Is the “Boobquake” Worthy of a Stir?

ABC News is reporting that thousands of American women are channeling a Senior Iranian cleric’s statement last week about the relationship between boobs and earth quakes, as a challenge, and “testing” its validity by whipping out their push-up brows and hiking up their hemlines today.

She was not referring to male visual or behavioral response, but rather to the recent pattern of natural disasters. Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi said, “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes.”

Jennifer McCreight, 22, set off today’s events by responding to Sedighi’s comment with the declaration of it’s “Time for a Boobquake” and on April 26 she will display as much cleavage as her v-neck will allow.  By the end of last week, more than 100,000 women proclaimed they would join in via their Facebook and Twitter pages and celebrate “womanhood.”

Is the “organized” revealing of breasts liberating or does it an example of stepping over a cultural boundary?

Diana Riley Gasior, 50, told ABC, “I feel women have been forced to hide our breasts and we live with them everyday, so why hide them…I am proud to be part of this fun day to celebrate women.” http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/boobquake-today-cleavage-earthquakes/story?id=10474704&page=2

I do not believe that the male ogling of breasts is a “celebration” of women, however I do think it is important to point out that the banning of “cleavage” is a commentary on the body and not the clothes.  For example, if a woman with very small breasts wears a v-neck, and a woman with very large breasts wears a v-neck in her respective size, the reaction and discrimination would be different.  The bustier woman is likely to be considered more immodest and sexualized. Clothing is a debate of performance: que to the very different discussions of Hilary Clinton versus Sarah Palin.  This brings up a discussion of female bodies and the coding of clothing.

My biggest qualm is the cross-culture ignorance of the “call.” 100,000 American women are revealing more boob (than usual for each individual) based on the words of an Iranian leader based in a different location and cultural values.  Many other societies would argue that the wearing of stiletto shoes is oppressive, akin to the wearing of the burka  (in U.S. dominant opinion) however they are fixtures of cosmopolitan life here in the United States.

I do not think the call to cleavage is liberating or demeaning, but should develop lively discussion.  I do, however, think it is essential that we question our own “oppressive” cultural commentary before we make grave statements about one that we are geographically and socially distant.

Lia Avellino

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