The Iranian and Muslim response to Boobquake


I freely admit that Boobquake did not begin as social commentary on women’s rights in Iran or criticism aimed at Muslims. It simply started as a humorous “science” experiment to promote skeptical thinking and poke fun at the cleric’s hateful, superstitious view of women. Because Boobquake had such a simple beginning, many people have been tweeting at me that it is somehow anti-Muslim or anti-Iranian. Some feminists have complained that it ignores the real plight of women in Iran and is insulting to their struggles.

I could write a long post about why I disagree, but I don’t think this is my place to speak. I’m not well versed in Iranian politics, I’m not a scholar of Islam, and I’m not an expert of women’s rights in the Middle East. I’m just a feminist who likes to promote skeptical thinking and whose idea accidentally started important discussion.

But I have been getting immensely positive feedback from people who do understand these things. I’ve received dozens and dozens of emails from male and female Iranians (some still in Iran, some abroad) who have been thanking me for Boobquake and standing up against the ridiculous cleric. The only concerned emails I’ve received have been from people making sure I don’t think all Iranians think the same way as that man – and I definitely do not. I can’t share the emails here for the sake of their privacy and safety (especially for those still in Iran), but I am going to share some public statements that have been made. I think they speak for themselves:

An open message from Mina Ahadi, International Committee Against Executions and Stoning; Mahin Alipour, Equal Rights Now – Organisation Against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; Shahla Daneshfar, Equal Rights Now – Organisation Against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; and Maryam Namazie, Iran Solidarity:

Dear Jennifer

We wanted to write and congratulate you on ‘boobquake.’ As signatories to the Manifesto of Liberation of Women in Iran and Iran Solidarity, we felt strongly that it was an important act in defence of women’s rights and human dignity. This is particularly so given the silence of so many feminists who seem to have succumbed to the racist concept of cultural relativism that implies that women choose to live the way they are forced to. Clearly though, women everywhere want to live lives worthy of the 21st century and not under medievalism and religious rules. That is why you have received so much support from people in Iran for this action. This support is a reflection of a strong women’s liberation movement, which is leading many of the ongoing protests there.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi’s views are not merely those of a madman but of the state, the judicial system and the educational system. Under Sharia law, for example, a women’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s, women are still being stoned to death for sex outside of marriage (with the law even specifying the size of the stone to be used), women and girls are denied access to certain fields of study (they can’t be judges for example as they are deemed to be too ’emotional’), and they have no right to travel or even work without the permission of their male guardians. Like racial apartheid in the former South Africa, sexual apartheid demands that women and girls be veiled, sit at the back of buses, and enter via separate government building entrances. Yet despite 31 years of this brutality, women continue to refuse and resist, including by unveiling or ‘improper’ veiling, even though they are arrested, fined and harassed daily. This resistance is why every now and then leading clerics like Sedighi feel the need to intervene and blame women for some calamity or another. Acts of real human solidarity like yours helps to mobilise opposition to this misogyny whilst strengthening and encouraging the women’s liberation movement in Iran.

We look forward to working closely with you from now on and know you will continue to support our efforts.

Excerpts from Fault-Lines and Hem-Lines, by Samira Mohyeddin, an Iranian-Canadian feminist and activist wrote writes at Iranian.com:

What Brainquake conveniently fails to acknowledge is that preacher Pat and the 700 Club, do not run the United States government. However, Mr. Sedighi’s comments are the hallmark of the regime in Iran, a system of governance that has mandated that all girls, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike must cover their hair and dress in a modest manner from the age of nine on! Let’s talk about that! Let’s talk about the sexualization of pre-pubescent girls! These are not social constructs in Iran, this is the law for the past thirty-one years. Women’s bodies in Iran are legally not their own: women have no freedom of mobility, nor freedom to clothe themselves as they see fit. Brainquake’s churlish comparison between a woman’s CHOICE to show her cleavage and FORCED hijab is irresponsible and a further slap in the face to all those women being subjugated under such misogynistic and patriarchal laws. It is as reprehensible a comparison as breast augmentation would be to female genital mutilation.

[…] Boobquake was rightly making a mockery of a comment made by a moronic cleric in the Islamic Republic. Brainquake’s – HEY EVERYBODY WE HAVE BRAINS! – project is further unpalatable because of its pandering to a challenge that women should not even be engaged in; we should not have to sell ourselves and our accomplishments, we should not have to sell our boobs or our brains; if after more than a century of struggle for our inalienable rights we are still shouting these banal and insipid statements as women – perhaps it is us and our movement that needs a shaking at the core, and not mother earth. You see, I am not interested in being invited to join the Islamic Republic at its table; I want to cut its legs off.

