Iran News ...


04/26/10

From 'Boobquake' to 'Brainquake'

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

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 gender apartheid."

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 earthquakes.


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 repressive policies.
 
"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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