Politics and push-up bras: Boobquake’s Jennifer McCreight
HOW much cleavage does it take to move the world? That’s the question behind Boobquake, the latest Facebook protest to cause a stir.
Started in response to Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi’s claim that promiscuous women were to blame for earthquakes, the event asks the fairer sex to show off in the name of science.
On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. 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.
After the event spread to tens of thousands of people in its first day, founder Jennifer McCreight told us what it was like to become “internet famous” overnight and what she planned to do next — assuming, of course, the world wasn’t destroyed in the process.
The Boobquake event page on Facebook / news.com.au
Would you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m 22 years old and studying Genetics & Evolution at Purdue University (Indiana, US). I’ll be starting my PhD at the University of Washington in the fall.
Is Boobquake the first protest event you’ve started on Facebook?
Actually, no. I’m the president and co-founder of the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue, a student group for atheists and agnostics on campus. We’ve done various events and protests in the past, and I’m in charge of advertising them on Facebook. But the Non-Theists aren’t associated with Boobquake at all – this is a personal “project.”
Why do you think it has become so popular?
Because everyone loves a good boob joke. Seriously though, I think people were fed up with ridiculous anti-science and anti-women claims like the one made by Sedighi, and sometimes light-hearted mockery is the best solution.
People are pointing out that this won’t actually help oppressed women – and I agree, it’s not organised or well thought out enough to do that. But it’s getting people interested, and maybe in the future we can do some real activism; it’s certainly needed.
What’s it like to be “internet famous” all of a sudden?
I jokingly called myself a “D-list internet celebrity” before Boobquake, since my blog is fairly popular within atheist circles.
However, I would have never expected this amount of attention. It really demonstrates the power of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which is where most of the advertisement for Boobquake took off. I actually had a classmate in my Biomedical Ethics class ask today if I was Blag Hag (McCreight’s blog alter ego) – kind of bizarre.
And while the popularity is fun, it’s also a bit annoying. I’ve spent a lot of time doing serious activism and writing intelligent pieces, yet a silly boob joke gets the most attention. Hopefully people will still stick around after Boobquake, assuming we don’t destroy the world in the process.
You mention on your blog that the event might “come off as demeaning toward women”. Is that something people have said to you?
The negative reactions are rare, but occasionally pop up. Once the event started gaining popularity, I knew it would occur – I quickly wrote the initial post as a joke, not expecting it to take off. If I would have known how popular it would become, I would have carefully chosen my wording to more appropriately explain my goals.
I don’t blame women who voice their concerns, since objectification of women is a legitimate thing to be concerned about – especially with the creepy posts some men are making on the Facebook event and blog post. They’re the ones missing the point a bit.
What is the most encouraging feedback you’ve had so far?
I’ve received such an overwhelming amount of positive emails, messages, and tweets that I can’t keep up with them all. It’s wonderful to know there are other people out there who won’t stand for supernatural thinking, especially when it blames women for all the world’s ills.
How are you going to measure the success of Boobquake?
I’m going to compare the number and strength of earthquakes on April 26th with those in the past to see if there’s any significant difference. The main flaw is that Boobquake is only a sample size of one – maybe we’ll have to repeat it again for more robust science. Or maybe I can just throw in Mardi Gras. If an earthquake reduces only my bedroom to rubble, I’d also take that as sufficient evidence for God’s wrath. I’m not too worried.