[…] I am most proud of growing up and living in a society that did not try and shame my body, and that did not fascistically attempt to shape my mind. I am proud that I do not need the written permission of the male guardian in my family to board a train to Montreal. I am proud of my Masters in Women and Gender studies from the University of Toronto. I am proud that I am allowed to ride my bicycle throughout this beautiful city and I am proud that the country of Canada, for the past fifteen years has recognized my inalienable right to go topless, should I so choose to do so. But what I am most proud of is my ability to distinguish between something that is chosen by me and something that is physically forced upon me.

Excerpt from Women and earthquake: comedy or tragedy? by Khalil Keyvan:

Dear Jennifer

You, I and millions of people laughed at the Mullahs uncontrollably. Subject of ridicule, they have been for the past thirty one years; a rich source and inspiration for many original jokes. They have always been marginalized and hated characters in the community. However, no one could imagine that such social creatures could one day decide the fate of a people. Today, more than ever, these guys are hated for their unimaginable cruelty.

And who would have imagined that a stupid Mullah’s remarks about earthquake and veil would get such a broad coverage in the media. Seldom have such satires reverberated on such a scale across the world and united people in such a way. Your creativity and initiative has set in motion a truly global movement to combat the Mullahs and support the cause of women’s liberation in Iran, and this is much appreciated.

We all laughed together. However, my laughter is bitter too. As I laugh, the human tragedies in the past 31 years of Islamic rule in Iran is reviewed for me like a movie. This comedy reflects a massive human tragedy for a population that has borne the brunt of this savagery. For thirty one years we have ridiculed these Mullahs, while at the same time crying our hearts out. I remember my friends, tens of thousands of people who were executed by these thugs, my young friend who wished to play with his father who was hanged by the same people, and my own child who was born in prison and because of the unhygienic environment only lived for one month.

We know these clerics well by their nonsense but also by their associated brutality indicated by the unmarked mass graves, prisons and tortures. Mullahs, for us, mean women with absolutely no legal rights, compulsory veil and religious police. They are serial killers representing God on earth fighting enemies of god. We remember the men and women who were raped in the ghastly Kahrizak prison so as to break their spirits. And we are reminded of the thousands of men and women who are presently in the Islamic Republic’s prisons, under pressure and torture, and with some at risk of execution.

[…] The reason for writing this letter is first and foremost to express my appreciation of your hard-hitting ridicule of the mullahs in Iran and of religious fanaticism and your support of women’s rights. Women and all of the people in Iran need friends like you all over the world in order to free themselves from the hell they are stuck in.

Here are some public comments left on my blog by Iranians:

From farzam: I am an iranian and im totally familiar with theses lunatic comments. these idiots are uneducated and as you may know blood thirsty as well. anyway what you’ve done so far is just fantastic. i thank you from me and majority of iranians who just laugh at bubble head mullas. good luck with boob quake “movement”! wish someday everybody can live free!

From Mahsa: I am writing from Tehran. I love your boobquake idea…It’s good to see people care about the repressions in Iran.

From Irani: Dear Jen, you may have no idea yourself, but with this post you have served the cause of freedom for men and women of Iran in a very concrete and powerful way, and, as an Iranian, I want to thank you for that and to let you know that we owe you a great deal. It seems like you are also getting media attention for this, which makes me happy to know -you deserve every bit of that! Once this crazy regime of the apes is gone and Iran hopefully finds a chance to experience peace and freedom, you should come to Iran to see for yourself what you have contributed to!

From Nima: Hello and Salam and Hallo, I am an Iranian from Germany and I want to thank all you cool girls for this reaction to this dumb gouverment. Thank you. Peace through science and knowlegde.

And finally, media coverage from BBC Persia, for any of you who speak Persian:

Comments

  1. says

    WOW. This is just incredible Jen. You should really be proud. I know I am for just participating and understanding – and well, for knowing you. Thank you.

  2. says

    My husband is Iranian (he’s lived in the states for 30+ years now) and when I showed him your boobquake idea via facebook he laughed so hard I thought he was gonna have an aneurism. Whe he recovered he said “That’s the way to react to those psycho nuts who know nothing about reality let alone geology!”Two thumbs up from both of us!

  3. says

    This brought tears to my eyes. How amazing one blog post turned into a huge movement that reached so many. Jen you must be incredibly proud.

  4. says

    Some of the emails and messages I’ve been getting have definitely been making me tear up… It’s still somewhat inconceivable to me. What a butterfly effect, huh?

  5. mattjohnsonofaz says

    I support Boobquake. I think you should have “You Shook Me All Night Long” as your theme song. I address dealing with extremism as well as the problems in Arizona with “Common Sense Reloaded” Check it out on Facebook or at my blog. http://commonsensereloaded.blo

  6. pouria says

    Hi, i’m a persian who’s abroad. i just wanted to thank you about what you did. your initiative made everyone talk about iran ! so many people heard about our stupid mullahs and sutpid government, and how does the girls & women live in my countryso in the name of all the new persian generation, thank you

  7. Tudeh says

    Glad to read your response to your intentions.One minor complaint: Iranians speak Farsi, not “Persian.”

