Pharyngula

It’s weird what can suddenly go viral on the web. Jen is riding the tiger right now with her light-hearted ‘boobquake’ idea…and it’s getting picked up all over the place. CNN has a decent article on it, good because they let her explain what it’s about.

“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.”

Some seem to be getting a bit indignant about it all, and are taking it way too seriously. I think it’s great that people are willing to point and laugh at the stupidity of religious beliefs — I wish more would do so!

Comments

  1. #1 James F
    April 23, 2010

    Oh internet…is there nothing you can’t do?

  2. #2 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    I think it’s great that people are willing to point and laugh at the stupidity of religious beliefs ? I wish more would do so!

    *faints clutching pearls*

  3. #3 NewEnglandBob
    April 23, 2010

    I rate this DD :)

  4. #4 Glen Davidson
    April 23, 2010

    But is any bombing pointless? Or not fun (from the right distance)?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  5. #5 ambook
    April 23, 2010

    I’m actually making an exception to my “teenage girls shouldn’t dress like Seven of Nine” and allowing my daughter to participate.

    FOr all those complaining about Jen, modesty is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s (get this!) a personal choice! And as Xander on Buffy said, “I’m a teenage boy – looking at linoleum makes me want to have sex.” I would bet that people have more or less the same number of naughty thoughts when women are wearing burkas as when they’re wearing shorts and halter tops.

    You go, Jen!

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    April 23, 2010

    And BTW, what straight guy ever thought that shaking/quaking boobs were a lighthearted matter.

    Oh no, I take those quite seriously.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  7. #7 Qwerty
    April 23, 2010

    I think anyone who thinks cleavage causes earthquakes is a member of the booboisie.*

    Booboisie – an actual word. Look it up.

  8. #8 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    I would bet that people have more or less the same number of naughty thoughts when women are wearing burkas as when they’re wearing shorts and halter tops.

    I would bet against that, because it’s a nonsense claim proven wrong by everyday experience and social reality.

    But if women in burkas is all you ever see, a non-veiled left big toe might make you horny.

  9. #9 Randomfactor
    April 23, 2010

    Remember, guys, the proclamation which was the triggering point for this action.

    It’s not a real test if it doesn’t inspire some honest lust and, dare I say it, adulterous conduct on the part of the *MALES* as well.

  10. #10 Jeep-Eep
    April 23, 2010

    I saw it in the Globe and Mail. Made me lul.

  11. #11 tutone21
    April 23, 2010

    NOOOOOO!!!!!!! This is going to cause a major natural disaster!! Men we must band together to combat this by using the only means available. Each of us MUST wear a speedo that day to show off our genitalia. Otherwise we will end up back in the stone age!

  12. #12 ambook
    April 23, 2010

    @Rorschach

    But if women in burkas is all you ever see, a non-veiled left big toe might make you horny.

    I think, although I admit that I’m not 100% sure, that men in countries where women wear burkas know that underneath the burkas there are naked women. That’s the real problem – NAKED WOMEN ARE EVERYWHERE (even if many of them are covered by clothing).

  13. #13 Rey Fox
    April 23, 2010
  14. #14 SteveM
    April 23, 2010

    But if women in burkas is all you ever see, a non-veiled left big toe might make you horny.

    In olden days a glimpse of stocking
    Was looked on as something shocking,
    But now, God knows,
    Anything Goes.

  15. #15 alysonmiers
    April 23, 2010

    If it involves boobs, it will become extremely popular on the Internet.

    If that isn’t already a formally recognized and numbered rule, it should be.

    You know, I’ve been thinking that I could enjoy this as a spectator but couldn’t really contribute much as a participant, as I don’t have much in the way of cleavage. Since my boobs are tiny, I just don’t have a handy selection of revealing tops to wear outside and make guys horny. The most boobquake-worthy thing I could put together would involve showing the edges of a black lacy bra, and there is just no effing way I am wearing that to the office, even if it is a temp job.

    But now I realize: I can’t go to work all skanked up, but I can put a picture on the Internet! Will that count? I THINK SO.

  16. #16 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    I think, although I admit that I’m not 100% sure, that men in countries where women wear burkas know that underneath the burkas there are naked women.

    The *whoosh* sound you just heard is the point flying right over your head. Which is surprising, because it should not be so hard to grasp, if you come from a western country, where objectification of girls and women is ubiquitous.

  17. #17 tutone21
    April 23, 2010

    @ ambook #12 is on to something here. Under their clothes all the women are naked and they are everywhere. Who else thinks we should herd them all together so we know where they are and keep an eye on them? I don’t want them causing any more natural disasters with their breasts!!

  18. #18 tsg
    April 23, 2010

    “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.”

    This.

    Ridicule is not an inappropriate response to the ridiculous. There are some positions people should be embarrassed to hold.

  19. #19 Haruhiist
    April 23, 2010

    @tutone21, #17:

    NOOOO don’t you realize, you can’t put too many of them together! They would reach critical mass and cause the earth to quake to pieces.

  20. #20 KOPD
    April 23, 2010

    If it involves boobs, it will become extremely popular on the Internet.
    If that isn’t already a formally recognized and numbered rule, it should be.

    Rule 34D?

  21. #21 llewelly
    April 23, 2010

    My favorite comment:
    Jim April 22nd, 2010
    11:38 pm ET:

    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”?

    IMMODESTY IS WRONG EVEN FOR TEH SOULLESS IMMORAL ATHEIST HORDES!!

  22. #22 jackal.eyes
    April 23, 2010

    You don’t actually need to flaunt cleavage or ass in order to dress in a way that Iranians would consider immodest. I plan on wearing a sleeveless shirt and (gasp!) pants. And no head scarf.

