Or, Why I’m Attending Boobquake
When I read about Boobquake, my first thought was, “Heh. Cute.”
Sedighi claims that not dressing modestly causes earthquakes. If so, we should be able to test this claim scientifically. You all remember the homeopathy overdose?
Time for a Boobquake.
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. And if we really get through to him, maybe it’ll be one involving plate tectonics.
I didn’t really think much more of it. The original proposition, that dressing immodestly leads to a chain of actions that includes adultery and the wrath of god in the form of earthquakes, was too silly to really get too worked up over. Then the reactions started.
Boobquake to me is a minefield of contradictions; women are choosing to get their breasts out in order to make a statement against sexism. For me, because we live in a society where women are treated like sexual objects, the statement falls a little flat. Sexism manifests itself in the UK through enforcing women to self objectify, tits out, will be assumed to be ‘tits out for the lads’, even if that’s not the case. Women in the UK are also pressured to cover up and told that if you show too much flesh you deserve rape. As I said, it’s a minefield. Maybe a statement of solidarity would be to challenge the ways we are forced into modesty/objectification in our own country whilst perhaps, supporting women’s organisations in Iran, and maybe fighting imperialism. I don’t really know enough to propose an answer to how to end sexism in Iran.
I guess my point can be summarized in the following sentence ‘Boobquake ignores the socio-cultural context of the country in which it is being performed, the relationships between Islam/atheism/imperialism, and as such is potentially an ineffective statement’
No. Just no.
These? These are my breasts. They are mine to dress as I please, when I please. Or not. Beyond that, they are no one’s political statement. They are plenty big and heavy enough on their own. They don’t need to carry the weight of women in Iran, in the U.K. or next door. They don’t need to bear the burden of a successful or unsuccessful atheist or skeptic or feminist event. There is no bra supportive enough for that.
So on Monday, after work (because work pays me for the privilege of dictating how I dress while I’m there), I’ll be putting on that bra. Then I’ll pull that shirt out of the closet and make sure the front isn’t laced too tightly. Then I’ll get together a group of friends and go out. We will not be seen and not heard. We will not keep our voices low or our eyes turned down. We will not be deferential in expressing our opinions or our preferences. There may even be some extramarital flirting. We’ll see.
And then, when we’re done being our most immodest of selves (but still ourselves), we’ll laugh. We’ll point at the man who was silly enough to connect our modesty to plate tectonics and desperate enough to need the ground to shake to get someone to listen to how he thinks we should dress, and we’ll giggle. We’ll laugh a little, too, at the people who thought that maybe we should be concerned about what the world would think–while we were telling the world we didn’t care what it thought. But that last will be gentle laughter.
Then we’ll get back to the serious work of beating our heads on the intractable problems that we care about, seriously, but over which we have very little control. We’ll confront sexism and religion-based oppression directly, to the extent that we want to and can. And we’ll do it all a little better for having had the release of ignoring everyone’s opinion on what we should wear, and a little laughter.