-1970-630x654Among the many iconic “images” that stick with us from those days are anti-Vietnam war demonstrators burning their draft cards, and feminists burning their bras. Well one happened, and one didn’t happen, Buzzkillers. Draft cards were burnt by some young men protesting the Vietnam War. But there’s no evidence at all that feminists burned their bras at equal rights protests. This story has its origins in the demonstrations held at the 1968 Miss America contest in New York. Protesters set up a highly-visible “freedom trash can” and threw all sorts of things in it: girdles, high-heeled shoes, cosmetics, and, yes, bras. They did so in full view of the assembled media, and the pictures and stories emerging from that protest were distributed internationally.

But no one ever burned a bra. And certainly no one took off a bra she was wearing and jumped around bare-chested while the oppressive garment was consumed by fire.

What happened was that some overly-zealous journalists equated dumping bras into trash cans during women’s rights protests with draft card burnings at anti-war protests, and the two things got conflated in the public imagination. It’s a great image, and feminist protesters probably should have burned bras to gain more attention for their cause, but they didn’t.

When you fight the power, Buzzkillers, you tend to remain fully clothed.