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  1. satelliteoflove
    satelliteoflove April 26, 2010 at 10:10 am |

    no one who has joined brainquake is slut-shaming. please actually take the time to read the brainquake page before you make assumptions, and then write about them.

    “The web is already filled with images of naked women; the porn industry thrives online and many young girls are already vulnerable to predatory abuse. Violence against women and girls has a direct correlation to the sexualisation of women and girls. The extent of their sexualisation is evident in the hundreds of replies that pour into the “Boobquake” Facebook page where women write, apologetically: “I don’t have boobs, not fair” or “Hey, I only have a C cup… ” and “what about those of us who no longer have a cleavage? they sag too low.”

  2. Jill
    Jill April 26, 2010 at 10:12 am | *

    Ah, Boobquake. I’m glad you posted on this so that I didn’t have to — I’ve had a hard time keeping my mouth shut about it. I think Amanda’s take was really good: http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/boobquake/

    This part especially:

    It’s kind of easy to go after an Iranian cleric saying something stupid like this, in other words. We don’t really need to convince the vast majority of Americans that Iranian clerics who are scandalized by women’s hair are in the wrong. Americans of every faith—including most American Muslims, I’m guessing—and every political persuasion are already atheists about the claim that women’s hair causes earthquakes. And most of them will take mockery of this guy’s claims not as a shot across the bow at all religious claims, but just of the “silly” ones that go against our cultural norms.

    But we have plenty of woman-hating religious claims in our culture that are taken seriously. Take for instance, the claim that an embryo is a fully formed human being with rights, and so women’s bodies have to be routinely commandeered against their will in order to gestate them. That’s a religious claim, as much as anti-choicers pretend otherwise. It’s based in the idea that godsaidit—god said it’s a person, so sorry, women! Perhaps it might be more useful to challenge religious claims that are accepted as not-ridiculous in our country. I’m imagining that a lot of the guys who are applauding boobquake might find it a little harder to grapple with an abortion speak out, for instance.

    That’s my issue with Boobquake, too — what is it doing, exactly, except mocking Those Misogynists Over There? I mean, that’s not a terrible goal, but Pat Robertson basically said the exact same thing about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and there wasn’t the same kind of action taken against him. Point being, I guess, I think it’s totally great that people are taking action and drawing attention to all kinds of misogyny. People who are upset because “OMG boobs!” are ridiculous. I just wish that we were equally as atuned to misogyny over here. Like the misogyny that makes a bunch of dudes on the internet excited that “normal” women will be “showing off their tits.” And the misogyny that prompts other women to respond with, “We’re saddened that women will be showing off their cleavage,” instead of being saddened by the men who are being disgusting about it.

  3. Ashley
    Ashley April 26, 2010 at 10:14 am |

    Err. I think the cleric’s ideas are a little extreme. But I also think the whole boobquake thing is going a little far as well. I don’t slut shame, but I am all for showing off brains more than body. I mean, it’s totally awesome if you want to show off your body, but do so tastefully.

    1. Jill
      Jill April 26, 2010 at 10:22 am | *

      I don’t slut shame, but I am all for showing off brains more than body. I mean, it’s totally awesome if you want to show off your body, but do so tastefully.

      …what does that even mean, though? I mean, who gets to decide what kind of “showing off your body” is “tasteful”?

  4. Tasty
    Tasty April 26, 2010 at 10:30 am |

    How about a day when men took pains to make themselves sexy looking?

  5. Ama
    Ama April 26, 2010 at 10:37 am |

    The only problem I see with Brainquake is that while it’s true that women should be flaunting their intelligence rather than their sexual appeal, the Iranian cleric didn’t say that women being smart was responsible for earthquakes–he specifically said immodesty and promiscuity–so if his claims are going to be challenged, it would have to be done so in kind.

    I think it’s a fun way to protest; it’s just a shame that there are trolls who see it as a way to see more boobs than for the statement it makes–that we don’t have to be so uptight about anatomy and here is a person who’s taking that uptightedness to the extreme.

  6. Lucy Gillam
    Lucy Gillam April 26, 2010 at 10:45 am |

    but I am all for showing off brains more than body.

    I am participating in Boobquake while teaching a college writing course. I see no reason why I can’t show off both, especially since my body is not one society wants me to feel good about showing off.

  7. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 26, 2010 at 10:45 am |

    “I mean, it’s totally awesome if you want to show off your body, but do so tastefully.”

    Not like those tacky strippers, you mean? If I choose to walk around with little more than pasties and leaves, you can go fuck yourself with your judgments. It’s none of your business.

    Incidentally, I’m not participating in either explicitly. Iranian clerics won’t give a shit if anyone can see my tits (and really, my behavior is such that the earth should literally be trembling beneath my feet all the time), and I seem to fight all the time to show off that I’m even moderately intelligent at school by virtue of being younger than most of my classmates and, gasp, a woman. Nothing special here, unfortunately.

  8. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 26, 2010 at 10:54 am |

    Honestly, I’m with Amanda here. We need look no further than our own backyards for some really rank misogyny. Look, what the cleric said was all kinds of stupid, and his statement is worth mocking, but let’s not forget that the standard of female immodesty and promiscuity among fundamentalists of any stripe is pretty easy for any woman to meet. Have you had sex before marriage? The wrong kind of sex? SLUT. Do you show your hair or your collarbone or any skin above the knee, ever? WHORE. You don’t have to flash your tits or wear low cut tops. You just have to exist and act like you think you’re a human being with rights and stuff.

