Protest event: The Day of the Boob Quake
Published on the website of German weekly magazine “Spiegel” on 25. April 2010
Source (German) http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/gesellschaft/0,1518,691129,00.html
English translation provided by @germantoenglish
Because an Iranian cleric said that natural disasters are caused by improperly dressed women, US student Jen McCreight suggested on her blog that women should dress bawdily in order to prove that boobs do not cause earthquakes. The idea for Boobquake Day was born. It will take place on Monday.
Actually, Jen McCreight explained in an interview earlier this week, the whole affair started as a joke. After the absurd statement delivered by the Muslim cleric Kasem Sedighi during a prayer in a mosque in Tehran she had wanted to respond in an even more absurd way. The cleric had claimed that earthquakes are caused by women who dress lewdly.
McCreight’s answer: Let’s prove to this man that boobs don’t cause quakes – with an experiment: On Monday, 26 April, as many women as possible should dress as daringly as they are able to.
Boobquake day was born.
The small comment on McCreight’s blog soon developed a life of its own, went around the world, made it into the media. Soon a Boobquake event page was established on Facebook. Less than 24 hours after the comment was published, a five-digit number of women had declared their solidarity. More and more people picked up on the appeal and disseminated it.
Two days after the initial idea, first regional support groups were established to raise the number of participants. Meanwhile, about 155.000 women have announced they will wear wonderbras or low-cut clothes in spite of the risk of earthquakes. Even real demonstrations are part of the program: In the Canadian city of Vancouver 50 women have announced to be holding a Boobquake protest.
Silly form, serious protest
Although for McCreight the whole affair started off as a joke, it did not accidentally turn out grim and provoking. The 22-year-old atheist believes that her sarcastic comment so quickly grew into a worldwide campaign because more and more women, just like herself, are “fed up with ridiculous anti-science and anti-women claims like the one made by Sedighi, and sometimes light-hearted mockery is the best solution.”
And this is how it looked like:
“On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I’m sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble.”
Soon after that, the ground started rumbling for McCreight. Although the enormous response on the internet and in the media shocked her, and cut her off from communication – her e-mail account was deactivated after thousands of messages arrived. However, she adds some more factual points: It is about sending a signal, not about exposing oneself. Women who do not feel comfortable in a deep neckline could as well show their ankles – even this is regarded as lewd by some people.
Meanwhile, the whole affair is almost impossible to be stopped. The Boobquake event page on Facebook offers various T-shirts (“modestly dressed women seldom make earthquakes”). Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users have been invited to attend, and even key media in the US pick up the issue.
Head wind: Brain instead of boobs
Many women, however, are quite displeased with this. At the end of last week, an event titled “Brainquake” that was established in response to Boobquake captured the negative echo among other feminists best: McCreights action contributes to the sexualization of public space and debases women who are “forced to exhibit their bodies on a daily basis”. Way too many male supporters of the Boobquake events just can’t wait to finally get to see the “tits” of their female colleagues and friends.
Therefore, says Brainquake, to protest Sedighi’s absurd ideas women should rather show their “references, resumes, awards, and prizes” on websites, blogs, Facebook and Youtube. Nothing scares such men more than qualified women.
McCreight understands this point. Her first statement on her blog was merely a sarcastic comment, not a call for protests. If she had known how popular it would become, she would have chosen her wording more carefully, she said in an interview with the Australian news site News.com.
McCreight: “I don’t blame women who voice their concerns, since objectification of women is a legitimate thing to be concerned about – especially with the creepy posts some men are making on the Facebook event and blog post. They’re the ones missing the point a bit. ”
After all, Boobquake will provide evidence. McCreight will compare the number and strength of earthquakes on Monday with those in the past. McCreight, who is a student of Genetics and Evolution, of course knows that this is not sufficient to provide a scientific proof. In order to receive valid data it might be necessary to repeat the experiment – or use the earthquake data of Mardi Gras (a form of carnival)