The Seismic Impact of the Boobquake Movement

Jennifer McCreight did not mean to make the Internet freak out over boobs and earthquakes. In fact, what we now know as the Boobquake movement started out as a boob joke. Last week, amid college homework, McCreight came across a comment by Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, who was quoted as saying, "Many women who do not dress modestly...lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity, and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes." That's right, bad girls literally make tectonic plates shift in discomfort, causing the earth to quake. (And here I thought earth-shattering was supposed to be a good thing.)

So McCreight decided to put the man's theory to the test. She offered up a modest proposal, inviting women on Facebook and Twitter to wear their most revealing tops this Monday to see what kind of seismic impact they might have on the world. Well, the results are in and, according to McCreight's blog, there were only 47 earthquakes on Monday, not an abnormal number based on U.S. Geological Survey figures. In other words, bosoms have no supernatural powers to move the planet. Sorry, ladies.

But there were at least some aftershocks. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were showered with thousands of cleavage shots from across America and the world yesterday. Websites like zazzle.com created tank tops with logos like "Did the earth move for you?" and "I survived Boobquake." And if that weren't enough, nobody can agree on whether this is a giant virtual leap forward for feminism or just an acceptable version of Girls Gone Wild.

Russell Blackford at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies is pro-show writing, "Strut your stuff, and don't let anyone make you feel ashamed about so-called 'immodesty'. Feel free to scorn the moralism of Islamic clerics and anyone else who tries to put you down." While Rutgers academic and feminist Golbarg Bashi called the idea degrading and started a new movement. "Let's create a 'Brainquake' and show off our résumés, CVs, honors, prizes, accomplishments (photo evidence) because the Hojatoleslam and the Islamic Republic of Iran are afraid of women's abilities to push for change," she wrote.

Regardless of what side you're on, both make good points. It is, after all, a ridiculous notion to suggest body parts are basically evil. But it's also kind of awkward to think women are sticking it to the cleric by showing off their stuff. He might not like it, but the rest of the world isn't as easily offended by shapely body parts. We are talking about the Internet here. No two pairs of eyes view the same image—even with context—the same way. That's how a boob joke becomes a movement, and that same movement becomes an accidental poster child for feminism lite, all in the span of seven days.

The Seismic Impact of the Boobquake Movement | Culture