    It’s hard for me to look at the execution of Boobquake and not see blatant pandering. If we could get this excited (in a non-sexual way) about women wearing anything they wanted to wear, I would be more impressed.

  23. #23 ambook
    April 23, 2010

    @Rorschach

    The *whoosh* sound you just heard is the point flying right over your head. Which is surprising, because it should not be so hard to grasp, if you come from a western country, where objectification of girls and women is ubiquitous.

    So you’re pro-burka, because it protects you from naughty thoughts and earthquakes? Or do you just think that it’s good to live in a world where toes are sexy? I’d like to live in a world where women can both wear comfortable and perhaps revealing clothing and not be viewed solely as sexual objects. It’s where most of the guys I know seem to live, but perhaps it’s different where you are.

  24. #24 alysonmiers
    April 23, 2010

    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”?

    Fuck. That. Noise. Learn to spell “atheists” before you go telling us what’s wrong “even” for us. Also, real nice, to tell women that if men don’t notice their “attractive intelligent minds” it’s because they’re dressed provocatively.

    You can notice someone’s body, or not. You can notice someone’s mind, or not. This is not an either/or proposition.

  25. #25 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    You don’t actually need to flaunt cleavage or ass in order to dress in a way that Iranians would consider immodest.

    No, just try kissing in public in Dubai.

  26. #26 Ray Moscow
    April 23, 2010

    To fulfill the proposed chain of causality, it’s also necessary for men to be led into lust by these exposed women.

    I plan to do my part for science.

  27. #27 duckphup
    April 23, 2010

    This may sound perverse to some; heck… it sounds perverse to ME… but I find myself vaguely hoping that a massive earthquake occurs somewhere, on Boobquake Day.

  28. #28 Michelle R
    April 23, 2010

    I too shall over my boobs in the name of SCIENCE!

  29. #29 KOPD
    April 23, 2010

    To fulfill the proposed chain of causality, it’s also necessary for men to be led into lust by these exposed women.
    I plan to do my part for science.

    I’m afraid I can’t be part of the experiment as I’m trapped in a basement staring at monitors all day.

  30. #30 tutone21
    April 23, 2010

    @ haruhiist #19

    Catastrophe overted! Thank you for pointing that out. I forgot that herding all the women of the world is the catastrophic equivalent of crossing the streams.

  31. #31 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    So you’re pro-burka, because it protects you from naughty thoughts and earthquakes?

    You must be even more stupid than I thought.

    Or do you just think that it’s good to live in a world where toes are sexy

    ?

    Non-sequitur of the week?

    I’d like to live in a world where women can both wear comfortable and perhaps revealing clothing and not be viewed solely as sexual objects.

    Me too. Your point being?

    You were arguing that burka and Halter top cause the same responses in males since all women are naked under their clothes after all, remember?

  32. #32 aratina cage
    April 23, 2010

    I think this is such a great idea, demonstrating the foolishness of divine revelation, calling out religious discrimination against women, and confirming that nothing is sacred. If there is ever an atheist pride parade, the boobquake contingent must be part of it.

  33. #33 ldcornett
    April 23, 2010

    Ha! I can’t wait till Monday! The earth will surely shake!

  34. #34 llewelly
    April 23, 2010

    KOPD | April 23, 2010 1:00 PM:

    I’m afraid I can’t be part of the experiment as I’m trapped in a basement staring at monitors all day.

    Well. Connect one of those monitors to a computer, connect the computer to the internet, and download some pictures.

  35. #35 Michelle R
    April 23, 2010

    “Posted by: Michelle R | April 23, 2010 12:59 PM
    I too shall over my boobs in the name of SCIENCE!”

    …Hand over my boobs to science. That’s what I wanted to say first. I’m not sure WHAT I WANTED TO SAY THEN.

    Friday.

  36. #36 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    …Hand over my boobs to science.

    Pics or it didn’t happen !!

    :D

  37. #37 KOPD
    April 23, 2010

    @34

    If there are some blog posts out there dedicated to Boobquake pictures, I will do that.

  38. #38 Randomfactor
    April 23, 2010

    Hand over the boobs and nobody gets hurt…

  39. #39 aratina cage
    April 23, 2010

    Not everyone appreciates a good, inspired mocking. I think people like Beth Mann are being far too prudish and contradictory.

  40. #40 Ing
    April 23, 2010

    Just FYI. the offical scientific term for this hypothesis is “The Tittonic Plate Theory”

  41. #41 lelanna
    April 23, 2010

    “There is, perhaps, no more perfect example of the f’ed-up ways in which women, womanhood, and female bodies are viewed than at the intersection of the realities of breast cancer and the tone of breast cancer awareness marketing?whether it’s the pinkification of everything breast cancer, or the insistence that everything about breast cancer has to be cute and/or sexy and/or funny (see Save the Boobs! Save the TaTas! The Beauty of Breast Cancer Research. Boobleheads!), it’s just 87 different shades of obnoxious.”

    -Via Shakesville since I can’t articulate as well

  42. #42 tutone21
    April 23, 2010

    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”?

    So true!! I mean, I am so feeble minded that if a woman’s breasts are noticable then I can’t have a discussion with her…I feel comfortable saying that I speak for all men on this and 1/2 of the lesbians.

  43. #43 Randomfactor
    April 23, 2010

    Remember the Grand Tetons.

    And beware the Boobonic plague.

  44. #44 Brownian, OM
    April 23, 2010

    Well. Connect one of those monitors to a computer, connect the computer to the internet, and download some pictures.

    I see a problem with this experiment. Considering the internet-wide consumption of images of women dressed immodestly (or not at all) generally referred to as ‘downloading porn’, Boobquake will hardly register as a drop in the bucket.