    And I agree with Tasty–it would be nice if men would try to be sexy for once. Goddamn it, I’m sick to death of the expectation for women to be the ones to be sexy, to flash, to use our goddamn bodies as props. The default for sexxeee is woman (not man) and even questioning that gets me labeled some sex-hating prude (while fundies think I’m a slut). I resent the everloving fuck out of it.

    How about the d00ds who exhort us to flash our tits in response make themselves all hawt and sexy in solidarity?

  9. Holy!
    Holy! April 26, 2010 at 10:57 am |

    How about a day when men took pains to make themselves sexy looking?

    There seems to be much less interest in visually viewing sexy men-at least among women. After all, male revues have far less popularity than female strip clubs. Even Play Girl survives because most of its readership is male. I’m not saying that women aren’t interested in sexy looking men, but I also think it’s pretty obvious that men put a far heavier emphasis on looks.

  10. Gayle Force
    Gayle Force April 26, 2010 at 11:00 am |

    I wrote about this, and I still think it’s a really terrible idea.

    And not for slut-shaming reasons, but for all sorts of ethnocentric reasons.

    That cleric makes LAWS controlling women’s bodies in Iran. I think women are not really understanding this guy is not the equivalent to Pat Robertson.

    Jill, I’m with you – I don’t really get what the protest is for. It’s not helping the women of Iran. So . . . . ?

  11. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 26, 2010 at 11:02 am |

    I’m not sure why not being ashamed of one’s body is being elided here with “showing off.” As women, we can’t own our own bodies without it being read as flaunting for someone else’s dilatation? That reads as pretty effed, to my mind.

  12. Lurkin Merkin
    Lurkin Merkin April 26, 2010 at 11:05 am |

    Ohmygosh, everyone! I’m wearing that shirt that I wear sometimes! It’s totally subversive! Take THAT, Iranian dude!

    Women should be comfortable with their bodies, and should be able to be visible in public without inciting riots, or drawing stares and snide remarks. You don’t need an excuse to wear low cut shirts if you want to wear them. Just please do everyone else a favor and stop pretending that you’re protesting anything.

  13. Ashley
    Ashley April 26, 2010 at 11:06 am |

    In response to Jill and a couple of others who have quoted me, it’s just my own belief that I would personally not want to shove my tits in everyone’s face like “Look at me!” in either protest to the cleric or anytime otherwise for that matter. I know I can be sexy without having to act like I am starring in a Girls Gone Wild event. I do NOT judge others that choose to behave that way, so please don’t say that I do. I have plenty of friends that just love to show off what they have in whatever fashion they want, and I don’t say a damn thing to them nor do I think any less of them for their choice. I know strippers, and I don’t say a word to them either. It’s just that I don’t want to publicly advertise my body and sexuality because that is something that is private to me and my boyfriend. This is not based on any sort of religious belief or anything, it’s just the way I choose to live.

    1. Jill
      Jill April 26, 2010 at 11:12 am | *

      In response to Jill and a couple of others who have quoted me, it’s just my own belief that I would personally not want to shove my tits in everyone’s face like “Look at me!” in either protest to the cleric or anytime otherwise for that matter. I know I can be sexy without having to act like I am starring in a Girls Gone Wild event. I do NOT judge others that choose to behave that way, so please don’t say that I do.

      Sure you don’t judge others who choose to behave this way — you just compare them to acting like they are “starring in a Girls Gone Wild event” and shoving their tits in everyone’s faces. But no judgment!

  14. jen
    jen April 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |

    The first time I’ve heard about “boobquake” was when some of my male “friends” on facebook joined the group (and I was like WTF?!) and I have to say that it made me a little uneasy without knowing exactly what my problem was, since I “normally” am all for positive female body-images and doings with your body whatever the hell you like.

    I thought it was interesting what Beth Mann wrote about boobquake and the “cutetification of feminism” at salon:
    http://open.salon.com/blog/beth_mann/2010/04/22/boobquake_and_the_cutefication_of_feminism

    She basically points out the same-old-thing that feminism has to be “sexy” (“female”-sexy, that is), to evoke any kind of positive reaction. What I found particularly troubling is obviously the objectifying reaction of many men being oh so excited that the “girl next door” will show some cleavage today and getting their cameras ready, and shaming everyone who is criticizing their behaviour as “prudes” and telling them to “stfu” and sit down (how very liberating, isn’t it…). Beth sums it up as “Pretty dolls with nice racks should show off and shut up”…

    Furthermore, the comment points to the body-images-problem that “boobquake” intensified for some women, who complained they couldn’t take part in it because they have “not enough” cleavage. Obviously, I don’t think that this was intended in any way, but the images that are going along with the “event” usually feature a DD-cup, and (re-)produce stereotypical and sexist notions of what a “sexy” cleavage allegedly looks like…

    And I totally agree with what Jill said about the every-day and very special misogyny going on in our own backyard that few people seem to be worrying about.

    However, “brainquake” strikes me as classist, in a way. It is slut-shaming, in my view, but moreover, carries the notion that “good” women not only not show any skin, but are only worth respecting if they have scholarly achievements. What happened to respect without prerequisites?!

  15. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 26, 2010 at 11:13 am |

    There seems to be much less interest in visually viewing sexy men-at least among women.