  8. Angi says

    Congrats Jen – I think what you somewhat accidentally have done is truley amazing. You have singlehandedly brought back the realities of the opression that women in Iran face into the public spotlight where I hope it remains. Keep Boobquale alive! Lets hope it becomes an annual event – I know me and my daughter will be participating!

  9. says

    Whoops, thanks for the correction. An Iranian referred to it being Persian, and I didn’t fact check it.

  10. says

    Wait, Wikipedia claims that Farsi is just the local name for Persian in Iran. Going with Persian, since that applies to everyone who speaks it, not just the Iranians.

  11. Joanne says

    What you did, Jennifer, was open up the eyes of the world to the incredible cruelty and repression of the women of Iran. So many turn a blind eye to what’s going on there. I’m so very glad that you’ve brought this to the attention of the world. The responses that you’ve received from Iranian women both in and out of Iran are wonderful. I’m glad they know that we DO know and we DO care about the brutality of women there. Bless you for what you did, and keep up the good work.

  12. Michael Ratcliffe says

    From an Illinois neighbor…congrats on what became a very serious statement by people all across the globe…just goes to show, inspiration for change can come from anywhere…

  13. ethanol says

    Wow. My first response to this cleric’s statements, and your response, was to laugh because his reasoning was moronic and your response was appropriately cheeky. I think it is easy here to forget the serious social issues that are hiding behind behind idiotic positions like this. How strange that sometimes the only way to get people to pay attention to serious issues is humor. Good work Jen

  14. Reality Check says

    Wow, that’s incredible boob bearer, here’s some positive affirmation for reducing women to a pair of mammaries. Let’s see you said you didn’t know much about the state of women in Iran, here’s some factoids, before the revolution women were allowed to wear miniskirts yet unfortunately were grossly under-represented in scholastics, after the revolution, women are not allowed to wear mini-skirts yet make up over half of the university students. Before the revolution, domestic abuse was tolerated by the benign pro-western dictator since women were considered little more than chattel, after the revolution women were granted the right to seek the protection of the courts. Before the revolution women who wanted sex change operations were often killed, after the revolution the state granted them protection mainly from their families and helped them seek gender election surgery. I know this doesn’t fit into the black and white propaganda picture feed to you on FOX/Sky, you want to believe a distorted reality were homosexuals are being executed by the thousands and no weekend passes without a stoning, unfortunately this is very much not the case. The government tends to be overwhelmingly liberal in Iran compared to the sentiments of the people, whether it is needle exchange programs, planned parenthood, gender assignment surgery, the leadership leads and the people are dragged along. You obviously don’t know the reason the veil was intro’d in 79′ ; fathers refused to allow their daughters to go to school because they feared they would be corrupted. Imagine a third world country just recently industrializing, traditional people migrating to urban cores and patriarchal heads hesitant to see their daughters fed into the public life of the city for fear they would wind up debauched, this created a roadblock where half the population were not allowed to participate in the public sphere. So the religious leadership stepped in, mandated dress codes and convinced parents to let go of their daughters so that they could contribute to society as more than a pair of boobs. Has the system outlived its usefulness? Perhaps in the northern parts of the capital it has, but in the vast majority of the conservative nation, removing the morality codes would simply cause conservative parents to pull their daughters out of society. Is this wrong? Sure, but why some can shoot for perfect ideals and flash their cleavage as their solitary means of self affirmation, the rest of the world must trudge by with imperfect solutions that achieve a statistical good, i.e. enabling the vast majority of women to participate in the public sphere as intellectuals, as workers, as politicans, etc.. while denying a few fashion mavens the chance to strut their stuff. I’m sure one day when Iran is no longer a third world/ developing country maybe the people can even pass laws against religious garments like they do in Belgium or France but until that day Iranians will just have to live simply knowing that the plight of frustrated exhibitionist is nearest the hearts of women with low self esteem the world over. Oh dear goodness, you don’t seem very traveled, but every time I’m abroad I always cringe when I see overdressed hyphenated Iranian women aping the local fashions with caked on lightening makeup, hopefully by the time Iran starts unveiling, the population age will have shifted a bit to the right and women will choose slightly less pretensions garments. God, I hope Iranian men in the homeland won’t have to start streaking their hair back , wearing more gold than fort knox and pretending to be Italian or Greek! How will mourn the simple days when you don’t have to worry about what you wear but rather just what you achieve with your life.

