Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Shaken because stirred

Several people have drawn my attention to this stunner in various media today, here's a snippet from Stuff:
A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.

..."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 was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Click through for whole article.

So much wrong with this where do I start? How about you help me out in comments...

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

No sillier than Rush Limbaugh claiming that icelandic volacanoes taking out air traffic in Europe are an expression of God's wrath (and bad aim), or Pat Robertson's claim that Haiti's pact with the devil caused their earthquake.
Us Westerners are quite capable of creating our own silliness.

Joanna said...

Maybe you need to get down with the Boob Quake too! http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116336578385346

Julie said...

Anon are you implying that we only write about this stuff when it's non-Westerners being ridiculous? Cos that would actually show you haven't read this blog much.

Anonymous said...

Obviously utter rubbish and a reflection of extreme oppression in Iran.

I'd be interested to hear people's views on this 'boobquake' thing. I support the idea overall as a tongue in cheek thing but it kind of reminds me of that 'post the colour of your bra' thing that went on a while ago that seemed more about titillating (scuse’ the pun) men as opposed to highlighting a health issue in a meaningful way. Is the boobquake idea likely to be similar? Just saying...

Hugh said...

Anon:

This may be a derail, but it occurs to me that if we are going to take issue with displays of female flesh even when it is voluntary, undertaken by women of their own initiative and with goals we approve of, we are reaching the point where we're taking the style of pornography (exposed female flesh) as the worst thing, not the underlying substance (exploitation, etc)

To say this protest should be avoided because it might titillate some men is to blame women for men's responses to them. If you feel it's inappropriate for men to be aroused by the 'boobquake' campaign, fair enough, but aim your criticism at the men, not the women.

Anonymous said...

Hugh, I am not saying that I think this. I am saying that I am not sure what I think and was keen to hear what other feminists think. I'm not meaning to be critical in that sense you are suggesting.

Hugh said...

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/quick-clarification-about-boobquake.html

Anonymous said...

I've read that. This is kind of what I was getting at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/beth_mann/2010/04/22/boobquake_and_the_cutefication_of_feminism

Anonymous said...

http://open.salon.com/blog/beth_mann/2010/04/22/boobquake_and_the_cutefication_of_feminism

Sorry here is the whole link. I understand the idea. But it is what people do with that idea that concerns me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for some reason the link won't show up. It will show up in google under:
'Boobquake and the Cutefication of Feminism'

stargazer said...

thanx for the link anon, it was an interesting read and i'd pretty much agree with it.

Hugh said...

Thanks for the link Anon, I enjoyed reading it. But that being said I find myself having difficulty agreeing with it.

It's true that the boobquake phenomenon is probably attracting support that has nothing to do with the issue it's ostensibly addressing and has more to do with men appreciating the sight of women's breasts, I don't think this invalidates the campaign. If you view such reactions as inappropriate, allowing them to sabotage the campaign is only compounding their inappropriateness.

But I'm not even prepared to accept that much, to be honest. I agree with Ms Mann that the 'this is just a bit of light-hearted fun' argument doesn't stand, and obviously the attacks she and others have faced for their stance are rephrensible. But I think her stance is incorrect.

To me the problem in her argument lies in her use of the phrase 'overly sexualised'. Firstly, this phrase seems to imply that, while some sexuality is OK, there is a level of sexuality or sexualised appearance which is unacceptable simply for what it is, regardless of context - that we can have some sexuality, but not too much. And I find it even more difficult to agree with the idea that this level of over-sexuality is set at the level of visible cleavage. This all seems at odds with her later statement that 'women should be able to sexually express themselves how they see fit'.

If we're restricting the ways in which women can sexually express themselves without criticism to ways that won't evoke facile responses from men, then we effectively restricting them quite strongly.