    Uh, speak for yourself. Certainly, I notice the way men look, and every single one of my women friends notice. Women who are sexual on their own terms get all kinds of shit thrown their way–we’re not socialized to be sexual the way men are, and we are not socialized to feel entitled to express it other than as servers or eye-candy. There’s a world of difference between an all-male revue and a strip club.

    When Heidi Fleiss wanted to start a brothel for women, the Nevada brothel association was dead set against her. So no, I don’t see this as “golly, women are just different and aren’t interested in these things”. I think it’s the result of socialization and puritanical double-standards.

    So, again fellas–it’s your turn. I notice, a lot of women notice, and it would be nice if you sweated your sexiness for US.

    /derail.

  16. satelliteoflove
    satelliteoflove April 26, 2010 at 11:13 am |

    i fully support all womens’ choices to dress however we want, whenever we want. what i do not support is the idea that we can gain equality, or fight ignorance/oppression by further sexualizing ourselves.

    1. Jill
      Jill April 26, 2010 at 11:31 am | *

      i fully support all womens’ choices to dress however we want, whenever we want. what i do not support is the idea that we can gain equality, or fight ignorance/oppression by further sexualizing ourselves.

      But why is wearing a shirt where you can see cleavage “sexualizing” ourselves? I mean, I understand that boobs are culturally framed as OMG SEX!, but that’s not a frame that feminists need to buy into, is it?

      As I said in an earlier comment, I think Boobquake is a little misguided. But the responses to it are actually making me appreciate it more — maybe we do need women across the country to demonstrate that boobs are just body parts, and that showing a little cleavage isn’t “sexualizing” ourselves, or tantalizing men, etc etc. That maybe boobs are just boobs, and they don’t cause earthquakes, and they don’t have to create social havoc, and they don’t mean that women are inviting sex.

  17. Ashley
    Ashley April 26, 2010 at 11:19 am |

    “Sure you don’t judge others who choose to behave this way — you just compare them to acting like they are “starring in a Girls Gone Wild event” and shoving their tits in everyone’s faces. But no judgment!”

    You are completely right. I shouldn’t have worded it that way.

  18. satelliteoflove
    satelliteoflove April 26, 2010 at 11:24 am |

    also, the salon link jen posted is great, and 100% reflects the way i feel about it.

  19. satelliteoflove
    satelliteoflove April 26, 2010 at 11:41 am |

    jill, i completely understand what you’re saying, BUT i feel like your forgetting that we don’t live in a vacuum. and…i somehow think that a bunch of women being asked to show show cleavage on facebook is NOT going to de-sexualize the breast.

  20. jen
    jen April 26, 2010 at 11:43 am |

    I mean, as I said in an earlier comment, I think Boobquake is a little misguided. But the responses to it are actually making me appreciate it more — maybe we do need women across the country to demonstrate that boobs are just body parts, and that showing a little cleavage isn’t “sexualizing” ourselves, or tantalizing men, etc etc. That maybe boobs are just boobs, and they don’t cause earthquakes, and they don’t have to create social havoc, and they don’t mean that women are inviting sex.

    I agree with the general sentiment that boobs should not be sexualized this way. The problem for me is that is not what boobquake does. It explicitly refers to an “indecent” (or whatever word was used to describe an alleged “immoral”) dressing code for women, to do a scientific experiment: that is, that dressing “indecently” does not cause earthquakes and, subsequently, showing the ridiculousness of religious fanatics. The annoying thing about it, in my view, is, that this can be (and was) completely derailed, mostly by men, as “wooo – boob day!!”.

    This has happened before with “boob-liberation”-acitivies in Sweden, where it simply turned into men standing at the sidelines of demonstrations taking pictures of “naked ladies”…
    I don’t think this is the way to approach the subject in a “feminist-friendly” way, and boobquake does not seek to de-sexualize boobs or women – quite to the contrary.

    The only positive thing for me is the pro-sex and pro-free-body stance it seems to take in a way. But I second Sheezlebub: Why do women seem to always have to wrap these important topics into a “sexy”-campaign to be heard, and then, almost inevitably, be derailed by people who make it all about objectification? Communicating the actual underlying problem of misogyny does not seem to work this way – it certainly did not work with boobquake, given the chauvinist reactions that took hold of the whole concept.

  21. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 26, 2010 at 11:47 am |

    How about instead of wearing low-cut tops, we do something that would actually support Iranian women? You can go to the One Million Signatures to sign the petition calling for equal rights in Iran, and to read about what women’s rights activists are doing in Iran.

    Considering the fact that many folks thought a topless bike ride through Williamsburg was an unwise response to the same style of sexism exhibited by certain Satmar community members, I just don’t see what this will actually do for women in Iran. It might make some of us feel all daring and righteous and whatever. But so what? Do you really think that an Iranian dude in fucking IRAN is going to give a shit that a bunch of Western women wore low cut shirts? Is this about us being irritated with more sexism or is this about us actually doing something to support the efforts of Iranian women to gain human rights?

  22. umami
    umami April 26, 2010 at 11:48 am |

    the salon post has some amazing/ridiculous comments!
    This, from a male poster, I think shows how badly off the rails this thing went.

    It is like I can’t win for trying to convince women to take pride in their sexuality, sexual skills, sexual experience, and sex organs, no matter how hard I try.
    I bet you give you an absolutely awesome blow job, *name of OP*, but would you ever admit it, or take pride in your absolutely awesome blow jobs?

