So, some Iranian cleric stole the line right out of fucking Pat Robertsons's mouth and said,
"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."Which, yeah, is stupid and fucked up, I got it. So a lady named Jen of Blag Hag decided to have a "Boobquake," where women wear their most low cut shirts and show some cleavage in order to prove that this quote is just silliness. Boobquake has devolved, as Amanda Marcotte pointed out, into a bunch of men shouting, "YAY Show us your titties!!!!!" Because if there is ANYTHING we want to do to prove solidarity with women in Iran, it is to exploit ourselves for men.
For fuck's sake. Look, if we want to buck this Iranian cleric's ideas of what women can do we could . . . walk out the door without a man? Go to our job like always? FUCKING BLOG? Any of these things would be against what this cleric believes, and would show that women can do all kinds of liberated, equal-to-men type things, and the world doesn't end. No earthquakes. Every day. Lookit that.
But here is where it strikes me as fucking offensive. This Iranian cleric? Has direct influence over Iranian women, and their lives. And those women have a whole set of things to deal with that we really can't even comprehend. But a big part of what they do have to deal with is men reinforcing their cultural and national tradition by using women's bodies.
This is simple theory, folks. Basically, any group that feels threatened, and feels the need to build an identity, they do things like delineate between What We Are, and What They Are and We Are Not. And I can go into Iranian history and whatever, but the shortest summary possible is: the Iranian revolution resulted in this need to build a cultural and national identity (especially as Iran cut itself off from the West). And culture wars are usually waged on the bodies of women, in a return to "tradition." So in Iran trying to build a postcolonial and separate identity, it reverted back to "tradition," where women were covered and "modest." That was What They Are. And What They Are Not is lascivious, loose, Western women, women who are wanton and dirty and worth nothing because they were whores and whatnot.
So. This Boobquake? Is basically reinforcing the very fucked-up identity building that has ravaged the lives of women in Iran. What exactly are we proving in boobquake? That we women can parade around like sex symbols for men? Um, woo? But THAT IS WHAT THIS CLERIC IS SAYING. And that cleric isn't like religious leaders here - he legislates. He makes the laws. How does that help Iranian women, who get berated for showing an ankle? Is this throwing our "freedoms" in their face? Isn't this just reinforcing the binary identities that have made them have to cover every inch of their bodies? And isn't this making really light of the fact that there are millions of women across the globe who are in very oppressive countries that may fucking get STONED to death for daring to be female and show an inch of skin? Like: Wow, you guys have really mean religious leaders over there that make your lives really pretty horrible for being female, haha, lookit my breasts!!!1!11!
Who are we really showing up here? And what are we really reinforcing? And how MUCH IS THIS NOT HELPING any of the Iranian women who actually have to live under beliefs like the above? Because given a chance, I do not think they 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, and thus this ALSO reinforces the incorrect notion that the West has women's equality, THE END. As if we don't need to work some shit out over here, too. Which: CLEARLY.
Boobquake is like fucking cultural ethnocentrism at its worst. I mean, I personally find it distasteful, because with my big breasts, I don't really feel like getting comments made to me while walking down the street. This doesn't make me liberated, to be subject to harassment, and let's be real, that is exactly what will happen. But other than that, it gives this fucking cleric fodder to turn around and point and say: SEE???? This is all the Western women care about, the flaunting of their sinful, earthquake-causing tits!!!!!! and yeah, that's silly, but you know, he'll take that as ALL THE MORE REASON women of his country should be clamped down upon. Because the women of Iran, modest is What They Are, and They Are Not Us. And if Us means my freedom is actually about putting my tits out there in public to show some Iranian cleric whose idiocy DOES NOT AFFECT ME that I can be ALL ABOUT THE SEXUALIZATION OF MY BODY, then I don't really want to be Us either, thanks.