  15. aryotenn says

    For womens ! And against religious fanatics !Keep courage, you are not alone.A french visitor

  16. ltinter says

    I think your idea was great, and the fact that it has generated such an avalanche of responses, both positive and negative, attests to that. I was very proud to participate and explain it to wondering people and I will very proudly wear my “Boobquake” shirts I purchased for the cause from zazzle! Keep rocking the boat; it’s the only way drown the idiots who think they’re rowing.

  17. kristiangore says

    The capacity of the female mind for studies of the highest order cannot be doubted, having been sufficiently illustrated by its works of genius, of erudition, and of science. James Madison

  18. Gretchen says

    Reality Check,Sounds to me like you don’t remotely understand what this was about. It was about a cleric attempting to control women socially by bizarrely linking their behavior to a natural disasters. The American evangelist Pat Robertson does this all of the time– he claimed Hurricane Katrina happened because of too much tolerance of homosexuals, for example. When evangelists do this they are full of crap, no matter where they live or what religion they practice, and we should always mock their claims loudly and obviously. When they do things like this, THEY are the ones reducing the people they attack, not us for laughing at them.

  19. Nick Osborne says

    I love how this seemingly went from something as innocent as a dissenting opinion to an international phenomenon. While the Cleric’s statement was immensely outlandish, this is one instance that science completely trumps religion in all facets. What you’ve done is immeasurably important, not only in the case of civil rights, but in Women’s rights. Women should be as regarded as equal, or even in Higher regard, as men. Without women, we could not bear children, raise families, or in simplicity, see the beauty God has blessed Man with. It is Woman who completes us, it is Woman who makes us whole. It has been said, “Behind every great man, there’s an even greater woman.” Honestly, It should read “Every great man stands beside a greater woman.” Living together in this world is a partnership, as we all must work together, aside from our differences, beliefs, our personal convictions without sacrificing personal liberty or our ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Women all over the world should have the ability to speak, and do however they choose without fear and persecution from others who don’t share the same views. For one person to say to another, “You can’t do that” to someone who isn’t hurting or defaming someone else is an infringement on a persons simple ability to do what they are here to do… which is live their lives.If showing a bit more skin is how you show your defiance and rebellion to people in stuffy robes and might have their headdresses a bit too tight… then by Golly, I’m all for it. In reference to the previous article about the male “objectification” of women”, I humbly offer this explanation:There are some men who, in the midst of all that is polite and respectful, can only express certain emotions in a form of Neanderthal-esque communication. This would consist of whooping, hollering, whistling, grunting, etc. While some men may be capable of explaining their thoughts and emotions with the eloquence of Shakespeare or Frost, the ratio of those that can to can’t… is exceptionally low. Nonetheless, we merely mean to celebrate and appreciate the creation and the beauty of all that is Woman, because in the end, we can’t seem to continue life without you. It, in most cases, isn’t intended to be disrespectful or objectification… it is merely a reversion back to a pure, primal urge to enjoy the beauty that Women display. As to the Author, thanks for proving that there really IS more than corn in IndianaRespectfully,Nick in Indianapolis

  20. says

    You’ve done a wonderful job raising awareness, and ridiculing the mad mullah, you shouldn’t be afraid to capitalise on your new found celebrity.I hope to be reading more from you in the Guardian soon.

  21. says

    Wait, Wikipedia claims that Farsi is just the local name for Persian in Iran.I’d rather turn it around and say that “Persian” is English for Farsi, like “Japanese” is English for nihongo.

  22. Pam says

    Wow, Jen! I am very proud of you. One person CAN make a difference! Has Oprah called you yet? (teehee)

  23. says

    Boobquake was brilliantMockery is the only response to the ignorance driving clerics and men like them.And sometimes, some feminists can be as dogmatic and need to be just as mocked

  24. says

    Well done, Jennifer. You have, at least in some small way, helped make the world an ever so slightly better place. That is what I would hope everyone aspires to.brava.

  25. says

    I just want you to know how inspiring this was! And, it was quite fun to participate in too! It’s just amazing how something so small became so huge, and really captured people’s attention. You have done something amazing, and I am truly proud to have participated in a global event that brought such sexism to light.Thank you!