  45. #45 Michelle R
    April 23, 2010

    @Rorschach “Pics or it didn’t happen !! :D”

    What kind of pics would that take? Me in bed with a scientist cupping a feel??

  46. #46 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    Me in bed with a scientist cupping a feel??

    Erm, define “cupping”.

    ;)

  47. #47 KOPD
    April 23, 2010

    I see a problem with this experiment. Considering the internet-wide consumption of images of women dressed immodestly (or not at all) generally referred to as ‘downloading porn’, Boobquake will hardly register as a drop in the bucket.

    Maybe it has to be live to have an effect. We are going to have to set up some webcams.

  48. #48 Numad
    April 23, 2010

    Don’t you people know plunging necklines is what sundered Atlantis?

    I for one will be fighting cataclysms with my trusty turtleneck.

  49. #49 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    We are going to have to set up some webcams.

    I request that Abbie participates !!

  50. #50 Stardrake
    April 23, 2010

    As usual, Sam The Eagle was there before any of us….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ0SRgh3X9Q

  51. #51 toth
    April 23, 2010

    @Michelle: “What kind of pics would that take? Me in bed with a scientist cupping a feel??”

    Or just someone dressed as a scientist.

    I volunteer. In the name of science.

  52. #52 Andyo
    April 23, 2010

    This cleric has to be the geniusest man of all. Wonder how a bunch of godless science-lovers didn’t see through his genius plan. I, for one, approve.

  53. #53 tsg
    April 23, 2010

    What kind of pics would that take? Me in bed with a scientist cupping a feel??

    I’m a scientist as far as you know and I have a camera. I’d be glad to lend [snicker] a hand.

  54. #54 Andyo
    April 23, 2010

    BTW, not only do immodest women cause earthquakes. That’s only part of the larger problem. Shirtless ones cause Tsunamis.

    I’m in LA, lemme know when it goes down.

  55. #55 tutone21
    April 23, 2010

    I have a slight conundrum with this experiment. I live in Phoenix, and, well, it seems that there are high levels of participation in this protest every day. In order to determine if the immodest women are protesting I am going to have to ask them, and, as Jim pointed out earlier, I as a man am unable to engage in intelligent conversation with immodest women. Any suggestions?

  56. #56 amphiox
    April 23, 2010

    “aetheist”

    So, there are still people out there who worship the luminiferous aether?

    (Actually, such a cult would be at least 1000 years ahead of most of the others….)

  57. #57 Moggie
    April 23, 2010

    My problem with this experiment is that a number of the blogs I normally read might be NSFW on Monday. I may have to do some actual work!

  58. #58 Mike in Ontario, NY
    April 23, 2010

    All I know is that being on the unfit end of the spectrum, I can at least offer to shake my moobs! For science, for skepticism, for egalitarianism, and for the common good.

  59. #59 tsg
    April 23, 2010

    All I know is that being on the unfit end of the spectrum, I can at least offer to shake my moobs!

    I would, but I’m afraid it would have the opposite effect.

  60. #60 Numad
    April 23, 2010

    On a serious note, I think Beth Mann has something of a point about some of the reaction to the original boobquake idea. A crowd’s shout of “take the top off!” isn’t something that I’d necessarily call empowering about women’s sexuality and bodies.

    And it kind of tipped into that territory at some points.

  61. #61 fiddler
    April 23, 2010

    @ #17 I’d like to sacrifice my time for the greater good, I accept guard duty…

  62. #62 Cardinal Shrew
    April 23, 2010

    Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t it true that to have the results of an experiment be accepted, they need to be repeatable. This would suggest to me that this experiment should be done periodically, to insure validity.

  63. #63 glenister_m
    April 23, 2010

    I occasionally teach Earth Science in high school, and when we cover the earthquakes unit, I always tell my class that we will have an earthquake at some point during the unit. It’s a bet I can never lose since there are earthquakes every day – most are too small to feel. Occasionally we do get a good tremor (B.C. coast is an active fault), which really freaks the students out, but that’s just coincidence.

    So while I realize its a big joke, if the cleric hears about this, and actually responds to it, he could argue that some earthquake somewhere in the world was a result of it. However that would require some knowledge of science, so I doubt we’ll get a response unless there is an 8.9 earthquake that day (or a couple of days after).

    Wouldn’t it be great though, if they do the protest in N.A. & Europe, and there is a major earthquake in Tehran, but not in N.A. or Europe? Wouldn’t they have to admit that they were punished for not wearing revealing clothing; or that N.A. & Europe can cause natural disasters in Tehran anytime they wish (by getting their Allah angry at his followers for not stopping the immorality of others)?

  64. #64 Brownian, OM
    April 23, 2010

    On a serious note, I think Beth Mann has something of a point about some of the reaction to the original boobquake idea. A crowd’s shout of “take the top off!” isn’t something that I’d necessarily call empowering about women’s sexuality and bodies.

    And it kind of tipped into that territory at some points.

    I agree, but you can’t control the crowd’s reaction, unless you’re one of the Colgate Twins.

    As for my part, as it’s unlikely that it will be warm enough for me to wander about shirtless (and doubtful how much that would titillate women anyway, given our culture’s preference for hairless torsos), I will be augmenting my package via the inclusion of a sock.

  65. #65 Numad
    April 23, 2010

    “I agree, but you can’t control the crowd’s reaction, unless you’re one of the Colgate Twins.”

    Yet.

    But really, you can try and remind individuals who compose the crowd about it.

  66. #66 Moggie
    April 23, 2010

    #63:

    Wouldn’t it be great though, if they do the protest in N.A. & Europe, and there is a major earthquake in Tehran, but not in N.A. or Europe?

