Breast binding is the material used in, or the act of reducing visible breast size in, both women and men through the use of constrictive materials.
Common binding materials include:
- Cloth strips
- Elastic or non-elastic bandage
- Purpose-built undergarments (often using Lycra or other synthetic fiber)
- Simple layering of shirts, from tight to loose
There are many reasons men and women would want to bind:
- As a way to reduce movement after an injury or surgery, to help speed recovery
- To hide breasts or breast development
- For beauty and aesthetics
With women there are additional reasons for binding. Several famous women including Joan of Arc may have used binding to help pass as male in their male-dominated societies, and in the case of Joan of Arc, to be accepted as a soldier.
Different time periods of history have had differing viewpoints on the female form, including widespread use of corsets throughout western European history up to the Victorian era. The Japanese kimono can be considered a very elaborate form of binding. In addition, many Catholic nuns up until the 1930s were required to wear a linen breast binding under their garments in addition to their everyday vestments. Clergy claimed that this measure was designed to eliminate any potential distraction that the nuns' breasts might cause. In many ecclesiastical specialty shops, it is still possible to purchase antique linen breast bindings that have been hand-embroidered with crosses.
Some adolescent girls bind their breasts as they enter puberty. This is done usually for reasons of modesty, embarrassment, or desire to be as they previously were.
Men may also find cause to bind if afflicted with gynecomastia as a means to control appearance in place of surgery or during the wait before surgery. In a related vein, transsexuals and intersex people who want to "pass" for male would commonly bind. Male-to-female transsexuals may bind to have continued acceptance as male during transition, for example, at work where co-workers may be unaware of the transition. Female-to-male transsexuals may bind before having top surgery (mastectomy) to help appear male.
See also Edit
Further reading Edit
- Binding: Creating a Male-Looking Chest from Hudson's Guide.
- Underworks Chest Binding Technology Modern binders concealed in regular shirts for Gynecomastia and FTM chest binding.
- T-Kingdom Breast Binders for anyone who wants to flatten out, tomboys or FTM.
- Mango Products Chest Binding for female-to-male transsexuals.
- Transe-Generation, a light-hearted comic which features an episode on female-to-male binding.
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