  26. Kiwi71 says

    Dear Reality Check, your comment that “…before the revolution women were allowed to wear miniskirts yet unfortunately were grossly under-represented in scholastics…”Well 30 or 40 years ago women around the world were in the same predicament: wearing miniskirts yet underrepresented in Universities and corresponding careers. Here in New Zealand, as a prime example, the mini-dress was fashionable in the early ’70s but women mainly worked in traditional roles, such as nurse, teacher, shop assistant or secretarial. Many other western cultures were the same, so you didn’t have to live in a muslim country for that to occur. Yet in these western cultures, opportunities have changed dramatically since then, with nearly equal opportunities existing for women now. This occurred without the need to wear veils, yet it did require change from the fathers and brothers. New Zealand males, while still slightly Chauvinistic overall, have dramatically altered their perception of females in their society. It is this admirable change that has allowed NZ women to have complete freedom to live their lives how they want. Why did they change? Society was allowed to evolve naturally. Again, I use New Zealand only as an example, and one which has been duplicated all over the western world. I also want to remind you and everyone, that the blogger Jen McCreight, started Boobquake in direct response to the alarming statements from the Iranian cleric. It is similar to Sheikh Hilali’s prayers in Sydney Australia in 2006, where he said, “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside and the cats come and eat it, whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat? … If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”Australians did not stand for that and I’m glad Jen McCreight has made a stand for this most recent sexist comment.Your response about day-t0-day life of Iranian women is off-topic, although very interesting.

  27. rchenry says

    I thought Boobquake was a bit of a laugh at a silly person’s expense and I quite enjoyed it. Islam is a problem to the world at large, not just in it’s oppression of women. It’s also a religion that doesn’t tolerate criticism all that well. In fact, one of the people who was involved in the Dutch cartoon affair last year was murdered, apparently by Islamists; recently, the South Park Bear affair created threats that the same thing would happen to the creator that happened to the Dutch cartoonist.We in the West have to ensure that our freedoms aren’t usurped by Islam. This doesn’t mean hating muslims, but endeavouring to free them of their religion.Events like Boobquake show the world how silly Islam really is and are a step in the right way without hurting muslim individuals.Thanks for a great laugh that has obviously had a serious impact on Islamists and some of the oppressed in Iran..

  28. Les Wright says

    Jen, be sure if you haven’t done so already to acknowledge the special risk taken by your supporters living in Iran still. An Iranian-Canadian client of mine with close ties to his homeland still is my resident expert on the subject, and he assures me that the authorities monitor electronic communications and crack down on what they see to be as subversion. Indeed, my client is deeply concerned for the very safety of some of his best friends because of this issue.Superb job. It may have all started tongue-in-cheek, but you have made a memorable contribution to social justice.

  29. sharonfinneganterleski says

    Well, the first comment brought tears to my eyes, and the rest of the comments were pretty darned awesome, too. I am so proud to be your fellow American woman and feminist! Can we go after those fake-blonde helmet-headed poodle-permed American church “ladies” who don’t have enough gumption to stand up for themselves in *this* country, next?

  30. sharonfinneganterleski says

    From a woman who has identified herself as a feminist since 1974 (the year I turned 18) let me clearly and unequivocately state: Reality Check, you need a Reality Check. You do not speak for me or for anyone else who is a feminist. You are in fact, a strident bitch who needs to loosen your corset — regardless of your gender.

  31. Joe_Z says

    Speaking as an Iranian, I use the word “Persian” when speaking English because when English speakers hear it, they connect it with a culture that’s been around for centuries, a culture with which they’re at least vaguely familiar. There’s very little difference between today’s Farsi and the language of the Persian poet Ferdosi, who wrote about a thousand years ago. Indeed, there’s greater similarity between Persian today and a thousand years ago then there is between the English of today and that of a thousand years ago. (There’s even a compelling case to be made that Ferdosi’s poetry saved the Persian language, but that’s a story for another day.)Anyway, yes, Farsi and Persian are the same language, just like Japanese and Nihongo, Spanish and Espanol, and German and Deutsch. I would not insist that an English speaker say “Farsi” instead of “Persian” any more than I would insist that a Spanish or Persian speaker say “English” instead of “Ingles” or “Inglisi”, respectively. Just my two cents.

  32. dianegee says

    I followed and encourage the movement, both irrelevantly and humorously across my blog, and the many places I cross-post. Here in Michigan, it was HUGE, across everything from Ann Arbor to Dearborn. You started a CONVERSATION; and that is the BEST thing we citizen journalists can do. I am proud to have supported you, no matter what your level of expertise in things Muslim. You see, I believe, firmly, being in a multi-cultural community; that extremists need to have the dialogue taken away from them or they move the Overton window. The opposing side has a RESPONSIBILTY to satire, argue, or otherwise defray their rhetoric.In simpler terms? You done good, girlfriend. Cross post to me anytime!

  33. SiaPar says

    “we felt strongly that it was an important act in defence of women’s rights and human dignity. This is particularly so given the silence of so many feminists who seem to have succumbed to the racist concept of cultural relativism that implies that women choose to live the way they are forced to.”Could not have said it better myself. I’m an Iranian myself (living in Australia), and I shudder when I see so called liberals in the West who in the name of cultural rights uphold Islamic practices that restrict, degrade, and humiliate women.

  34. jadehawk says

    just to be pedantic, that should be “a tempest in a D cup” ;-)but yes, that so should have been the tagline for BQ!!