    Wow, he’s so enlightened! I really want to join a facebook group full of dudes exactly like that so they can “convince me” to take pride in my sexuality by posting photos of my tits for them to look at, and if I think it’s a stupid idea, why they’ll try a little harder to convince me some more, all the while speculating on how much they would enjoy me sucking their cock. Ugh.

  23. Ashley
    Ashley April 26, 2010 at 11:54 am |

    I always wondered what the big whoop was about boobs. They are, after all, just larger masses of flesh on the woman body, so what’s the big deal about them? Specifically, why are bigger breasts idealized more than smaller breasts? Well after doing a little reading, breasts are seen as a sexual symbol because the brain subconsciously and naturally associates them with fertilization. Bigger breasts = more fertile. Of course, this is not the case, but this is human nature. And this natural intuition sexually arouses men.

    I too wish that boobs could just be boobs and nothing more, but I’d say convincing our fellow female species would be the easy part.

  24. La BellaDonna
    La BellaDonna April 26, 2010 at 11:55 am |

    I mean, who gets to decide what kind of “showing off your body” is “tasteful”?

    Jill, I think it means that you can either choose to coat, or dab, the flavor of your choice/your partner’s preference on your breasts while showing off/not showing off your cleavage: i.e., “tastefully” obviously means “full of taste”.

    Chocolate is often a favorite.

  25. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 26, 2010 at 12:03 pm |

    Ashley, you also claimed that there is a tasteful way to show off your body, which inherently means there’s a tasteless way to do it. You are actually quite full of judgment on this topic. Further, you even told US to show off in a tasteful way, which means you’re judging us.

    I have very little sympathy.

  26. jen
    jen April 26, 2010 at 12:03 pm |

    And this natural intuition sexually arouses men.

    Actually, the sexualization of bodyparts, especially boobs, is (as usual) not so much “natural” as rather socially constructed and repeated over and over again to make sure everybody gets it… There are cultures in the world which do not sexualize breasts, but rather see them as “tools” to feed children. Not that I am particularly fond of that, either…

  27. Shinobi
    Shinobi April 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm |

    I really get behind the sentiment of Boobquake. I get that it doesn’t really do anything, and that there are issues as far as objectification goes and that it isn’t our fight and that there are so many issues surrounding it.

    But I’ll never forget the first time I found out that women in Afghanistan weren’t allowed to wear white socks or shiny shoes for fear men would want to have sex with them. I was pissed for like a week, it makes me SO angry, beyond rationality angry. And the only thing that I can think of as a response that would make me feel better is to walk through a Taliban controlled village wearing nothing but maybe some weapons for protection. (I told you, beyond rationality angry.)

    The way I see it, showing some cleavage, or a little more skin than normal is a great way to say F***YOU to men who try to control women’s bodies and mandate our modesty in dress and behavior. (Especially by blaming women that don’t fall in line for natural disasters, that is both irrational, and disgusting.)

    Is it a well thought out reasonable response that will show real improvement in the real world? No. But it might make some of us feel a little bit better by flipping some Imams the bird.

    I also think Brainquake is a great idea, but what am I supposed to do, post my diploma at work? I already use my brain every day and show it off. Today I am also showing my boobs, because anyone who says I can’t or shouldn’t needs to know that he can’t f-ing control me.

  28. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm |

    Ashley, a little art history or cultural anthropology would show you that, no, bigger breasts are not and have not always been associated with increased fertility.

  29. jen
    jen April 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm |

    I guess my thing is, why should we stop an event of this sort simply because it gets misogynist reactions? Shouldn’t we be organizing more of these events in that case? Basically, just keep having them until that starts to turn around.

    I agree that this cannot be reason enough to cancel events that seek to liberate women. However, I do not feel that this is what boobquake (and also the facebook-bra-thing) have thought about at all – it’s more of a “fun event” that carries the problem of objectification with it and either incorporates that willingly or ignores it (which does not work).

    And for me it is not so much the misogynist reactions in general, but the specific kind of misogyny that can be encountered throughout the reactions. The comments do not say: “evil dyke ugly feminist motherfucking bitches” (… sorry, I think I read too many comments from the troll rounds :)), but they’re saying: “Woo, yeah, tits out! Great idea, babe! Why don’t you tell’em how great you suck dick, too!” It’s not even identified with feminism in any way. If a derail is so successful as with boobquake, I think there’s something wrong in the plan. Boobquake has no feminist “underbelly” to it at all.

    Now, if that is going to be the way we go about it, then it needs to have other elements – that’s the tricky part. It can’t just be “hey, let’s show our boobs,” it needs to anticipate the reaction that people will have and come up with strategies, speaking points, etc. that counter that as well.

    Totally agreed. But that has to happen *before* the “hey, let’s show our boobs”. And it did not happen here.

  30. prowlerzee
    prowlerzee April 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm |

    “I don’t really get what the protest is for. It’s not helping the women of Iran. So . . . . ?”

    I love the spirit of this protest, and think Shinobi said it best!

    MAN-dated drapes for women is not a “cultural difference” it’s a despicable control device, and we need to acknowledge this, especially when you hear “progressive” men trying to sell the idea that the women themselves choose to be draped, because of “culture” and what about their “freedom” to “choose” this bondage, yadda yadda yadda.

    When you see women showing nail polish or cleavage along with their head veils (as you can see here in the U.S.) and they’re allowed to go their merry ways unmolested, then I’ll buy the freedom-and-choice-and-culture line.

    I’m all for cleric-shaming.

