Body Image / Objectification

“Boobquake” – Liberating or Limiting?

As most of you probably know by now, boobs can cause earthquakes. No, really. During Friday prayers in Tehran, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, a senior cleric, stated that “many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes.”

Sedighi’s claim, naturally, has brought an outcry from the feminist community. In turn, yesterday “Boobquake,” created by Jen McCreight of BlagHag, took on Sedighi’s accusation full force. The concept was simple – by wearing cleavage baring shirts, women would be able to show that breasts don’t have a great cosmic power over the earth. At first glance, Boobquake seems liberating, and clearly a deep v-neck is not going cause a natural disaster. But I have to wonder: is baring cleavage a constructive way to combat Sedighi’s claim?

I’d have to agree with Beth Mann at Salon when she writes that she “appreciate[s] McCreight’s intentions behind this; she meant it as a feminist response to a ridiculous statement. Unfortunately, it seems to be turning into something else, with many men chiming in, with their “show us your tits” camera-ready attitude.” Society is constantly telling woman that we are only as good as our bodies, whether they are baby makers or eye candy. “Boobquake”, though well-meaning, feeds right into this limiting concept.

I think that whatever you choose to wear, you should be able to feel proud and happy. If baring cleavage accomplishes that for someone, then that is terrific. But by showing a lot of boob, you are inviting people to look. I’m not saying that’s necessarily negative, but I think it’s a fact. Dressing a little more modestly is not always a bad thing; in fact, I believe that it’s ultimately more productive than a low-cut shirt. Of course, showing a little less skin has nothing to do with earthquake prevention – only with changing the dialogues from women’s bodies to women themselves. A woman does not have to resort to using her body to get attention, even if it’s to take on sexism. By fighting a ridiculous and chauvinist statement by exposing our bodies I think we ultimately miss the point. Next time, let’s lead with our minds instead of our chests.

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3 thoughts on ““Boobquake” – Liberating or Limiting?

  1. I am divided in my views on Boobquake. At first, I thought it was a cool idea. Then, the thread in which it was announced on Pharyngula quickly devolved in to a bunch of boys begging for booby pics, and girls saying they would accommodate. That isn’t feminism, and that isn’t constructive. It might still have produced the correct conditions for testing “boobs cause earthquakes”, but it at the cost of making a bunch of women feel they had to post slutty pics on the internet in order to be accepted as part of the cool kids. Because of that, I opted out. But I encouraged my husband to participate. If immodestly dressed women cause … earthquakes, so must immodestly dressed men. I give you: Penispalooza 2010.

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