It started as a college student’s snide response to an Iranian cleric’s assertion that scantily clad women cause earthquakes.
But as of Thursday, it had become much, much bigger.
Jen McCreight, a self-described atheist, feminist and geek “trapped in Indiana,” took issue with Hojatoleslam Kazim Sadeghi’s message during Friday prayers in Tehran, the Iranian capital.
The hard-line cleric, who was standing in for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, said women who dress provocatively – thereby tempting men – are to blame for the world’s temblors.
Read cleric story
“When promiscuity spreads, earthquakes increase,” he said. “There is no way other than taking refuge in religion and adapting ourselves to Islamic behavior.”
McCreight, who is pursuing a double major in genetics and evolution, took to her blog, Blag Hag, on Monday, demanding that the world’s women band together in a scientific experiment to test the merits of Sadeghi’s hypothesis.
“Time for a Boobquake,” she wrote. “On Monday, April 26, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. ... 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.”
She continued, “With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I'm sure [Sadeghi] can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble.”
Boobquake’s Twitter account quickly snared more tweets than a bird sanctuary, and its Facebook page had almost 50,000 “confirmed guests” as of Thursday afternoon.
“Nice to know that WOMEN are SO powerful that they can make men AND nature quake with a flash of her breasts! LOL!” wrote one visitor to the Boobquake Facebook page.
McCreight’s idea garnered so much attention, including criticism from people who feared she was making light of natural disasters, the Purdue University senior returned to her blog Wednesday to offer a “quick clarification.”
She acknowledged the widespread attention Boobquake had drawn and said a Canadian newspaper and an Irish radio station had requested interviews with her.
“Because I made a boob joke,” she wrote. “I just want to apologize if this comes off as demeaning toward women. To be honest, it started as a silly joke that I hurriedly fired off since I was about to miss the beginning of ‘House.’ I never thought it would get the attention it did. If I would have known, I would have spent more time being careful about my wording.”
She didn’t back off, however, and said she was asking women to don immodest outfits on the same day “for the sake of the experiment.” To allay concerns of unnamed scientists, she promised to collect statistics on the frequency and severity of earthquakes that day.
“And yes, I know I need a larger sample size to make this good science. Maybe I'll include Mardi Gras in my calculations,” she wrote.
She said no woman should feel pressured to participate.
“It’s not supposed to be serious activism that is going to revolutionize women’s rights, but just a bit of fun juvenile humor,” she wrote. “I’m a firm believer that when someone says something so stupid and hateful, serious discourse isn't going to accomplish anything - sometimes light-hearted mockery is worthwhile.”
Back on Boobquake’s Facebook page, McCreight took a moment to be serious and encouraged followers to consider donating money to the American Red Cross’ disaster relief efforts or to the AHA Foundation, an organization that strives to “defend the rights of women in the West against militant Islam.”
This has nothing to do with 'degradeing' yourself. It's basically a prank to prove to the world that human actions have nothing to do with earthquakes.
Anyone here ever heard of plate tectonics?
Other things that dont's cause natural events:
Women having jobs, reading 'banned' books, women driving cars, grocery shopping without a chaperone.
Is it safe to assume that all the women that have had implants will be to blame for any quaking events in Silicon Valley?
of course immodesty doesn't cause earthquakes, but feminists don't get it. They think by dressing scantly they are "freeing" themselves, but that's exactly what guys want them to do...
Henceforth, April 26th shall be designated "National Cleavage Day". Finally, a holiday really worth celebrating!
Oh yes, and there was an earthquake Friday in Chile - 6.1
I just want you to know that you really touched my day with your comment. Sex is beautiful.
I will go to Hooters on Monday to await the titilating results
Jen, I love this idea! You are uniting the women of the world to share the milk of human kindness.
does this mean that the richter scale will now be measured in cup size?
Good on you, Jen! The commentariat at Blag Hag are proud!
Let's make it a 10.0 on the Richter Scale!
It's unfortunate that many people are completely missing the point. Please read the article again, and then maybe visit Jen's blog and the Boobquake Facebook page BEFORE you start going on about nudity and promiscuity. Neither have a place at Monday's event, unless as an individual choice. That individual choice bit is really what Monday's event comes down to – to let women wear what they want. It isn't our 'responsibility' to control the urges of men. If anyone owes responsibility, it's the clerics that tell men it's okay to rape, enslave, beat and otherwise abuse their wives, because they are less than human.
In any case, I love my girls, I love the smiles they bring to my boyfriend's face. He, for one, is totally in 'support' of the event. I even apologized in advance, just in case we do end the world, to which he said, 'Seriously? Best end of the world EVER'.
@ Carl "of course immodesty doesn't cause earthquakes, but feminists don't get it. They think by dressing scantly they are "freeing" themselves, but that's exactly what guys want them to do..."
Thanks for telling us what we think. As a woman, I was very confused about what I was thinking when I chose how I wanted to represent myself, I guess. I thought the point was that women shouldn't be told they should be ashamed of their bodies and think of them as a source of sin, and should be allowed to choose how much or how little of them they wanted to reveal. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
And I guess this cleric must have forgotten that, as a guy, dressing scantily was exactly what he wanted women to do. Because it sounded to me like he wanted to forbid them from doing that. He must be confused, too.
I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that all men were pervs and all women were victims too dumb to know when they are being victimized, but maybe you could just trust a little that most women don't need to be saved from themselves. Freedom to choose how we live, how we dress, and how we think are some of the greatest things about living in a western democracy. As silly as #boobquake might be, it's really just about showing that we don't need to be held hostage by superstitious thinking.
How should we measure these quakes: cup size of the Richter scale?
Go Jen! Such a great way to raise awareness.
Wouldn't you be shocked if an earthquake happened on this day?
Keep up the good work!
This blog – This Just In – will no longer be updated. Looking for the freshest news from CNN? Go to our ever-popular CNN.com homepage on your desktop or your mobile device, and join the party at @cnnbrk, the world's most-followed account for news.