    A major earthquake in a city of 8 million people? No, I do not think that would be “great”.

  67. #67 Katrina
    April 23, 2010

    I’m looking at it as an alternate form of “mooning” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi.

  68. #68 Ing
    April 23, 2010

    “”aetheist”

    So, there are still people out there who worship the luminiferous aether?

    (Actually, such a cult would be at least 1000 years ahead of most of the others….)”

    Oh silly aaetheist. No real aetheist actually believes in a LITERAL liminiferous aether. It’s ALLEGORY

  69. #69 Becca
    April 23, 2010

    @62 – I think she’s also going to correlate the data with events such as Mardi Gras.

    The one problem I have with Beth Mann’s article is that she’s trying to see this as a feminist stand, and it’s not – it’s a skeptical stand. A statement has been made about causality, and those participating in boobquake are testing that hypothesis.

    My “immodest” clothing won’t be showing my (nonexistent) cleavage, but I’ll be wearing a t-shirt and jeans (as always)… and my “immodest” behavior will be speaking my mind about things – also as always.

  70. #70 Ragutis
    April 23, 2010

    Posted by: tutone21 | April 23, 2010 12:19 PM

    NOOOOOO!!!!!!! This is going to cause a major natural disaster!! Men we must band together to combat this by using the only means available. Each of us MUST wear a speedo that day to show off our genitalia. Otherwise we will end up back in the stone age!

    I’ll take Stone Age, please.

  71. #71 BigMKnows
    April 23, 2010

    This story is now being reported on Al Arabiya and probably the rest of the Arab media.

    Original article: http://bit.ly/atCbQ3

    You can pop the resulting url into translate.google.com

  72. #72 calilasseia
    April 23, 2010

    I would like to suggest a refinement to this experiment.

    When women around the world cast aside their bras, and display their various endowments to the world, all of them point their weapons at the Middle East, and see if we can trigger an earthquake that levels Iran, and buries all the stupid Ayatollahs with it. :)

  73. #73 BigMKnows
    April 23, 2010

    Or just click this link directly for the translation: http://bit.ly/cRe5FJ

  74. #74 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 23, 2010

    I think it’s great that people are willing to point and laugh at the stupidity of religious beliefs ? I wish more would do so!

    And the media, too.

    In unrelated news, check this out:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100423/od_nm/us_indonesia_police

  75. #75 bcoppola
    April 23, 2010

    Any bets on when/if Jon Stewart or Colbert will cover Boobquake? Jen’s going to need an agent!

  76. #76 The Bible is Useless
    April 23, 2010

    @Becca

    You are spot on. It was not meant to be a feminist stand, despite Jen’s self-identification as a feminist (people can be complex??? say it ain’t so!), but a stand by rationalists against superstition.

    I am glad she clarified in her subsequent post that despite the lol-worthy name “boobquake,” non-breast-related immodesty was also encouraged. It’s not about forcing women to expose themselves.

    Although, as an aside, many of the comments on the CNN site did hit some feminism triggers for me, and make this more of a quasi-feminist issue for me, as well as a skeptical one. I think the point was made here as well, but there has been an awful lot of “women are demeaning themselves” and “you’re just doing what men want you to do.” Fuck that noise! I get to decide how much of my own skin to reveal and how I want to present myself to the world, and my body and my sexuality are not sources of shame and sin. AND not all men are depraved perverts. My DD’s don’t cause earthquakes (or rapes, as one of the comments on CNN implied), and on Monday I intend to “prove” it.

    /rant ;)

  77. #77 Brownian, OM
    April 23, 2010

    Yet.

    But really, you can try and remind individuals who compose the crowd about it.

    Sure. But that’s not what Mann did. She viewed it solely as a feminist issue (and an oddly breast-centric one, despite Jen’s initial comment that short shorts would serve just as well) and declined to participate because some men got over-titillated (sorry).

    Unfortunately, it seems to be turning into something else, with many men chiming in, with their “show us your tits” camera-ready attitude.

    Best wrap up tight then, Ms. Mann, since it’s clear men can’t control themselves around immodestly dressed women. Perhaps a thick, black, heavy burqa will snap those lens covers back on.

    This is not to say that I disagree with Ms. Mann’s criticism of this sexist, ogling part of the reaction from men; I just don’t understand how the feminist response and the hard-line misogynistic Islamic response is the same: women best cover themselves up lest men get the wrong idea.

  78. #78 KOPD
    April 23, 2010

    @77

    I thought the first comment on her blog was good. The commenter pointed out to her that with her “feminism should never attract men’s attention” attitude she is about a step away from thinking boobs cause earthquakes.

  79. #79 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 23, 2010

    I just don’t understand how the feminist response and the hard-line misogynistic Islamic response is the same: women best cover themselves up lest men get the wrong idea.

    Since the Imam or Ayatollah or whatever the guy is feels women’s immodesty leads young men astray and Mann apparently agrees with him, then she should have no problem with burkas.

  80. #80 Gregory Greenwood
    April 23, 2010

    Brownian @ 77;

    This is not to say that I disagree with Ms. Mann’s criticism of this sexist, ogling part of the reaction from men; I just don’t understand how the feminist response and the hard-line misogynistic Islamic response is the same: women best cover themselves up lest men get the wrong idea.

    I think you are right on the money here. It is a strange old world where one group coming from a position of rabid misogyny and another coming from a position of female empowerment come to the same conclusion. The message that the bodies of women will drive men to acts of sexual violence and ‘immorality’, is simultaneously misogynistic and misandronistic.

