From 'Boobquake' to 'Brainquake'
By Golnaz Esfandiari,
A chance to stand up for
women's rights -- without removing the veil.
A new campaign, titled "Brainquake," has been
launched on Facebook, calling on women to show off their résumés, CVs, honors,
prizes, and accomplishments. The goal is to get conservative Iranian leaders
quaking with fear at "women's abilities to push for change and to thrive despite
The campaign is a reaction to "Boobquake," an initiative by a U.S. student, Jen
McCreight, calling on women to test the claim by Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam
Kazem Sedighi that women who dress immodestly promote adultery and thus
increase the risk of
Activists demanding women's rights - Tehran, June 2009
The creators of "Brainquake" say on their
Facebook page that they're saddened that the creator of "Boobquake"
and thousands of other women have responded to Sedighi's claim by resolving to
show some cleavage on April 26.
"Everyday women and young girls are forced
to 'show off cleavage' and more in order simply to be heard, to be seen, or
to advance professionally. The web is already filled with images of naked
women; the porn industry thrives online and many young girls are already
vulnerable to predatory abuse. Violence against women and girls has a direct
correlation to the sexualisation of women and girls. The extent of their
sexualisation is evident in the hundreds of replies that pour into the 'Boobquake'
Facebook page where women write, apologetically: 'I don't have boobs, not
fair' or 'Hey, I only have a C cup...' and 'What about those of us who no
longer have cleavage? They sag too low.'"
"Brainquake's" creators say Sedighi's comment was no
news to Iranian women, nor was it funny. They note that for the past 30 years,
the Islamic Republic has violated women's rights with what they describe as
"Iranian women have fought back in various
ways, one of which has been to dress 'subversively,' but as is evident in
the Green Movement, it is not their 'beauty' or bodies that they have
utilized in fighting against a brutal theocracy but their brains, their
creativity, art, writings, etc."
Iranian women make up more than 60 percent of
university entrants. Women were at the forefront of the protests against the
disputed reelection of Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. And a number of
women's rights activists were detained and sentenced to prison in the
postelection crackdown, including Shiva Nazar Ahari and student leader Bahareh
Hedayat, who both remain in jail.
Both "Boobquake" and "Brainquake" are taking place on Monday, April 26.
Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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