Recently the morning TV news ran a story along the lines of people are trying to make your teens to sexy with push up bras. (So not kidding.) Now, I take these scare stories with a grain of salt. I remember reading articles about things I was supposedly doing as a teen that were putting my virtue, my innocence, and my safety in question, and they were right sometimes, wrong sometimes, mostly exaggerated most of the time.
However, I also know that some parents or other adults don't have time to parse out the real from the exaggerated. (Witness one relative telling my cousin that she was risking being murdered by being on MySpace. Again, not kidding.) Sure, in a perfect world, adult caregivers of teens would have responsible and meaningful discussions about these things with their teens, but it doesn't always happen that way. (And sometimes that's the teen's fault too, not trying to place the blame solely on adults here.)
So, that leads me to the push up bra. Now savvy shoppers will note that the push up bra has been around for a while. And the argument that before it was only marketed to adults, is flimsy at best, since teens who wear bras are going to consider themselves the target of any bra advertising. I can't ever remember pausing to consider the age of the bra model in making my shopping choices. Now certainly there are some styles that are, ahem, less about support, but let me assure you in this case we are talking about a full coverage push up bra.
Now some folks seem concerned that it adds cup sizes and that perhaps teens are not ready for that. These folks are apparently unaware that teens have never needed a push-up bra to increase their cup size, it's just more convenient for that padding to come pre-packaged, rather than a personal aftermarket addition.
I am assuming that everyone can understand that some people (be they teen or otherwise) may need to wish to appear a little more padded. And sure, we can argue that we're giving in to the notion of what you're supposed to look like, rather than appreciating what you truly look like, but as a late developer, I can also see the appeal of just knowing what you might look like with a little more. (And I think, generally, most people discover that two cup sizes doesn't make quite as much difference as you might have imagined. Or in some cases, just looks ridiculous. )
But, the advantage of a well constructed bra with a little (yes, two cup sizes is two inches, so it is more than a little) padding turns out to be, in addition to support, that one garners an extra layer of protection from environmental and physical incursions. We all know that certain external conditions can lead to physical responses in the breasts, and while again this is totally natural, I think it is entirely understandable to not wish to share that reaction with the entire school. (Or office.)
Also, should someone commit the accidental (we are going to assume accidental here) boob brush, it's a little easier when there's some padding between you and the brush. Breasts stick out, these things happen, but it's still weird, especially when they are a newer body part. So, things that help with this discomfort, are all good to me.
And, in the end, my bra has never been responsible for my life choices.