    Misogynoistic because it implies that a woman’s body is inherently corrupting to men (and possibly society at large), and that by implication if a woman dresses ‘immodesatly’then she is somehow at least in part responsible for whatever transpires; and misandronistic because it proceeds from the assumption that men are wholly incapable of the most rudimentary self control when confronted with the reality of the female form.

    I think that all those individuals who are oh so tightly clutching their pearls in relation to this whole ‘boobquake’ thing need, above all else, to grow up. It is a skeptical protest, not a feminist statement or an assault on the dignity of women. Dressing ‘immodestly’ by Iranian standards is hardly taxing. A woman’s cut business suit would suffice nicely, as would pretty much all commonplace forms of Western informal dress along with formal evening wear. If its not a Burhka then its pretty much the creation of the devil so far as the Iranian clergy is concerned.

    As for the men who are already getting ready to ogle for all their eyeballs are worth, well they need to rememeber that boundaries exist. They could also probably do with a maturity booster shot.

    At the end of the day it will just be a higher incidence of slightly more revealing clothing, and that is all. Hardly something that justifies the frothing indignation that some of the comments over at the CNN site appear to be expressing. Even if it were uncovered breasts, it would still just be breasts. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like breats. Being a heterosexual bloke, liking breasts is pretty much unavoidble. I am however, capable of keeping breasts in proportion (so to speak). They do not have magical earthquake-causing properties. They do not automatically cause men to devolve into uncontrolled nymphomaniacs. Finally, they will not lead to the imminent destruction of civilisation as we know it. This all seems pretty much self-evident to a rationalist, but I have long since learned to never underestimate the power of a manufactured controversy…

  81. #81 Bastion Of Sass
    April 23, 2010

    I intend to participate in Boobquake with great glee and my sass set in extreme mode.

    1. Because I enjoy being silly and sassy and having the pearl clutchers wonder, “What’s she up to now?!” And then worry, “And what will she do next?!”

    2. Because I love mocking the eminently mockable, and ridiculing the ridiculous.

    3. Because when someone tells me that I shouldn’t do something (such as dress in a way they consider “immodestly”), I rather enjoy doing it.

    4. Because all women should be able to wear what they want, not what others think they should wear, whether what they “ought” to wear is a burka, prairie dress or thong.

  82. #82 Numad
    April 23, 2010

    77, 78 and 79, speaking as a chorus:

    “I just don’t understand how the feminist response and the hard-line misogynistic Islamic response is the same”

    That’s just plain insulting. And stupid. It’s stupidly insulting. Mann “declined to participate” and said why. It’s an extremely far cry from lecturing women how to dress. The focus was on men and their response, something that is undeniable. That’s just a lapse into anti-feminist clichés.

    Men making women’s clothes and bodies into something that’s about their sexuality is actually more much closely related to “hard-line misogynistic Islam,” which is also about making them an object to men’s sexuality.

    77:

    “She viewed it solely as a feminist issue (and an oddly breast-centric one, despite Jen’s initial comment that short shorts would serve just as well) and declined to participate because some men got over-titillated (sorry).”

    Oddly breast-centric?

    It’s called boobquake, and more importantly, Mann is commenting on a reaction that views it at as a breastcentric issue/objectification outlet. Displacing that focus on breasts onto Mann is just plain dishonest.

    As for it being “solely” a feminist issue: it is partly a feminist issue, and personally I never check my feminism at the door.

  83. #83 ivo
    April 23, 2010

    The amazing power of boobs has already been used to cure women’s rights, poverty and the environment, with great success.

  84. #84 https://me.yahoo.com/a/S1.gFXY.qdwzatYQJ0I2ItibRo1v#544d8
    April 23, 2010

    When I read about this at another place, it was a link to Faux News. I found it ironic that the “family values” news channel was showing plenty of cleavage in a nice big picture for the article. It’s interesting what they’ll do when the time is ‘right’ for it. Not that Faux News has ever actually had any integrity.

  85. #85 spiderxray
    April 23, 2010

    This brings up something that has bugged me for a long time. A great many years ago as a young, testosterone-poisoned male individual, I often spent weeks in the field working alongside equally young, nubile females who, being in the field and living in a tent may not have been interested in exercising modesty at all times of day and night. It turned out, we were able to bathe in stock tanks and get dressed in the morning without me going all sex crazed and attacking them (or, sadly, them me). What is it with these guys that are not to be trusted around any female not completely encased in a burka. Are they that pathetically incapable of self control? It might be good thing for them to learn to work and live around real women.

  86. #86 Moggie
    April 23, 2010

    #85:

    This brings up something that has bugged me for a long time. A great many years ago as a young, testosterone-poisoned male individual, I often spent weeks in the field working alongside equally young, nubile females who, being in the field and living in a tent may not have been interested in exercising modesty at all times of day and night. It turned out, we were able to bathe in stock tanks and get dressed in the morning without me going all sex crazed and attacking them (or, sadly, them me). What is it with these guys that are not to be trusted around any female not completely encased in a burka. Are they that pathetically incapable of self control? It might be good thing for them to learn to work and live around real women.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes it as a self-fulfilling prophecy: “…a Muslim man has no reason to learn to control himself. He doesn’t need to and he isn’t taught to. Sexual morality is aimed exclusively at women, who are always blamed for any lapse.”

  87. #87 ambook
    April 23, 2010

    #85 – Better not let Rorschach hear you say that…

  88. #88 ronsullivan
    April 23, 2010

    Come on, guys. The least the Men’s Auxiliary can do is get nekkid in solidarity.

    Banana hammocks or nothing!

  89. #89 DLC
    April 23, 2010

    As I have said elsewhere, sometimes the right response is to point and laugh.
    So, consider that I have pointed at the Iranian witch-doctor and laughed. Loudly.
    And . . .
    Bewbs for All !