  31. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 26, 2010 at 1:33 pm |

    When you see women showing nail polish or cleavage along with their head veils (as you can see here in the U.S.) and they’re allowed to go their merry ways unmolested,

    I think that’s exactly why the Boobquake idea is problematic, prowlerzee. Women can get away with stuff here that would get you detained or worse over there, so in a sense this is a giant fuck you to the women of Iran. We are flaunting something here, and it ain’t breasts, it’s privilege.

  32. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon April 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm |

    I forgot about Boobquake as well, but luckily I’m wearing a slightly cleavage revealing shirt.

  33. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm |

    The more I think about this, the less impressed I am with it. As was pointed upthread, there is a fair bit of ethnocentrism in this–it’s not like we had this reaction when Jerry Falwell or Oral Roberts made similar comments.

    I’m just curious–is this about us sending a message of ‘fuck you’ to the imams who are thousands of miles away and do not have any affect on our laws in our respective countries? Or is this about doing what we can to support Iranian women who are risking their lives by fighting for their rights?

    I mean, great, we’ll all feel vindicated and strong by wearing low cut tops, and fucking nothing will change for the women of Iran. How is this helping? What concrete things will this do for the women of Iran? Right now, I’m seeing them get erased–so far, I’ve heard about prudes and shaming and sluts and boobs and d00ds who think we should lighten up and flash our tits. I’ve heard about how fun it will be to flip the bird at imams who are thousands of miles away and likely won’t know or care that some women are doing this. I’ve heard about how angry their sexism makes the women here (and yes, it makes me angry too).

    But you know, this is nothing new, and this comment by the douchey cleric was mild compared to what Iranian women go through when they have the gall to fight for their rights.

    I haven’t heard much about Iranian women, though. And that’s sad–they should be front and center in any actions we take and any discussion we have about women rights in Iran. They are the ones fighting for their rights there. I don’t mean to be a big old meanie killjoy, but this time it’s not about us.

  34. RedSonja
    RedSonja April 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm |

    I would like to point out that Boobquake was started as a sort of rational “testing” of the statement that immodest women cause earthquakes. It wasn’t about helping Iranian women, or exposing misogyny – it was about testing this hypothesis. Is it ridiculous? Yes. So was the statement the cleric made. That’s kinda the point.

    So no, this probably isn’t fighting misogyny or helping oppressed Iranians, but that wasn’t the intent. It was to expose the absurdity of magical thinking and religious superstition.

  35. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm |

    Red Sonja, problem being: there was a 6.9 earthquake just outside of Taiwan today:
    http://www.examiner.com/x-6351-Indianapolis-Living-Abroad-Examiner~y2010m4d25-Breaking-News-69-Earthquake-in-Taiwan-Taitung

    I think you could argue that it’s magical thinking to assume that you can cure magical thinking with a single event.

  36. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 26, 2010 at 3:28 pm |

    So–it’s to test magical thinking but has the added bonus of giving random d00ds on the internet the chance to shame women who don’t buy into it, and also gives people the chance to flip the clerics the bird. Because we’ve never had any similarly outrageous statements made by Christian fundamentalists here.

    And reading the comments at the site just show all the more race fail. It went from “Wow, that was a stupid thing for the cleric to say,” to MUSLIMS!! THEY ARE SO STUPID and WOW LETS MAKE BURQUA JOKES HAR HAR HAR.

    So no, this probably isn’t fighting misogyny or helping oppressed Iranians, but that wasn’t the intent. It was to expose the absurdity of magical thinking and religious superstition.

    Don’t worry–I get that the actual women affected by this misogynist drek don’t figure into the equation–that’s been made abundantly clear, kthanx–but a lot of the commenters here seem to think that it’s a great way to protest sexism in Iran. As far as proving the cleric wrong–anyone with a shred of sense knows he’s wrong–go Carnival in Brazil or South Beach or St. Tropez or Yap (where everyone, including women, are supposed to go topless) to see that. Not to mention the fact that she didn’t have to look beyond her own borders to find magical thinking and religious superstition.

  37. ACG
    ACG April 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm |

    I totally forgot about Boobquake. And looking downward, it seems that despite my scoop-neck sweater, I’ve kept the ladies modestly covered with a camisole. Of course, this is because I’m at the office and the open display of my boobs could get me fired.

    I still have to question the idea that we’re testing a hypothesis here. Every day of my life, I walk around looking twelve times as “immodest” as any Iranian woman – all bifurcated, or with a skirt all the way up to my knees, showing my hair and my collarbones and my shoulders and both hands all at the same time OMG! If immodest dress really did cause earthquakes, Alabama would be in the ocean by now. But it’s not, and so I feel comfortable saying that the cleric’s hypothesis was disproved before he said it.

    That a cleric said something like that is hardly sensational – as pointed out above, when Jerry Falwell was spewing this crap, everyone recognized how ridiculous it was, and nobody organized a gay-in to try and cause a hurricane. The big deal here is the belief behind the ridiculous statement – women’s bodies are shameful and are the cause of societal ills and must be covered at all times. For us to protest that by further exposing bodies that are comparatively naked to begin with seems to lack punch. “In honor of these women who can be whipped for wearing a t-shirt in the privacy of a friend’s home, I’m going to wear what I usually wear on a Saturday night without consequence. Take THAT!”

  38. RedSonja
    RedSonja April 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm |

    I don’t think anyone expects this to “cure” magical thinking – just to point out that it’s silly. And, as Jen pointed out, 1 earthquake in 1 day is not statistically significant. If we get 10 or 20 large magnitude earthquakes today, well then it bears investigation and retesting. I’m not holding my breath.

