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. Pessimist

    An athiest, feminist, trapped in Indiana? I live in Lafayette, and I will pay for her bus ride out of town if she promises never to come back.

    Great way to counteract one stupid idea with another on her part. Good riddance!

    April 22, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    Breast cleavage hanging out in public is just as repulsive as a plumbers crack.

    April 22, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rt

    A LARGE ROUND of applause to CNN for keeping us aBREAST of this story!!!!!!

    April 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stein

    I suppose one could supplement this experiment by examining quake number and intensity by geographic region for a correlation to the quantity of immodest behaviour by women in those regions. We could start with the Pacific Ring of Fire vs the rest of the world for example. If we include volcanoes I'd expect to find a lot of bikini-bimbos on Iceland's beaches.

    April 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stormy

    The article on CNN says "promiscuity" not nudity causes earthquakes. It means women who have multiple partners sex with many men causes quakes, not showing your breast. Anyone can do that....its not the same thing. If any of these people in this article want to test the theory they need to sleep with a bunch of guys. And it doesnt sound like anyone is prepared to admit that or do that...so the theory will go untested I guess. I do have an ex girlfriend who's sexual behavior I probably could correlate to past earthquakes.....

    April 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Guest

    Why haven't all the beaches on Maui fallen into the ocean??? Maybe the theory is not valid!!!

    April 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lisa

    Haa ha... you guys are hilarious! Jen you ROCK!!!

    April 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    I suspect that manboobs negate the effect of female boobs in most locations in most locations on earth. So that the true effect of a boob power will be hidden.

    April 22, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Otto

    This will move mountains.

    April 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry

    Just think if the Iranian cleric were right – Dolly Parton could destroy the world........

    April 22, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim

    This is ridiculous, and at the same time sad. While I don't believe in Islamic practices and most certainly disagree with the idiocy of immodesty causing earthquakes, this "protest" is not right either. It's on the level of a college prank, and gives more attention to the man's message than it should be worth. Immodesty is wrong for even aetheists, and shouldn't be practiced. Bringing out lewd thoughts in other's minds, and distracting from the attractive intelligent mind is a "protest"?

    April 22, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    Please keep me abrest of this important situation!

    April 22, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Scott

    Will these women all be in the same place? If so, I want to serve as a witness.

    April 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rafael

    Finally science gets a little perky.

    April 22, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve V

    I got to the part about "athiest, feminist, and geek" and lost interest. But I think I'm with the Cleric on this one.

    April 22, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
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