As you may well have heard, today’s the Boobquake. The big test of the theory that lack of female modesty causes earthquakes. It’s been criticised on feminist grounds, e.g. here. Some of these criticisms get responded to at the first link. What do you think?
12 thoughts on “Boobquake”
Blaghag suggested women wear their most immodest outfits – not that we all strip in public.
I think there are two lessons to be learned:
How others react is genuinely out of one’s control.
Nonetheless, expect to be held responsible.
Since “you can’t control how others will react” is a mantra in the self-help literature, one wonders about why people feel entitled to blame her. Let’s try not to externalize our own defeatist mechanisms.
Or is this too harsh?
While I have mixed feelings about the boobquake, slut-shaming is definitely not the way to go. There’s some slut-shaming on the brainquake FB page so now I have mixed feelings about them both! Can’t we just have a plain old ladyquake?
That’s not too harsh, JJ. I agree. Beth Mann’s commentary was one-sided and sloppy. I followed boobquake gone viral very closely. I think the global response had more to do with the number of daily google searches for the word boobs than anything else. If blaghag had called her experiment Feminist Protest In Search of Good or Bad Science, she would have had a very different set of keyword search responses.
Not every response was negative either. There were men offering their man boobs to the cause. Also, a few Iranian men who actually have to live with that extremist’s ideologies commended JM for her interest in Iranian women’s political concerns.
Maybe it’s just because I have the luxury of living in a time&place where women have the right to go topless in public (provided they’re topless for reasons of comfort, not advertising any commercial interest, including sex work–which is also semi decriminalized here, under certain licensing agreements too complex to mention in this post) but I don’t have a problem with scantily clad women. When I see blogs written by women decrying the state of the world and the systemic objectification of a smart, pretty, consenting woman’s cleavage, I sometimes wonder if there’s some kind of envy or jealousy underlying the comment.
Sloppy coverage, yes. Slut shaming? Maybe some of the other commenters are guilty of this, but not Mann; not directly anyway.
I wrote about this today (http://inhysterics.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/you-can-keep-your-boobquake-thanks/). The way I see it, the problem isn’t with the idea of immodestly dressing, but with the sort of Orientalist thinking that this sort of activism promotes–i.e., the fundamentalist Muslims are so oppressive and ignorant, and we’ll show them with our liberated Western boob shots posted on the internet. Though I do think it’s worth questioning *why* this protest is about women displaying their bodies, instead of also encouraging men to behave un-chastely (since this was also a part of the original quote by the cleric in question).
‘Since when did we “stick it to the man”
by wearing low-cut shirts or short shorts?’
this seems off-base. isn’t the point to show the idiocy of the earthquake claim?? i mean, it’s not as if the boobquakers (i like that!) are encouraging women to dress like this all the time–as if the point of the boobquake thing is to say ‘it’s good to dress in revealing clothes’. the point is simply to challenge the baseless, woman-blaming claim. and that seems good. (i say that as someone who both joined the boobquake facebook group and isn’t about to show cleavage.)
maryb: you are raising an important issue. I’m not sure where I stand on it. It isn’t as though Western culture refrains from violence and hatred toward women. There does seem to be “o they’re so ignorant,” though, in many comments when Arabs do it. I know people who find this very offensive.
On the other hand, we here have called out US clergy who have made similar comments that link culture to natural catastrophes. Our guys (sic) are at least as good. I think we’d protest in a similar way any similar comment from a national Western leader.
Actually, I like to show a bit of cleavage, just a hint: I happen to have a rather pretty front. But I generally do not wear anything revealing to work or official do’s because I’d feel I would be judged for wearing inappropriate clothing. Which is constraining. I actually just like to look good, for me.
So, today was a nice excuse to wear something to an official do that I think looked pretty but which I’d normally not wear in those circumstances. No one ogled or looked disapproving, hehe, so I thought this was a rather liberating experiment, and… no earthquakes.
I’ve got the stomach ‘flu today so I dressed entirely for comfort, with a rather shapeless buttoning blouse. But I got ogled anyway.
Sorry, that was me – I didn’t realize my username wasn’t appearing automatically this time.
Really don’t see how “Boobquake” of this supports or shows solidarity with Iranian women, which I would have thought would be the most important thing for feminists to do under the circumstances.
JJ- I agree with you that it’s legitimate and important to speak up against ignorance and misogyny wherever it may appear. My issue is with the ethnocentric mode that this speaking-up is taking–which I think it does in the equation of immodesty with liberation or the suggestion (made more by others in the feminist blogosphere and the facebook group than by the founder herself) that immodest acts fight oppression. I also wrote a follow-up clarifying my position on my own blog.
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