  39. RedSonja
    RedSonja April 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm |

    @Sheelzebub

    I have NO doubt about race and sexism fail on behalf of many commenters regarding Boobquake. Frankly, you’re a braver soul than I for braving them. As far as this not being about Iranian women — no, it’s not. I frequently mock absurd Christian views without then feeling sorry for girls who grow up believing that if they aren’t virgins, they’re whores. Do I feel badly that that’s the case, and call people on it when they say it in front of me? Yes. But I don’t feel obligated to make certain that every critique that I make of Christian beliefs includes an acknowledgement that it’s patriarchal and horribly harmful to women.

    @ACG

    I wish that I had thought of the hurricane thing – that would have been AWESOME. Seriously, though – while for you the main point is the beliefs behind the statement, I think that in the atheist/skeptic world it was the statement itself. And so Jen made a joke that she would “test” it and the next thing you know some men are acting douchey about it and it’s her fault for being the worst feminist EVER. (And no, you aren’t saying that, but I have certainly read the equivalent statement in other places.)

  40. Judith
    Judith April 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm |

    Today, I participated in boobquake AND brainquake. I rocked an intensely difficult test, successfully debated topics in two other classes, and received word from my boss that thanks to my excellent PR and lobbying skills, we get extra money from the state to help implement sex-positive education in local schools.

    And I did it all with my boobies hanging out. Not because of them, not despite them.

    I’m sick of feeling as if I am some sort of sleeper agent for the Patriarchy everytime I do my hair or wear something that exposes my skin to daylight. I know for most, it hasn’t been intentional… But I feel that a dichotamy of slutty fake/anti feminist or non-madeup and unfashionable real feminist that is developing within our feminist communities.

    This is the body I have. I love it. I don’t like to hide it. This is my sexuality. I love it, too. I believe that to reject all markers of femininity whatsoever (make-up, clothes, etc. Not talking about behavior here.) is no better than embracing them too wholeheartedly. The difference between myself and the sorostitute sitting next to me is that I understand the ways in which society tries to pit my sexuality against me. And I don’t let them.

  41. Judith
    Judith April 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm |

    Two things I want to tack on to my last comment:

    First, thank you Shinobi⁠ for saying exactly what I am thinking but much more articulately!

    Second, I want to be clear that I understand the problems with my using the term “sorostitute.” On second glance, I big-time regret using it and sincerely hope I didn’t offend anyone.

  42. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm |

    @Red Sonja, yeah, that’s exactly my point. It’s not statistically significant, and yet it throws all of “Boobquake’s” efforts out the window.

    And @Sheelzebub, everything that you said, dittoed.

  43. RedSonja
    RedSonja April 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm |

    @Samantha b

    I guess I’m confused. The (unserious) premise of Boobquake was that women dressing immodestly doesn’t cause earthquakes, not that women dressing immodestly prevents them. Regardless, I don’t think that anyone expects to change the minds of magical thinkers – though it would be nice if it happened.

  44. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 26, 2010 at 9:13 pm |

    Red Sonja, when Muslims have the power that Christians have, I’ll agree with you. But it’s hardly equal. They are not the majority in the West, they do not hold a majority of seats in any representative body in the West, and last time I checked, there is no Muslim-majority nation with access to nukes saber rattling against Christian nations, invading and occupying majority Christian nations, and throwing its weight around the world. There are no clerics here trying to impose Sharia in the West. There’s quite the double-standard when it comes to organized outrage and mocking of religious fundamentalists–again, there was no such movement in response to the Rebelution or Christian efforts to keep women covered and meek. And I find it degrading that the brutality Iranian women are facing has been reducedd to a punchline.

    Judith, I’m one of those women who’s pretty femme looking–I wear makeup, do my hair, wear skirts, etc. I don’t feel like a sleeper agent for the Patriarchy for doing it. I can do that and acknowledge that I’m not doing it in a vaccuum. I can critique the larger sexist culture that pressures women into doing this, and I can also acknowledge that pressure to show skin or hide it are two sides of the same deeply misogynist coin–policing women’s bodies and appearence is policing no matter what direction the pressure is in. Acknowledging the pressue women are under in this society to perform femininity and to be sexy eye candy for the male gaze is not shaming women who do that–and as someone who is dog tired of douchebags telling me that I’m so uptight for not wanting to flash my tits or whatever, I’ll tell you–I’m seeing that as more of a problem than the mythical strawfeminist who’s supposedly trying to take away my lipstick. It’s not as if women are discouraged or shamed for being sexy and prettying ourselves up–look at any magazine, television show, movie–it’s all preaching about how we should perform and please and be eye candy. And not for nothing, but as I said above, this whole stunt completely erases the very brutal oppression Iranian women face.

    Because here’s the thing–no one had to wear low cut anything to “prove” the douchey cleric wrong. To be immodest according to fundamentalists like him meant to dress the way I did today–a boatneck sweater that showed my shape, pants, uncovered hair. Or the way I dressed for a business meeting last week–suit (skirt at the knee) uncovered hair, neck showing.

  45. zrusilla
    zrusilla April 26, 2010 at 10:33 pm |

    Boobquake, brainquake, dancequake, speechquake, votequake, marchquake, runquake, writequake, workquake, lovequake, laughquake…there’s a thousand ways to bother fundies.