  35. says

    Jen, congratulations on such a huge success! This was indeed the joke that shook (ahem) the world ;-)anyway, I find it silly to suggest that boobquake reduced women to their boobs. This was a SCIENCE experiment, after all!Besides, nudity is actually a well-known form of protest. I vaguely recall learning about local women’s organizations in Africa (I forgot where, sorry) protesting by doing a sort of naked sit-in, because it freaked the men out, and they got what they were protesting for :-)

  36. says

    oh, I should add that generally, I’m against the fact that our own culture often demands women to wear revealing and uncomfortable clothing.but the solution is not simply to cover up (just like the solution to being forced to cover up is not to be forced to dress more revealingly than what one is comfortable with), but rather removing the power of others to tell women what they can or cannot wear. the only solution is for women to regain independence and to their own bodies from law and social pressures.And participating in a global protest/piece of performace art/science experiment is doing precisely that, as far as I’m concerned :-)

  37. Jefe says

    Wow. Somebody is definitely drinking the Mullah’s, and the Iranian Dictatorship’s, Kool-Aid. Must be nice to live in such a free and tolerant society. I’m sure that Neda Agha-Soltan wouldn’t agree, but who’s counting.

  38. says

    What you are supposed to do, you see, is to learn which people …. and make list of them to keep track … that you are supposed to check with first. Then if they don’t tell you to shut up, then you can proceed. Or not.What astonishes me is how many ways people do have to say “shut up” but at the same time refuse to recognize that they are telling people to shut up. OK, I’ll shut up now.

  39. Victori says

    I hope you get to read this amidst all the other comments.Cecil Adams wrote an interesting little piece which relates closely to this. During the witch hysteria in England, I believe in the 1700’s, some women were accused of causing natural disasters by witchcraft. When the accuser was asked what they did, he said they *took their stockings off*. The judge, a rationalist, asked the women to take off their stockings there and then in court. Nothing happened, of course, so he acquitted them. Look this one up!victoria.haliburton@sympatico.ca

  40. says

    you are my hero, I love you :Psocial equality shouldn’t be tip-toed around. We have a declaration of human rights for a reason! :)

  41. rutybear says

    One of the best “scientific” experiments ever!Good on you Jennifer, I hope to be involved in more ‘ground-rocking’ experiments in the future :)BTW, I flew across international borders on Boobquake day, had to ‘hi-five’ a whole bunch of women doing the same in two countries!

  42. bethsdad says

    I had always assumed that Boobquake had nothing to do with feminism and everything to do with science. It was simply an experiment. Back about 10 years ago Pat Robertson warned that the people of Orlando were risking increased tornadoes by allowing gay pride flags to be flown in their streets. Janis Walworth, co-founder of the Center for Gender Sanity, wrote an article in which she attempted to correlate gay people and natural disasters. She found that there was no correlation but that there was a very high correlation between the number of Baptists in a state and the number of tornadoes in that state (r = .68, p = .0001). As she says in her article, correlation is not causation so perhaps Baptists just like tornadoes and move to states with lots of them but if tornadoes are caused by people the God doesn’t like then clearly it’s Baptists that God doesn’t like. ;)Anyway, the point is that if someone is going to make a religious claim that can be tested by science then it would be crazy not to test it.

  43. says

    This is one of those Wonderful World of Language things. When people who speak one language try to transcribe what they hear another person say it can look really weird to the native-born speaker. When you look at Pers- and Fars- it’s obvious that somebody wrote what they mis-heard. Brian Friel’s play Translations centers on how the British colonial forces tried to write down Irish-language place names using English phonetics and totally mangled them in the process.Anyway, I want to congratulate you on becoming an Officially Recognized International Troublemaker!. Not many people get to achieve that at such a tender age! I hope Stanford realizes now what they passed up on.

  44. says

    It sort of had to be “Boobquake” didn’t it? Breasts are so scary/exciting to so many people that they are the only thing that could make people sit up and notice how screwed up things are in the more sexually-repressed cultures. “Brainquake” just won’t cut it, and while it would be funny I don’t think CNN would have covered “Ballquake.”

  45. madmike1 says

    Today Rush Limbaugh is calling the Gulf oil spill the work of “environmental whackos.” Two weeks ago he was calling the Iceland volcanic eruption “god’s punishment.” Then as mentioned in this forum, there is Pat Robertson and the rest of the religious extremes. So, why not boobquakes? Anyway this is a beautiful site. I was led here by modemac and I will most definitely return. I am linking you to my blog-roll at MadMikesAmerica. This is an excellent read; most insightful indeed and I thank you for it.

