What to Make of 'Boobquake'?

Today, women gathered in Washington's Dupont Circle for a protest.
There weren't typo-ridden signs or rallying cries to pass legislation.
Instead, there were just a lot of low-cut shirts.

Jen McCreight came up with the idea for the protest
and proposed a
tongue-in-cheek experiment to test this claim by Iranian Cleric Hojatoleslam
Kazem Sedighi:
"Women who do not dress modestly ... lead
young men astray,
corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases
earthquakes."

So McCreight encouraged women to join her at "Boobquake" and "embrace
the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. ... With the power of
our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an
earthquake." As of today, Boobquake had over 53,000 fans on Facebook.

But coverage of "Boobquake" hasn't been entirely positive.
Gayle Force
points out
that "given a chance, I do
not think [Iranian women] would fight for equality that looks like women
wearing revealing clothing so men can get all into it and derail its
original purpose. We Western women? Are not exactly totally free,
either." Amanda Marcotte commented
that the event had "devolved into exactly what you’d imagine, complete
with drooling morons acting creepily titillated in a way that makes you
wonder if they’ve ever seen a woman naked in the 20-30 years that have
passed since they went through puberty." 

Not only is it somewhat unsurprising and disturbing to note that men
seem to be far more excited about women gathering to wear low-cut shirts
than the women themselves, it's a little telling that the D.C.
Event
seems to be organized by a reporter. That is to say, this
stunt has "media circus driven by the opportunity for men to ogle women"
written all over it.

Some feminist bloggers have defended the event, though. Frau Sally
Benz
responds
to some of the criticism, saying, "I have read about the 'show me your
tits' responses, but I think it’s crap to use that as a reason not to
partake in Boobquake. If you’re not comfortable with it, then fine, but
don’t slut shame other women for it."

For my part, I find the whole thing somewhat absurd. I'm all for
being lighthearted and fun, but I'm with Gayle in that exposing your
cleavage to the acclaim of crowds of cheering men in order to protest
the horrific conditions women face in Iran is tone-deaf.

No one needs to perform an experiment to prove that exposed
decolletage doesn't cause earthquakes. And as much as I support the
right of women to wear whatever they want, whenever they want, I'm
skeptical that this event advances equality for women living right here
in the United States, who are constantly subjected to groping, leering,
and street harassment, much less the women of Iran who face much worse.

--Silvana Naguib

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