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by Abigail Van Buren

Girl Who Says No to Bra Gets No Support From Her Friends

DEAR ABBY: When I was 12, I couldn't wait to wear a bra. By the time I turned 16 last summer, I decided I'd had enough of wearing a bra. My mom, who hasn't worn one since she was 18, had no problem with it as long as it wasn't obvious that I was braless. And for six months it wasn't.

Not until I went to a slumber party, and some of the other girls there saw me change into my pj's, did anyone notice I was not wearing a bra.

The girls began to make fun of me, telling me that only lesbians go braless. (It doesn't help that I currently have a boyfriend.) Now word has gotten all around school, and people are doing all sorts of things to make fun of me, from boys pretending to unsnap my nonexistent bra to a girl actually coming on to me thinking I was really gay. My mom says she was lucky; going braless was accepted when she was a teen, and I should just ignore the comments and they'll eventually stop.

Having gone without a bra this long, I don't want to go back -- they are just too uncomfortable and I am too flat to have any use for them. But I can't stand the constant ridicule. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do? -- BRALESS (NO CITY OR STATE, PLEASE)

DEAR BRALESS: I'm old enough to remember when feminists burned their bras in symbolic protest of restrictions on our freedom. It had nothing to do with a person's sexual orientation then -- and your classmates are flaunting their ignorance if they think it has anything to do with it now. What nonsense!

What probably started out as a joke has taken on a life of its own and has gone too far. The behavior you are describing sounds like harassment, and the principal of your school should be informed. Part of his or her job is to guarantee that students can pursue an education free of harassment. Please don't wait.