Well, Boobquake 2010 is almost past, and unless there is a massive earthquake in the next 3 hours and 40 minutes, the planet has escaped reasonably unscathed. It remains to be seen if the event will continue. I personally think Jen McCreight, the woman who is responsible for unleashing the MMDs*, will need at least five years of events to track a statistical trend, but then I almost failed stats at university, so what do I know.
At any rate, it looks like people had a fun with the event. Well, most people. It seems there’s a small group out there that feels Boobquake runs against feminist ideas and called for a Brainquake instead.
First off, let me be clear about something. I love the idea of a Brainquake, an event where women can show off their accomplishments and awards, I’m thinking we should hold one 6 months from now, on September 26, 2010. We should shout it from the roof tops that women do amazing things in the fields of science, engineering, business, politics etc. Largely these accomplishments go unrecognized, so lets bang a gong and celebrate.
That being said, Boobquake responded to Iranian cleric Sedighi’s challenge to the physical expression of our femininity, not our intellect. As a matter of fact, Iranian women are well-educated, they comprise up to 60% of entrants to Tehran’s university. They are not shut out from institutions of higher education. So to respond with a display of women’s intellectual capacity and accomplishments is nonsensical. He made a quantifiable statement – seeing women’s bodies incurs Gods (TM) wrath in the form of earthquakes. To test and challenge that assertion means women have to dress immodestly – from low-cut blouses and daisy dukes to abayas without socks.
And that, according to Brainquakers is falling into the patriarchal trap of reducing women to nothing more than their bodies.
And that assertion really bothers me. It seems to me that this response is patriarchal itself by saying that my body, and the display of my body can be nothing more than a result of my victimization by a culture that worships women’s beauty at the detriment of her brain. My body cannot be subversive. It cannot be political. It cannot be a free expression of my character.
I thought the whole point of feminism was that women were valued for more than their bodies. One could be beautiful and blond and smart all at the same time. Or short, dumpy and plain and still be accomplished. Women’s clothing and how they dress should be a means of self-expression. I personally wear most of my clothes showing a fair amount of cleavage – it’s part of my fashion philosophy: look at my boobs, not at my butt. Why? Because *I* like it that way. I dress this way because I am confident, powerful, beautiful and comfortable in my skin, not because I am a victim of a misogynistic culture. The reverse is actually true. I’m seriously overweight and as a result society tells me that I should cover up, try to camouflage myself so I can fade into the background.
Screw that! My clothing is my rebellion. And guess what? The same can be said about Iranian women’s dress. They’ve been finding ways to subvert the Islamic rule regarding modest dressing by using make up and other means for years.
And I also have to ask, what does this attitude tell our female athletes. Are their accomplishments less because they are physical in nature and can’t be placed on a CV? Does a female bodybuilder deserve less credit because she trains her body, and then stands up on stage in a teensy tiny bikini to be judged? Is she a traitor to the cause because she shows off a strong body for all to see?
I think you know my answer to that.
And as for assertions that this won’t make an impact on the Western world because we don’t share the same value system, remember that the idea of God (TM) reigning down death and destruction due to moral lapses is nothing new. Pat Robertson did it recently with the Haiti earthquake:
“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal. […] ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”
As did Jimmy Falwell after 9-11:
…throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad…I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America…I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen.”
People like Robertson, Falwell and Sedighi are/were fanatics. No amount of empirical data is ever going to convince them that there isn’t a punitive God (TM) who will strike down the unbelievers for their moral failings.
But not all of their followers are. Some of them question, some of them doubt. And as I’ve said, by mocking these attitudes, openly and loudly, at home and abroad, we take away some of these people’s power and make it a little easier for these doubters to get away.
*Mammaries of Mass Destruction.