  46. geraldfnord says

    That scepticism and rationalism is the ultimate threat to Iran’s régime, and all those like it.Of course, I like to see cleavage (usually), so I’m biased…

  47. jack says

    i’m just glad there is an experiment i can put my whole support towards… as in support from cleavage enhancing bras…. : )

  48. extrinsecus says

    You just heard one sentence from the Iranian clerics and you proudly exposed your breasts. Oh.. holy smoke! Can anyone imagine how much the Iranian woman have changed during the last 3 decades, all the times hearing continuos speeches of the clerics?

  49. jeanrobertprimeau says

    As a man concerned about the rights of women in Iran and everywhere in the world i think your initiative is pure genious ! If I would have boobs, they would have participated in the quake ! Am an atheist also. So if you ever need my help, feel free to write me !Bye bye !

  50. Stefan says

    While I appreciate boobs and cleavage in general and not only in a political context, I think this was a great idea and perfectly demonstrates the absurdity of religion and politics. And a big “f… you!” to all women who want to tell other women what to do with their bodies as well. ;-)

  51. Jan says

    I really don’t think endeavoring to “free” Muslims from their religion is such a tolerant and enlightened thing to do… Has been tried before, by guys in metal shirts with swords & crosses & stuff… (I know this was a cheap shot, but couldn’t resist after seeing this comment) By the way, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt you “as an individual” if somebody would call your beliefs silly and tried to “show you the right way”?Jen, absolutely fabulous idea, boobquake rules! You know that to prove something “scientifically” you need to repeat the experiment more than once? So when is the second try going to be? :-)

  52. michaelzakaria says

    Ancient Persians, as a tribe distinct from the Medes, hailed from the modern-day province of Fars, which in the ancient Persian language was rendered ‘Pars.’ They called themselves the Parsa. The Greeks hence called them ‘Persis,’ which later rendered in English as ‘Persian.’ While all this was going on, on the other side of the world the Persian language itself evolved to replace the P with an F. Unfortunately, the Western World still kept the original P and didn’t revise the demonym. That’s fine, though. I am Persian, and I don’t care either way.

  53. says

    jeanrobertprimeau – maybe it will happen next year – and in that case you have time to convert to a Standard American Diet – AKA SAD – and you too can have boobs – manboobs! :D

  54. says

    Hi,This is Rajiv & I am from INDIA. I have been following you from almost the beginning of BoobQuake, after that moronic cleric gave those comments….which made me LMAO…. :) I Thought, wt else can I & should I do…then I came across #boobquake and instantly, it hit my mind, that’s the perfect way to go. I just want to thank you & congratulate you on this & would like to assure you that many other freedom-loving, democratic people are always & will always be there with you. GOD BLESS YOU. Best Of Luck

  55. rich1234 says

    Dear Jen,I thought what you did is really funny. I am a boob guy and I love to see women with beautiful boobs. :} Seriously. one thing I disagree with Islam or religion in general is that it takes away every right of a human, especially from women. For instance, women are not allowed to get an education, women are covered in the silly Berka. Why can’t a woman show the beauty of her body? How can any man not attracted by a pair of nice boobs? It’s only natural.

  56. says

    Oh, those comments just bring tears to my eyes. Just as the Iranians hope that we don’t judge them by their mullahs, we Westerners hope that we aren’t judged by the radicals we have here that make us look so intolerant and racist.As an American woman, I wish to say to everyone the world over–particularly in Iran–that I believe we’re all just citizens of the world, brothers and sisters separated by many generations, but part of the human family. I hope that one day we will be able to have peace amongst us all so that we can meet face to face and see each other for who, not what, we are.

  57. says

    I have no intention of raining on Jen’s parade. If anti-fuqaha’ Iranians like it, that’s good enough for me. Just a tangential two cents, though: I suggest we stop our ears when the “world community”, aka the US/UK Axis, tries to justify the upcoming nuking of Iran partly in terms of the liberation of Iranian women, as it surely will. We heard this one in Afghanistan, and it was swallowed whole by everyone who had forgotten the golden age of Afghani womanhood in the sixties and seventies, or had not previously known where the place was. That is to say, the period as a Soviet satellite and under Soviet occupation when the imperial power tried to modernise the country, encouraging female education and employment and so forth. In this respect the Russians had the same aim as we profess now, made considerable progress, and what was their reward? Why, we armed the misogynist hill tribes against them, we raised holy war to drive them out and called it freedom-fighting when the beardie-weirdies trashed the girls’ schools. The mujihadin and their successors the Taliban were all our own work, and therefore the Talib oppression of women is all our own work too. Ladies, our rulers do not give a flying fuck about women anywhere, other than as wage-slaves and taxpayers. But they have nothing against “useful idiots” who will support a geopolitical conquest because it is allegedly being done For Wimmin. What did the Bush-Cheney “regime change” do for Iraqi women, hmmm?

