April 22nd, 2010
05:31 PM ET

Blogger: Show cleavage to test cleric’s quake theory

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.”

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Filed under: Earthquake • Facebook • World
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. colleen schiefer

    Wouldn't promiscuity or looseness also relate to men as well as women?

    April 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. colleen schiefer

    Payam, you make sense.

    April 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. colleen schiefer

    "giving them the power to be good mothers, daughters, sisters and wives."

    Do you also give them the power to be good employees, good bosses, good doctors, good lawyers, good teachers, good accountants....?

    April 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. colleen schiefer

    If modesty is a priority, a woman can dress modestly without covering her face and head.

    But lets not blame women for promiscuity.

    Sex sells. Just watch television.

    April 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. colleen schiefer

    "We may be living in beautiful homes and driving expensive cars but inside we have become so hollow."

    Habeeb, your comment is a good point to consider.

    April 26, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. C

    How about observing world earthquake quest march by males and females who have cleavage to display?

    April 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kyle Gancarz

    The result: a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan. Women need to stop using their titties to make the earth shake

    April 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Beyond_Dimensions

    "giving them the power to be good mothers, daughters, sisters and wives."

    "Do you also give them the power to be good employees, good bosses, good doctors, good lawyers, good teachers, good accountants....?"

    Couldn't have said it better, Colleen. There is more to me than how I am defined by the men around me. The fact you would only ascribe women these roles is disgusting and archaic.

    April 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Don

    Why does the world not get upset about murder, drugs, starvation, political prisoners, homelessness, nuclear weapons, etc. but get so uptight about bare breasts? This is a strange planet indeed.....Let's have a G7 summit to get a prepared statement from world leaders to decide if bared breasts do or do not cause global strife....

    April 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    Its interesting how the Iranian Islamic people are contributing our world's science. Perhaps Obama will quote this discovery the next time he tells us how great Islam is.

    April 26, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bloodycelt

    The point is choice, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. An educated woman takes full responsibility over her own life, and pays the cost and reaps the rewards of her actions. Granted I do find scantily clad women rather annoying (I like self control, and dislike anything that affects it), but hey to each their own.

    As far as boobquake is concerned, I find it rather humorous.

    April 27, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. thomas

    this is stupid. if you really believe that such a thing is related to natural diasters then i dont know what you believe in. this is very disrespectful to many religious people, not to mention it is just increasing hatred towards middle-easterners in every way. if all we americans have time to do is criticize others without wishing to listen to their points of views then i sympathize for those who are getting a bad name. what difference does it make to mock someones beliefs... this is propoganda.

    April 27, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. cleric iran

    I got what I want dress off ten thousands ados aver the world that belive that they are clever

    April 27, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Laurelle Austin

    Go boobquake! There really should be an event called buttquake but that just sounds counter sexy and hazardous to one's health

    April 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Vinnie A

    This experiment didn't go well because of Taiwan quake. I know it is merely a coincidence but who's gonna prove that to those fanatics. So my sincere suggestion is to continue this experiment until there is no earthquake anywhere for a whole day 😉

    April 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
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