  90. #90 Haley
    April 23, 2010

    I plan to participate, as a feminist atheist. In my ideal world, women could go to beaches topless in the US without being criminals. Even women who are fat or ugly or both. Breasts are sexy, and I don’t expect that to go away, but I think that men can learn to control themselves. In the Victorian era, the “lower limbs” were sexualized and scandalous. Now, we still think legs are sexy and may enjoy the view, but short skirts don’t result in much pearl clutching or smelling salts.

  91. #91 BigMKnows
    April 23, 2010

    I just don’t understand how the feminist response and the hard-line misogynistic Islamic response is the same: women best cover themselves up lest men get the wrong idea.

    This shouldn’t be surprising at all, since it’s been that way for 45 years. The far Left (feminism) and the far Right (religious conservativism) have for a long time been in agreement about issues like pornography. The Right, because they find sex outside of procreation detrimental to society; the Left because they find many kinds of sex-related practices and industries to be exploitive of women.

    The fact that they disagree so much on politics and society doesn’t mean that they can’t agree on *some things*. Conservative Catholics also agree with liberals on the death penalty.

  92. #92 tonysidaway
    April 23, 2010

    Facebook is a pestilence.

  93. #93 Pen
    April 23, 2010

    This is all very well, but won’t we all have to go around with paper bags over our faces on some other day as a control?

  94. #94 jafafahots
    April 23, 2010

    “The *whoosh* sound you just heard is the point flying right over your head. Which is surprising, because it should not be so hard to grasp, if you come from a western country, where objectification of girls and women is ubiquitous.”

    Yeah, but a country where women aren’t allowed autonomy, where male-dominated society dictates how those women are allowed to dress, act, and behave and where their bodies are deemed so scandalous, so filthy that they must be covered at all times lest the horrible power of those bodies cause men to lose all control and become violent rapists and society will collapse… THAT is NOW WAY is an objectification of women.

    It’s a good thing there isn’t a whoosh for what went over YOUR head, Rorschach, because it would be deafening. The massive roar of you misunderstanding the entirety of the history of human culture, hell… possibly all of reality.

    What a fucknozzle.

  95. #95 jafafahots
    April 23, 2010

    “Come on, guys. The least the Men’s Auxiliary can do is get nekkid in solidarity. “

    I used to walk around my ground floor Buffalo apartment naked all the time. I was asked to stop by the people walking by on the busy sidewalk next to my windows.

    Oh well.

  96. #96 Kirk
    April 23, 2010

    This shouldn’t be surprising at all, since it’s been that way for 45 years.

    hold on … doing the math … what event in 1965 are you referring to? Was there an especially bad earthquake that year?

  97. #97 Crudely Wrott
    April 23, 2010

    I’m quite sure that boobs don’t cause earthquakes, but I could be wrong.

    What I have noticed is that occasionally boobs themselves quake. I find the sight to be fascinating but more to the point; if all, or many, of the total number of boobs on earth were set to quaking in synchrony might not something happen on a tectonic scale? I mean, we’re talking a lot of mass here, ladies.

    A particularly pendulous phenomena preferably at the planet’s primary period could prove persuasive or preposterous. Perhaps the pending party on Monday will prove prophecy or, more probable, please most people while pissing off the pious and priapic priesthood.

  98. #98 Tom Coward
    April 23, 2010

    My hometown of Portland Maine is presently bracing for a major ‘quake.’

    http://vimeo.com/10683927

    Definitely NSFW!

  99. #99 derelicthat
    April 23, 2010

    My workplace requires a tshirt that quite modestly covers me all the way up to my neck, but I plan to wear some short shorts. I wonder if legs have the same power as boobs.

  100. #100 Numad
    April 23, 2010

    “Breasts are sexy, and I don’t expect that to go away[…]”

    I’m not sure the fixation with seeing breasts as sexual is universal, so the mere appearance of disembodied breasts being seen as sexy could go away.

  101. #101 Rorschach
    April 23, 2010

    @ 94,

    I’m trying to make sense of your comment there, but failing, my fucknozzle must be broken.

    THAT is NOW WAY is an objectification of women.

    Huh? Is that supposed to mean anything?

    The massive roar of you misunderstanding the entirety of the history of human culture, hell… possibly all of reality.

    Well I’m glad you got me covered, with your prime understanding of all of human culture and reality.

    Clownshoe.

  102. #102 Escherichia coli
    April 24, 2010

    Greenwood @ 80, and to anyone who cares in general…

    There’s something I keep seeing that I don’t get.. If a woman dresses revealingly knowing that there will be some people who get turned on, how is she absolved of all responsibility if someone does get aroused and um.. acts on it in a way that she disagrees with? Let’s say, ogle at her. It’s strange to keep hearing people claim that anything the man does is fully his fault. Men are visual creatures – it’s biology, isn’t it? Humans are not always rational nor always act in ways they would rather themselves act.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s a culture thing, like how the West values individualism more while the oriental cultures tend to believe that individuals should consider the whole. Freedom of expression should be tempered with consideration of how others may react to it, don’t you think? At least I think it’s more responsible to behave that way…

  103. #103 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 24, 2010

    What a fucknozzle.

    Do you market these, um, fucknozzles?

  104. #104 John Morales
    April 24, 2010

    E Coli:

    There’s something I keep seeing that I don’t get.. If a woman dresses revealingly knowing that there will be some people who get turned on, how is she absolved of all responsibility if someone does get aroused and um.. acts on it in a way that she disagrees with? Let’s say, ogle at her.

    Ogling is one thing. Assault is another.

    Men are visual creatures – it’s biology, isn’t it?

    Maybe, but civilised men don’t harass or assault women, whether they’re visually turned-on or not.

