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. Steve in CT

    Perhaps the cleric is mistaken in thinking it's an earthquake when actually only he himself quakes when visually stimulated in such manner. I'm thankful to all women participants in this HOOT of an experiment. GO HOOTERS.

    April 23, 2010 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. TheSpleen

    "sometimes light-hearted mockery is worthwhile.”

    There has never been a time in my life where light-hearted mockery was NOT helpful.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    Don't forget that you need the collaboration of men to disprove this theory!!!
    If we are not tempted by your promiscuity, you will have failed to prove this guy's theory. Therefore, please make an extra effort to SPREAD the promiscuity as much as possible.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. Carl

    Won't this produce a world ending "Catch 22"? The more boobs that are shown, the more the ground shakes, the more provocative it will be and then the ground will shake more. It will be a never ending Earth quake. Not that I don't think every legal aged girl should not be trying at least! 😉

    April 23, 2010 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mac

    “When promiscuity spreads, earthquakes increase,” he said. “There is no way other than taking refuge in religion and adapting ourselves to Islamic behavior.” - So, the earth's science comes down to "promiscuity"?? And theses people are in charge of running a country........No wonder the world is in such a mess......How "simple" can you get???

    April 23, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kathleen

    I'm an older broad (50) but with a great set of boobs.....so, I guess they will be my voice on Monday. These issues are headline news in Canada where we have an open door immigration policy but nothing in place to ensure equal rights, assimilation, etc. All great movements started somewhere-maybe this is where this one really starts!

    April 23, 2010 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Clair

    Now that is a Science experiment that I can get behind.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. inasilentway

    I say just whip them all out, surly it will be the end of the world, but what a great way to go.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kerri

    If promiscuity spreading is connected to earthquakes... why weren't there many more in the western hemisphere in the late 60's?!!

    April 23, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. sameeker

    I notice a correlation between islamic countries and terrorism, opression and extreme social inequality. Lets get rid of it and see if these things improve.

    April 23, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Antriad

    I, for one, would love to see a big ol' earthquake when this happens on Monday (though I don't wish anyone any harm or loss) just because it would be funny to see all the Islam clerics start babbling and spewing "WE TOLD YOU SO" and all the atheists muttering incoherent statements about coincidence. That would make my day. The boobs wouldn't hurt, either.

    April 23, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Guest

    Hi predict a 5.0 earthquake heading our way

    April 23, 2010 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    Hmmm... A new kind of seismic monitor...

    People and their stupid religions. Sex isn't dirty – its beautiful – and sexuality is beautiful.

    April 23, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. PaulS

    With great respect to your religious beliefs, please try to understand and accept that some people believe differently, or in Jen's case and mine, don't believe at all.

    Humans, are just like every other animal, which all have some way of attracting a mate for the purpose of carrying on the species. For humans, that frequently starts with appearance. In short, it is human nature for men to be attracted to women's appearance.

    The women who wear revealing clothing are not degrading themselves, they are simply poking fun at a silly statement, and at the same time poking fun at man's biggest (but completely natural) weakness: being attracted to women!

    April 23, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Deepdiver

    Can we have some tv coverage with woman bearing their full breasts? Of course it would all be in the name of science and accuracy!

    April 23, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
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