  46. switchintoglide
    switchintoglide April 26, 2010 at 10:40 pm |

    I am going to have to second Sheelzebub here, this is some horrible Islamophobic, ethnocentrist bullshit going on here, and it is really silencing Muslim women whose voices should be at the centre of this debate. I think we need to be cognizant of our privilege here.

    I just wrote about it a few minutes ago because of the flurry of activity online:

    http://switchintoglide.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/where-were-all-of-the-feminists-oh-right-busy-planning-a-boobquake/

    We should really think twice before we jump on causes like this, because they can be very harmful to marginalised women with whom we should be in solidarity.

  47. timothynakayama
    timothynakayama April 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm |

    “How about a day when men took pains to make themselves sexy looking?”

    Most men have no idea what a “sexy-looking” man is supposed to look like.

    It was very interesting to note that in the first season of Australia’s Next Top Model, the theme for a photo-shoot was SEXY. Since Australia’s Next Top Model, for the first season at least, involved men and women (which was in itself such a refreshing change than just women), it was very interesting to see what is considered sexy for both sexes.

    Needless to say, all the women got high marks in this shoot, and every single one of them wore clothes that exposed arms, cleavage, legs, etc. And they all got their “sexy” poses right, according to the camera-man.

    The men on the other hand were totally clueless on how to “pose” sexily….Most of them chose to stand really really stiffly, with barely any emotion on their faces….apparently “emotion-less stiff” was what most of these guys had in mind.

    And the clothes that the men wore covered them completely, ie. long sleeved button down collared shirts, neatly-pressed suits. etc. NONE of them exposed their legs, or arms, or stomach…there was a hint of chest, but that was about all.

    It’s interesting to note that society’s take of what clothes make a woman sexy invariably has them exposing arms, legs, cleavage, stomach, back (but not altogether at once, of course!), whereas for men, exposing your arms, legs, or showing off your chest, stomach or back will get your kicked out of of most establishments. I mean, just take a look at the Oscars.

    Sorry for derailing. But I always feel the need to comment when there is the assumption that it is just as easy for men as it is for women to dress “sexily”.

  48. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm |

    Timothy, what’s the point in all of this? Are you under the impression that women are born with full awareness of how to fit the fashion industry’s standard of sexy? The point the original commenter was making is that being sexy all the fucking time is tough, and that pretty much includes all the socialization you need to get to that point (if that’s what you so choose). Pointing out that it’s tough for men because they haven’t been forced to fit that standard because it’s so valued by society doesn’t make a case for men. Sorry, bud.

  49. prowlerzee
    prowlerzee April 26, 2010 at 11:59 pm |

    Thanks, Red Sonja! Everything you said. Whew…Absurdity faces a tough crowd here!

    And for anyone who thinks that those who understand and enjoy absurdity must necessarily be unaware of the One Million Signatures, and of what courageous Iranian women have been doing in their own fight, and what befalls Iranian-American women who try to cover that fight (THANK you, Secretary of State Clinton, for freeing Roxana Saberi!), please don’t presume we don’t follow and seriously support those efforts.

    In fact, this one was not about Iranian women. This was a snide remark aimed at western women, and I’m thrilled there was an appropriate response.

    And as far as the U.S. goes, this is an issue here at home, too. Remember the minor furor over Hillary’s cleavage during the last election.

  50. timothynakayama
    timothynakayama April 27, 2010 at 12:21 am |

    Hi Pretty Amiable,

    I am just responding to Tasty’s comment above. I actually agree with her that men should dress sexily as well. Why always all the focus on women, ie, women being the objects and never the viewers? If we could just shift that so both men and women can be the viewers, wouldn’t it be better?

    How does that English proverb go…? What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? Apologies if I have got it wrong.

  51. bibbityboop
    bibbityboop April 27, 2010 at 5:26 am |

    Taiwan quake:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/26/world/asia/26quake.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    I say that now that we know we have control over such power, we should harness and use it to take over the world. Maybe with a little practice, we can aim earthquakes and other natural phenomena at locations of our choosing, taking out specific targets…

  52. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 27, 2010 at 5:28 am |

    @RedSonja, if the idea was to prove that dressing immodestly doesn’t cause earthquakes, it didn’t do so. I’m not sure why that’s confusing.

    @Sheezlebub, thanks for continuing to express things so damned well.

  53. RedSonja
    RedSonja April 27, 2010 at 8:01 am |

    @samantha b

    Except that earthquakes happen every day. Perhaps I should rephrase – Jen wanted to see if we would cause more earthquakes than usual.

  54. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 27, 2010 at 8:18 am |

    And as far as the U.S. goes, this is an issue here at home, too. Remember the minor furor over Hillary’s cleavage during the last election.

    Oh, yes, and feminists responded with boobquake. . .oh, wait. We didn’t.

    But do get into a lather of righteous indignation over what some gasbag thousands of miles away supposedly said about Western women. OH NOES.

    Except wait–the comment wasn’t aimed at Western women.

    “A divine authority told me to tell the people to make a general repentance. Why? Because calamities threaten us,” said Sedighi, Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader. Referring to the violence that followed last June’s disputed presidential election, he said: “The political earthquake that occurred was a reaction to some of the actions [that took place]. And now, if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God’s power, only God’s power … So let’s not disappoint God.”

    The Iranian government and its security forces have been locked in a bloody battle with a large opposition movement that accuses Ahmadinejad of winning last year’s vote by fraud.

