On Boobquake, Harassment, and Adultery

Given its meteoric rise in Internet searches, you may have heard of Boobquake.  Here’s the rundown if you slept through it:

Fellow Hoosier Jen McCreight, a Purdue student, declared yesterday Boobquake after reading the following in the Chicago Tribune:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi.

Sedighi is an Iranian religious leader.  And the comment was, in my opinion, nonsense.  (Even the USGS came out earlier this month and said nothing unusual was going on).  Jen McCreight thought it was nonsense too and decided to humorously prove the cleric wrong with a little (and completely unscientific) experiment.  She recommended women join her in dressing as immodestly as they feel comfortable and when the Earth doesn’t shake, she will have proven that earthquakes are not the fault of women.  Over 200,000 people, including some of my friends, “attended” this event on Facebook (which, as of this writing, has over 1200 pictures of–mostly women–putting up pictures of their own immodesty).

As I said, the idea of Boobquake is not scientific, but it’s a lighthearted way to deal with such sexism.  Of course, there were earthquakes yesterday, as earthquakes occur many times a day–every day.  But there were no major (<7.0) earthquakes, no earthquakes in West Lafayette, Indiana (home of Purdue University), and not even a statistically relevant change in the magnitude of earthquakes around the world.  The biggest earthquake was a 6.5, but quakes between 6.0 and 6.9 occur about once every 3 days.  (The previous in that range was in the same part of the world, just 2 days earlier.)  So nothing noteworthy happened, seismically speaking.

Let’s get back to what caused all this: the uninformed words of that cleric.  He did say, not that it was women’s dress directly that caused quakes, rather it was adultery caused by women “tempting” men.  But here’s the funny thing: the Washington Post did a story less than 2 years ago that used anecdotal evidence from women that were sexually harassed just as much–if not more–when they were completely covered, than when they wore nontraditional dress.

Sounds to me like men don’t need skin to be tempted.  Does this mean that adultery isn’t about looks?  Comedian Chris Rock says cheating is a matter of opportunity: Bill Clinton didn’t have an affair with Monica Lewinsky because she was the prettiest girl he could get, but because she was the closest.  Billy Graham had a policy of never being alone with a woman who was not his wife.

I see adultery stemming, not from women making themselves too desirable to be resisted, rather from men not having willpower.  (Unfortunately, willpower is not scientifically quantifiable or measurable, so my theory cannot be tested.)  Biology says spread your seed.  Society says lay with only your wife.  Being attracted to women you’re not married to isn’t the problem.  And whether or not women are wearing skimpy clothes is not the problem either.  Evolution has created the drive for sex as one of the most powerful we have.  Right up there with our need for food.  Do I eat a Double Down?  It would probably taste pretty good.  As would sex with lots of other women.  It wouldn’t, however, be very good for me.  Besides my wife leaving me with divorce papers and an old dishwasher box to live in, there’s risk of disease or parasite infection when committing adultery.  Likewise, eating fast food everyday would probably leave me overweight and malnourished.

So with a little willpower, I will continue to enjoy the views that Boobquake has to offer from afar and stick to my 2000 calories a day.  All while Indiana earthquakes remain scarce and mild.


3 Responses

  1. I’m an Iranian; and just like any other Iranian I face this kind of beliefs almost everyday!
    The idea of Boobquake may not affect this unbelievably non-scientific point of views in our country (probably because none dare to contradict them) But it gave us a lot of hope… it actually made us believe that somewhere in this planet some people care about these things!
    BTW, Your blog is really interesting Mike! I’ve just shooted my Biological blog and I enjoyed your posts a lot 🙂

  2. Niloufar,
    Thanks so much for commenting. And believe me when I say there are people who care!

    Thanks for stopping by, taking the time to comment, and your nice words on my blog. I’ll be checking yours out as well.

    edit, your link was dead so I fixed it. Let me know if it’s not right.

  3. Speaking of boobs, here’s a post from my blog, The Word on Employment Law, about the recent New York jury verdict involving a TV reporter and her breasts. Thought you might be interested.


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