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. Jeff

    Make sure it's not just for titillation

    April 23, 2010 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Luke

    Attending this event could be a hand full.

    April 23, 2010 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    What if an earthquake does happen? Will we be considered Islamic then?

    April 23, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sim

    Women will find any excuse to bring attention to their chests, or themselves in general. This is like that facebook "breast cancer awareness raising status update" thing, where you post your bra color and nothing else. Mot people didn't even realize what the hell it was. This is the only reason it's gaining so much popularity.

    April 23, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew

    PZ Myers actually has a pretty big following, and Jen's rather frequently mentioned there. So when PZ linked her challenge to his blog, this was bound to get attention... but the amount is truly astounding. Word spreads quickly.

    Oh well, I welcome the day, I think earthquakes are fun.

    April 23, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gnash

    Oh please, ask any gal on any balcony in New Orleans during Mardi Gras; exposed boobs do not cause earthquakes or floods either!

    April 23, 2010 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Brad

    Nothing will probably happen in Los Angeles...that is, if the boobs have to be real in order to have their supernatural effect.

    Then again, this might cause the big one.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Guest

    Awesome! I'll definitely be curious to see what the explanation will be.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    Not to be redundant, but I think Dolly Parton can really move mountains.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. Katherine Riebe

    It's ironic but according to biblical chapter in Genesis, God created woman, therefore, she has boobs. I'm sure Adam just loved Eve's breasts, and her babies, Abel and Cain also loved her breasts. How else would they be fed? Milk does a body good! Have a good Boobquake, I'm sure God would approve. After all, He created millions and billions of women with breasts for a reason, to multiply on the face of the earth. 😉

    April 23, 2010 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. RJ

    Tell Hojatoleslam Kazem Sadeghi to reread the Koran, These people are becoming more ridiculous every day. He needs a good therapist!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Payam

    Before jump u woman and girls jump into conclusion and go in the street and degrade your self by showing your great big cleavage U must understand the Iranian to Islamic mentality and the understand the metaphor that this guy is talking about his speech.
    I am an Iranian Kid that lived in Iran for the first 14 years of my life and them lived the other 14 years in USA. If it makes things any better I am not Muslim but Iran is my country and I love it to death.
    We all know that boobs, sex, nice legs, little bitty clothing is very tempting and makes people specially men very tempted in all the wrong ways and makes them think of the wrong thing they can do to that women wearing little clothing. I donot care how western you are any European men, American and Western man has been fooled, tempted and had wrong ideas by a women that dresses provocatively.
    Have you ever passed by a high school or if you have a daughter or sister, have you ever thought why the heck is she wearing at such young age or she is my sister and I dont want her to dress that way because know what men would think of her.
    This all stats at a very early age that we allow our kids both bog and girl, young adult both male and female to dress inappropriately in order to get the opposite sex attention, in order to make a think I am this and I am that. And thus idea behavior continues to adulthood and work place and we start looking at a women an object that a human been. U would never see a knowledgeable woman, self-respecting woman to dress half naked or even show her cleavage. We, I personally with both view and knowledge of western & Iranian culture have a great respect for woman. Bot just because I have mother and a sister and a girlfriend. Simply because I see how pure they are in their heart and I came to learn to have great respect for that. and I hate to see them look sexy just to get attention that way.

    What this person is (Emam or whatever) trying to see. he is putting a lot of responsibility on women to keep man calm and hold respect for themselves. So they would do a better job by learning from the woman heart not sex & cleavage.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Micah

    She needs to include Halloween in her experiment. Halloween has become another excuse for women to dress as scantily as possible.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Silence is better

    The problem with Jen and you all is that you are so materialistic, you cannot fathom the depth of the Iranian cleric's message.

    Its certainly not your fault at all. Jen and their supporters think naked women mean freedom. The fact is woman in west are been trained as sluts rather than mothers, daughters and sisters. They are been conned into thinking that shedding off clothes and seducing men along the way will put them in power. Hahaha.. WoW, that's a nice idea!

    I strongly believe that everyone should respect women. To respect a woman you don't have to give her the freedom to shed her clothes and think they are doing it because they are free, you need to respect them by covering them up and giving them the power to be good mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.

    I believe that you and Jen are illiterate.. and you are better off like that.. Forget Hurricane Katrina, Tsuanami and others.. think they were natural and keep shedding the clothes, you will know the gravity of the situation when your society tumbles down and it is bound to happen soon. Since Western woman are trained to be sluts not to be respectable member of the society, you will find your mothers, daughters, sisters and wives been the candy walking on the road... guess that's normal for you, eh?

    April 23, 2010 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin

    Of course it could fall flat it there happens to be a bad earthquake that day.

    April 23, 2010 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
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