    Freedom of expression should be tempered with consideration of how others may react to it, don’t you think?

    So, if you wear nice jewelry, you partly to blame if someone mugs you and steals it?

  105. #105 Escherichia coli
    April 24, 2010

    John Morales @ 104,

    Well yes, actually many of us here in Singapore tend to agree that if you flaunt expensive jewelry and get mugged, you’re partly responsible. Maybe it’s a strange concept to you, but I think that we have to consider the possible consequences of what we do in such situations. It’s pretty pointless to strut around saying “I shouldn’t be robbed just because I’m displaying expensive jewelry” when in fact, it makes you that much more likely to be robbed. The fact of the matter is that it does make you a more likely target, and so you have to show restraint, if only for your own safety.

    Similarly, I would agree that civilized men don’t harass or assault women, regardless of how they are dressed. But reality doesn’t give us a world of civilized men.

  106. #106 Escherichia coli
    April 24, 2010

    Hmm, I’m not too sure if this is a good analogy, but let’s say you know that passive smoking increases your risk of lung cancer, yet you frequent a pub with lots of second-hand smoke. If you do get cancer, are you partly responsible for it?

  107. #107 John Morales
    April 24, 2010

    E Coli:

    Well yes, actually many of us here in Singapore tend to agree that if you flaunt expensive jewelry and get mugged, you’re partly responsible.

    Really? That’s pretty sad.
    It’s easy to see how, by extension, that principle encourages crime.

    Similarly, I would agree that civilized men don’t harass or assault women, regardless of how they are dressed. But reality doesn’t give us a world of civilized men.

    I hear you lot over there are pretty serious about law and order; I can see why it’s necessary, with that sort of attitude.

  108. #108 Rorschach
    April 24, 2010

    Well yes, actually many of us here in Singapore tend to agree that if you flaunt expensive jewelry and get mugged, you’re partly responsible.

    What a rather tasteless (and flawed) analogy that is !

    But you’re in good company, that is pretty much exactly the line of argument that can be heard from muslim clerics in Australia, and not just here I’m sure.

  109. #109 John Morales
    April 24, 2010

    E Coli@106, yeah, it’s a poor analogy; cancer doesn’t make choices, unlike rapists.

    Look at what happens when you allow that attitude which you refer to proliferate in a culture: Women initially become more modest out of fear, so they stop wearing clothing that reveals cleavage, say, because that’s “flaunting” it.
    But now, though none show cleavage, those wearing clothing that shows their arms or legs (say, blouses and skirts) are seen as “flaunting” it, so out of fear women stop wearing such and cover their arms and legs.
    But now, though none show arms and legs, those wearing clothing that shows their body shape are seen as “flaunting” it, so out of fear women stop wearing such and wear loose, shapeless clothing.

    See where I’m going? In due course, you end up with a situation like in Saudi Arabia.
    At this point, merely going out in public without a male escort, even if draped in a tent, is seen as “flaunting” it; women have gone as far as they possibly can to avoid the issue, and yet they are no better off than they were at the beginning.

    That’s horrible, yet that’s what you countenance.

  110. #110 Escherichia coli
    April 24, 2010

    John @ 107,

    It’s easy to see how, by extension, that principle encourages crime.

    Sorry, I really don’t see how it encourages crime. Of course no one expects that hypothetical robber to get off any easier. “She was flaunting all that shiny jewelry and I couldn’t help it” is in no way a mitigating factor, and the law should and does come down hard. However, you also have a part to play in protecting yourself, don’t you? If I intentionally leave my wallet in a train station for a day, am I not partly responsible if someone comes along and takes it?

    cancer doesn’t make choices, unlike rapists.

    I don’t actually see how that’s relevant, to be honest… As an individual, you generally don’t have direct control over the actions of others. As a result, your decisions should be based on the outcomes associated with various actions, not on insisting that other people make ideal choices. I think that would just be idealistic and blind to reality.

    I believe that the rapists should be persecuted to the full extent of the law regardless of what the woman was wearing, without any doubt (here, it’s the death sentence). However, I think there is a difference between legal responsibility (or.. culpability? not entirely certain of what that word means but I think it’s the correct word) and personal responsibility. Legally, the rapist is responsible for what he did because of the harm he caused to the individual and to society (women being afraid to go out alone, etc). Personally, however, every individual has a role to play in keeping him- or herself safe.

    Hmm, actually, do you agree with that last statement?

    Rorschach @ 108

    What a rather tasteless (and flawed) analogy that is !

    But you’re in good company, that is pretty much exactly the line of argument that can be heard from muslim clerics in Australia, and not just here I’m sure.

    Well, first of all, I wasn’t the one who brought up that analogy. John brought it up, and I was simply responding to it. And yes, I do believe there is a world of difference between a robbery and rape – for one, the magnitude of harm in rape is far greater.

    Also, how is it equivalent to what the muslim clerics are saying? I am not saying that the rapist should in any way be let off easier. Hmm, how do I put this… Every one of us is responsible for our actions (debatable, probably, but let’s see where this leads). As such, robber is and should be responsible for what he did. The victim, too, is responsible for what he did. However, the apportioning of the blame for the event (the robbery) should fall on the robber, because of the harm done.

  111. #111 ambook
    April 24, 2010

    OK, Rorschach – I’m trying hard to understand what your point is. It seems like you’ve argued both for and against what I originally said.

    My original point was that in a society where women dress comfortably and perhaps revealingly, guys can become accustomed to seeing the female form and that the threshold for naughty thoughts gets set somewhat higher, which is probably a good thing overall. It certainly makes it easier for woment to dress comfortably. The other point I made was that there is a baseline rate for naughty thoughts for most men, so that if you’re in a society where women cover everything up, guys still have basically the same rate of “hey, that’s interesting” thoughts as in a society where women don’t cover up as much, it’s just that the trigger is way weirder (the left toe example).

