THE BRA THAT CHANGED THE WORLD… The 1970s saw women coming into their own, working hard to create new roles at home and in sports, culture, politics, and business. It was also the start of the “fitness revolution.” At this unique intersection of feminism and athleticism, Lisa Lindahl’s game-changing entrepreneurial journey began.
She invented the first sports bra, the “Jogbra,” in 1977. It was the right product at the right time, throwing Lisa into a high-stakes world of business and power—a world for which she was not fully prepared. Unleash the Girls is the improbable story of a young artist with a disability who used her powers of creativity to solve a vexing problem and ended up leveling the playing field for girls and women across the globe—literally, unleashing the girls.
Her invention would become a feminist icon and the company she founded would change an industry. But amid the success, Lisa continued to search for meaning and the true nature of power and beauty. This is the untold story of the invention of the sports bra and how it changed the world for girls and women...and, along the way, changed Lisa, too.
Lisa Z. Lindahl is an artist, inventor, women’s health advocate and shamanic practitioner. In 2020 she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for inventing the sports bra in 1977, revolutionizing athletic participation for women and girls. She has a BS in Education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s of Arts in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University in California. She splits her time between Charleston, South Carolina and Colchester, Vermont.
My editor wasn't sure this section should be included in the book. I felt strongly that it should. What do you think friends and readers?
Unleash the Girls
We all know, ladies, that growing breasts is an ongoing relationship. They don’t just pop out, we say “hello,” and then go about our business as if “that’s done!”—as if nothing has changed. So much has changed, is changing! On the breast front alone: They bud. They swell. They hurt. They get too big...or not big enough. Then, our clothes fit differently. We have to buy a bra, or bras, and figure all that out. And when the breasts are all done appearing, suddenly we start getting paid a new type of attention that wasn’t there before. And then we have to manage that. To top it off, every month, the girls may decide to get tender, or not. We will not even go into the lactating breast adventures for those who choose to have children. Finally, as we age, they begin to sag. And our clothes fit differently, again. Oh, yes, women are in a relationship with their breasts.