Boobquake, An 'Immodest Social Media Proposal' In The Jonathan Swift Satirical Tradition

In 1789, Jonathan Swift wrote "A Modest Proposal." The purpose of his essay was  to suggest that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic burden of the day by selling their children as food to the rich gentry. His satire mocked the British authorities' attempts at population control with illogical cure-all solutions. In 2010, Jen McCreight (aka Blag Hag) from Purdue University devised "An Immodest Proposal" to counter an equally absurd claim made by the prominent Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi and his theory that women's mammary glands had a direct correlation to the increase in earthquakes.


Hojatoleslam Kazem SedighiHojatoleslam Kazem SedighiIran is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric's explanation for that is women's breasts. This followed the announcement that a quake was certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate. In response, Sedighi was quoted in Chicago Tribune on April 19th that "Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."

The subsequent Facebook event page that was created for Monday, April 26 was called “Boobquake,” and it was directed at women the world over to wear their most revealing and 'immodest' apparel.

McCreight's obvious intent was to ridicule Sedighi's theory based on her belief that earthquakes did not increase exponentially when women's boobs were exposed. The event had more than 213,000 “confirmed” guests attend the event. There was also a Twitter hashtag called #boobquake that received several updates per minute and of course those wanting to capitalize on the event started selling merchandise and T-shirts to commemorate the event.

Boobquake t-shirts for saleBoobquake t-shirts for sale
McCreight on her blog acknowledged some 'pushback' from feminists who felt she was demeaning females. Her response to them was: "I'm asking women to wear their most "immodest" outfit that they already would wear, but to coordinate it all on the same day for the sake of the experiment. Heck, just showing an ankle would be considered immodest by some people."

And for those like Sedighi that require scientific proof, McCreight has put together a whole helluva lot of scientific data, graphs and analyses to refute the claims that there is any connection (what-so-ever) between boobs and earthquakes!

Boobquake graphBoobquake graph
(note: the red dot in this graph is Boobquake)

Based on these findings, it doesn't appear that women's provocative dress didn't effects the frequency of earthquakes. There were 47 earthquakes on the 26th, which falls well within the 95% confidence interval for number of earthquakes (about 0 to 148).

So from population control in the 18th Century to boob control in the 21st Century - while it look's like we have come a long way,baby - we really are still dealing with the same types of zealots that can't really get their heads around understanding 'cause and effect' …or, as some might say after learning about McCreight's Immodest Proposal -- just really "don't know a boob from a hole in the ground!"

And for red-blooded American men the world over, long live cleavage! Bras off to you Jen for 'exposing' irrational thinking, amongst other things!