  58. says

    I celebrated Boobquake day by being a scandalous slut: I didn’t cover my hair, I walked alone down the street and shook peoples hands in greeting. Even hugged a male acquaintance, and let someone see my ankles (I’m a whore, I know, eh?). I’m mildly insulted that I didn’t cause an earthquake, to be honest, I think it’s a slight to my femininity…;) Much love from Canada, Sweetheart. <3Bergie

  59. Can says

    Please dont believe him.he is talk to person who are ignorance.He talks for protect moral practices.Islam is a religion which protect family life and moral practices.

  60. Ayatollah says

    “I’d rather turn it around and say that “Persian” is English for Farsi, like “Japanese” is English for nihongo.””Farsi” is Arabic for “Parsi” (there is no letter in Arabic)

  61. mark boast says

    What I like about the Boobquake phenomena is that it represents women standing up and speaking en masse to those men who believe it to be their sole responsibility to tell other humans how to live their lives. We only occupy one planet and our lives are finite. There is no place or time for those who do not believe in freedom. Go girls!

  62. says

    I take your point Jan. There are many people who would consider my beliefs silly, but at least I have the weight of rational science on my side.

  63. Donny says

    I guess the old cleric is so old that he’s so blind that h can’t see there are somethings wrong in his own home. He’s a coward for not being able to admit it.

  64. Rudy Rupak says

    HelloFirst of all congratulations on the boobquake movement and the amazing response you received on it. I would like to contact you personally to learn and dissect how you put this program together for a thesis I am working on. Please get back to me at your convenience. Again, good on you!Rudy

  65. Quake Time says

    http://www.time.com/time/speci…Where Will the Next Five Big Earthquakes Be?1. Los Angeles2. Tokyo3. Tehran4. Pacific Northwest5. Indonesia___http://www.persianstudents.org…Entry Date: February 25, 2005 08:28 PM (GMT)We’re sitting on a time bombNazaninI just cannot comprehend the fact that all these frequent earthquakes all around the country are neither moving the government nor anyone inside the danger zones including Tehran. Our beloved ancient land is apparently the hottest spot in the world for earthquakes, having numerous big and small seismological faults and being located in the intersection of massive moving plates.In the past 15 years we’ve had deadly earthquakes all over the country: Gilan, Azarbaijan, Khorasan, and twice in Kerman (Bam and Zarand) just in the past one year. Yet you don’t see any national plan to tackle this big danger, which in just a few minutes, could potentially kill more Iranians than the total number of casualties of the 8-year war with Iraq. If an earthquake in the scale of recent Kerman quakes happens in Tehran, we will witness the ultimate tragedy in human history with millions of dead and injured. Who is going to save the people? the grand 50-strong ambulance fleet? (is it not a shame, for a city of 12 million)? or the even grander fire engine fleet? who’s going to accommodate the patients after half of the hospitals collapse?When the Bam disaster was hot and a similar event in Tehran became everyone’s nightmare, scientists advised the government to start a mass migration policy by moving the capital and encouraging people to settle down elsewhere. But then in the past year unfortunately dirty politics has taken over with issues such as the nuclear talks and the castration of the government. The Zarand quake was a hint. wake up guys! Why do we always wait until the tragedy strikes? Is this a cultural problem, or pure ignorance?Comments…It’s like a huge cattle of sheep, they’re going to be slaughtered sooner or later, but while they’re alive they prefer to continue grazing and not to think about the butcher’s knife.The government is very short sighted, and people feel to weak to do anything….___http://drh.edm.bosai.go.jp/Pro…The Islamic View of Earthquakes, Human Vitality and DisasterMohsen Ghafory-AshtianyDistinguished ProfessorRisk Management Center of ExcellenceInternational Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES)…Reduction of a growing risk of disaster in the developing countries requires maximum public participation, which in turn needs scientific facts and methodologies to be blended with historical traditions, religious beliefs and indigenous knowledge. The objective of this paper is to apply the richness of Islamic teaching to the process of risk reduction, in order to develop an approach to risk communication and education that can be used effectively by traditional peoples and the religious community. The paper presents the guiding principal of earthquake risk reduction; the views of Islam on earthquake, disaster, God’s bounty, the Earth, good deeds, human behavior and human safety; and finally the issues of environment protection, risk management, safety and human life are discussed in terms of religious teaching. The dissemination of this type of knowledge can clear misconceptions and increase people’s understanding of and knowledge about disaster-related issues. This process is necessary for disaster risk reduction, improved safety and development, all of which can be viewed as demonstrations of God’s love for humankind.It should be noted that the author of this paper is not an expert in Islamic theology, but merely one who tries to benefit from the Islam teaching in order to create a stronger incentive and will for risk reduction in the Islamic countries. In the future this process will need to be strengthened significantly with the input of more expert knowledge….

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