'Boobquake' to test Iranian cleric's claim
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Monday, April 26, 2010 7:59PM EDT
Can cleavage make the earth shake? An Indiana student and tens of thousands of her supporters are planning to find out today, in an event meant to satirize controversial comments made in Iran.
The event has been dubbed "Boobquake" and is the brainchild of Purdue University student Jennifer McCreight. She's asking women around the world to show a little cleavage today, as a humorous test to disprove an Iranian cleric who said immodestly dressed women were responsible for recent earthquakes.
"At first, it started off a joke," McCreight told CTV's Canada AM via Skype from West Lafayette, Indiana.
"When I read what this cleric had said, I thought that it was pretty ridiculous and we could actually test it scientifically. So I suggested that we go ahead and do that. And I never thought it would take off like this."
The comments that incensed McCreight came from a prominent Iranian cleric.
"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes," said Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, Tehran's acting Friday prayer leader.
That prompted McCreight to post on her blog a week ago that she wanted to test that theory to see if cleavage really does possess seismic powers. She made a "modest proposal," asking other "female skeptics" to join her in showing a little cleavage today.
"With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I'm sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn't rumble," she wrote on Apr. 19 on BlagHag.com.
Since posting the plea on Facebook, close to 200,000 people have confirmed they will participate in "Boobquake." She says she's even getting emails of support from Iran, where women are required by law to cover from head to toe.
McCreight also noted that she has received some negative response and heard from some who say she is objectifying women.
"What I say in response to that is people are doing this voluntarily," she said.
"I'm not forcing people to do it. If women want to dress that way, we have the right to do that. To say that some men might behave inappropriately, that we should be the ones to cover up, that just doesn't make sense to me."
McCreight says it's up to women how they want to take part in the event.
"I don't want people to force themselves to dress more immodestly than they feel comfortable," she said. "But if you want to wear a low-cut shirt or some shorts, whatever you like. And we're going to see if we actually cause more or more severe earthquakes today."
McCreight writes on her blog that she is not expecting a cessation of all seismic activity, noting that small earthquakes happen every day around the world. Iran is located on seismic fault lines and experiences at least one small earthquake every day, on average.
She also writes that she doesn't people to write in to with every bit of seismic activity they hear about around the world on Monday -- including one that struck off the southeast coast of Taiwan early Monday morning.
"No, the Taiwan earthquake is not statistically significant -- yet. If we get many of a similar magnitude in the next 24 hours, then we might start worshipping the power of immodesty," she wrote at 12:34 a.m. ET.
The United States Geological Survey may beg to differ with McCreight's assessment. They note that the strong quake had a magnitude of 6.9, though, because it occurred deep underground, it did not cause damage.
McCreight says she'll be compiling some statistics after the event.
"We're looking to see if Boobquake significantly increases the number or severity of earthquakes," she wrote.
"Or if an earthquake strikes West Lafayette, IN and only kills me, that may be good evidence of God's wrath as well – (I'm not too concerned.)"