    Ahmadinejad made his quake prediction two weeks ago but said he could not give an exact date. He acknowledged that he could not order all of Tehran’s 12m people to evacuate. “But provisions have to be made … at least 5 million should leave Tehran so it is less crowded,” the president said.

    The welfare minister, Sadeq Mahsooli, said prayers and pleas for forgiveness were the best “formulae to repel earthquakes. We cannot invent a system that prevents earthquakes, but God has created this system and that is to avoid sins, to pray, to seek forgiveness, pay alms and self-sacrifice,” Mahsooli said.

    Call me a humorless feminist harpy, but what’s absurd is the level of outrage by relatively privileged Western women who claim to know of all of the issues Iranian women are facing and then paper them over with boobquake because, after all, it’s teh funny. If you actually fucking knew what the fuck was going on there, if you’d bothered to give a shit, you’d know that this quote was pretty goddamn calculated to frighten and shame people into pressuring women (and protesters from the last elections) in Iran to cease and desist their actions.

  55. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 27, 2010 at 8:26 am |

    No, 6.9 earthquakes don’t happen every day, Red Sonja.

    Nevermind that this is not much of a goal in of itself: to see if there are more earthquakes than usual. If you aren’t actively doing anything to show solidarity for Iranian women, and you’re just out to mock the edicts of Muslim clerics, then the point remains that Pat Robertson has made similar edicts, and we should stick to our own turf. Otherwise it does start to look pretty ethnocentric and arrogant.

  56. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. April 27, 2010 at 8:34 am |

    Also, I would add that if you look at Sedighi’s original quote, he says that, “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” which would suggest that it’s adultery that cause earthquakes. The immodesty precipitates illicit sex which precipitates earthquakes, he claims. So if all she wanted to do was make a point about the causality of earthquakes, she should have really organized a mass adultery-fest.

  57. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 27, 2010 at 8:48 am |

    If you aren’t actively doing anything to show solidarity for Iranian women, and you’re just out to mock the edicts of Muslim clerics, then the point remains that Pat Robertson has made similar edicts, and we should stick to our own turf. Otherwise it does start to look pretty ethnocentric and arrogant.

    Seconded.

  58. Jelperman
    Jelperman April 28, 2010 at 10:13 am |

    That’s my issue with Boobquake, too — what is it doing, exactly, except mocking Those Misogynists Over There? I mean, that’s not a terrible goal, but Pat Robertson basically said the exact same thing about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and there wasn’t the same kind of action taken against him.

    I’m for mocking and ridiculing Fundies no matter where they are. Should Bill Maher have refrained from making fun of the Pope? After all, he’s “over there” in Rome.

  59. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 28, 2010 at 10:21 am |

    Yes, but we haven’t seen the same kind of reaction or outrage when a White Christian over here parrots drek like that. And considering the fact that it’s Christians who are in the majority of wealthy Western countries, and have far more power to affect my life (and the lives of Muslims–see: the invasion and occupation of Iraq, etc.) it’s hardly the same.

  60. Jelperman
    Jelperman April 28, 2010 at 11:34 am |

    Are you saying Pat Robertson wasn’t mocked for his idiotic statements about ?

    Of course he was -and he deserved it! I remember when Robertson and Jerry Falwell said on live TV that the 9/11 bombings were the result of homosexuality. There was quite an uproar.

    Boobquake reminds me of when Michael Moore got an all-gay choir to serenade gay-bashing senator Jesse Helms. Ridicule is a very effective weapon against fundie morons, and it should be used more often.

  61. Jelperman
    Jelperman April 28, 2010 at 11:40 am |

    Nevermind that this is not much of a goal in of itself: to see if there are more earthquakes than usual. If you aren’t actively doing anything to show solidarity for Iranian women, and you’re just out to mock the edicts of Muslim clerics, then the point remains that Pat Robertson has made similar edicts, and we should stick to our own turf. Otherwise it does start to look pretty ethnocentric and arrogant.

    Is it “ethnocentric and arrogant” when people make fun of the Pope for his role in covering up child rape? Does someone need to show solidarity with the altar boys who were molested to ridicule pedophile priests?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m5uDXiciqk

    I think not.

  62. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm |

    To the extent that people are freaking out over what a cleric in Iran said? No. Not really. As for mocking the Pope for covering up child rape, it’s arrogant if you do so under the guise of standing up for these rape survivors while simultaneously erasing them.

  63. Lilith
    Lilith April 28, 2010 at 11:23 pm |

    I heard about both Boobquake and Brainquake and proceeded to laugh at the idea that wearing “revealing” clothing could cause an earthquake. After the laughter died down, I began to think. I’m a college honor’s student and I realized that “revealing” means more than just showing off your breasts. In some cultures, showing the ankles is considered too revealing.

    So what did I do?

    I put on a pair of capris and went to my philosophy class to debate against Descartes. I think that covered both bases.

    There is slut-shaming going on with the whole Brainquake thing. I don’t like to wear high collared shirts. Occasionally, some cleavage is shown as a result. It’s not the end of the world and I don’t think that’s something people should even consider. Is a little flesh the new sign of the apocalypse?

    No.

    What could be the end of the world is the fact that women have to be either smart or beautiful. Why can’t we be both? At least in the places I’ve always found myself in, it’s been a choice between smart or pretty–virgin or whore.

  64. Bethany
    Bethany May 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm |

    Why not combine the two ideas? It is possible for a woman to show off her body and be intelligent, and I think that is what women should do to celebrate being women.

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