    I don’t think this is related at all to the use of female bodies in advertising – I still think the “drape a naked woman over it” type of advertising is both stupid and demeaning. What I’m talking about is whether I get to wear a tank top and shorts to the grocery store, not whether the Swedish bikini team should be on permanent display at the local 7-Eleven… Oh, and anyone who argues that displays of flesh of whatever variety cause natural disasters is a moron.

    On the subject of “responsibility” for becoming a crime victim, it would be great if we could completely separate assumption of risk arguments from determinations of culpability for the offender. I think everyone should learn to defend themselves and learn how not to attract the attention of criminals (including burglars, muggers, rapists, identity thieves, and petnappers), if only because it’s inconvenient (at a minimum) to be a victim. I think the culpability of the offender is a completely separate issue, but I wouldn’t let that keep me from behaving prudently when deciding who to give my social security number to.

    The same issue comes up in arguments about whether smokers, the obese, people who don’t exercise, or people who speed without wearing seatbelts should receive health care. Of course they should, but we should also take steps to lower the rates of such behaviors.

  112. #112 Ing
    April 24, 2010

    “Well yes, actually many of us here in Singapore tend to agree that if you flaunt expensive jewelry and get mugged, you’re partly responsible.”

    That’s a great defense mechanism for laziness and not wanting to address your apparent horrendous crime problem!

  113. #113 Escherichia coli
    April 24, 2010

    Ing,

    The crime rate here is pretty low.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Singapore

    However, stuff still happens, and a popular slogan used in government campaigns is “Low crime doesn’t mean no crime.” Corny, I know, but it reminds us that we’ve got to take precautions too.

  114. #114 John Morales
    April 24, 2010

    E. Coli,

    Personally, however, every individual has a role to play in keeping him- or herself safe.
    Hmm, actually, do you agree with that last statement?

    Yes, I agree with it.

    What I disagree with is your claim that women dressing revealingly (in most circumstances) constitutes such a risk factor more significant than just being a woman at the wrong place at the wrong time.

  115. #115 timrowledge
    April 24, 2010

    alysonmiers @ 13: If you like to show off your cleavage, or your legs or even merely your arms, go for it. If you work in a place where you have required clothing, undo an extra button, or smile with an extra glint in your eye, or sit provocatively or whatever makes you feel a tad naughty. Simply doing something that says “I am here, notice me” is enough immodesty to cause strokes in some of these deranged religions

    Pretty much every religion will claim any sort of sexual activity not explicitly required under its particular deranged set of rules to be ‘adultery’. Similarly ‘immodesty’ is rarely anything much to do with dressing in any particular style – it is enough for a woman to have the sheer effrontery to be visible in society. After all, women ought to just be silent, invisible, meek servants hiding in the background, obeying the men that own them by grace of their god, right?

  116. #116 Escherichia coli
    April 24, 2010

    John,

    What I disagree with is your claim that women dressing revealingly (in most circumstances) constitutes such a risk factor more significant than just being a woman at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Hmm, I don’t remember saying that… Isn’t that a different issue altogether? Furthermore, it’s not an either/or thing.

  117. #117 John Morales
    April 25, 2010

    E. Coli, no, you did not say that in so many words.

    But you mentioned the revealing clothing, rather than the situation.

    Furthermore, it’s not an either/or thing.

    Care to provide a plausible example where the salient factor for an assault on a woman is the clothing she wears, rather than the spacio-temporal co-ordinates she is located in on the occasion?

  118. #118 Escherichia coli
    April 25, 2010

    Gosh, why am I being called on to defend a position I never took in the first place? I never said that the location isn’t important. In fact, it’s one of the things you have to consider when you make your decisions. Using that wallet example, leaving your wallet unattended in a train station or at home are very different. Also, it’s not about the clothing per se, but about being responsible for the decisions you make, which includes how you choose to dress.

    Anyways, I’m in the midst of my examinations, so I might not reply till after Wednesday.

  119. #119 Rorschach
    April 26, 2010

    The other point I made was that there is a baseline rate for naughty thoughts for most men

    What on earth does that even mean ? What’s the meaning of “naughty” here?

    Anyways, I’m in the midst of my examinations, so I might not reply till after Wednesday.

    Walton, see this ?

    Also, it’s not about the clothing per se, but about being responsible for the decisions you make, which includes how you choose to dress.

    Bollocks.That’s just another way of saying the woman was asking for it.
    I doubt that any rapist who has picked out a victim cares whether that person is dressed in a burka or a bikini.And what about domestic rapes?

  120. #120 ambook
    April 26, 2010

    OK, Rorschach, by “naughty thoughts” I meant a random sexual thoughts or impulses. I would think that the number and intensity of such thoughts or impulses are largely related to hormone levels, but that the trigger is in part shaped by whether a particular sight is encountered frequently or rarely. My basic point was that men who are constantly exposed to women in tank tops and shorts are habituated and less likely to be aroused by women with that level of exposure, but that men in cultures that make women cover up probably have about the same rate of random sexual thoughts or arousal as western men. I thought you were arguing that men in western countries where women tend to expose more skin have a greater frequency and number of sexual impulses than men in the cultures where women wear chadors or burkas. This did not make sense to me, since I know I have read that sex drive is so strongly determined by hormone levels. My argument had nothing to do with whether the female body should be used to sell cars or beer, which I agree is a bad practice.

    I was just being silly, given the tone of the comment thread, by using the word “naughty.” Not precise.

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