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Jen McCreight

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Jen McCreight is an atheist and feminist activist and blogger. She is known the instigator of two crossovers between atheism and feminism: "Boobquake" and Atheism Plus.

Her blog, Blag Hag, was originally available at blaghag.com, but she joined Freethought Blogs in September 2011.[1] Due to her prolonged involvement with the controversy over sexism in the atheist and skeptical movements (since Elevatorgate), she is loathed by various MRAs and has become one of the focal points of anti-Freethought Blogs hate.

Boobquake[edit]

In early 2010, there came news reports that an Iranian Islamic cleric, Kazem Seddiqi,Wikipedia's W.svg had blamed earthquakes on God's wrath because of women who dressed immodestly and advised "Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes" and Iranians should "adapt their lives to Islam's moral codes" to avoid being "buried under the rubble."[2]. The day that this was reported, McCreight comically encouraged her readers (via Facebook) to dress "in your immodest clothing to represent Boobquake,"[3] which she referred to as a scientific experiment. The actual event took place on April 26, with McCreight carefully avoiding hateful, anti-Islamic, or anti-Iranian messages.

The center of the event (the "epicenter") was at Purdue University, with participants dressed in appropriate attire and carrying signs saying things like "Cleavage for Science," "Amnesty," and "God hates boobs," Unsurprisingly, there were more "spectators" than participants.[4]

The good[edit]

An estimated 200,000 people participated in Boobquake.[5] Some women even went topless in New York, where it was legal to do so. Official Blag Hag attire (sadly, this no longer includes Boobquake attire) can be purchased from McCreight's Zazzle store, the proceeds of which go to the Red Cross for earthquake recovery and the James Randi Educational Foundation.[6]

True to the, um, scientific nature of the event, McCreight ran a rigorous statistical analysis of seismic activity during Boobquake and figured out that world-wide incidence of earthquakes on April 26 was actually below average. Conclusion: boobs stop earthquakes![7]

The bad[edit]

Imagine any event where feminists flash cleavage (e.g. SlutWalk), take a wild guess what happened, and you'll probably be right. Internet trolls swarmed into attack mode, and McCreight received a large amount of sex propositions from people who interpreted the statement "I don't appreciate having my choice of clothes blamed for natural disasters by some fanatical idiot" as meaning, "I'm a grade-A nymphomaniac and want YOU to have sex with me!"

Feminist responses[edit]

The event received quite a bit of positive support from Iranian expatriates who are seeking to improve the condition of women in Iran, such as Mina AhadiWikipedia's W.svg (of the International Committee Against Executions and Stoning) and Maryam Namazie (of Iran Solidarity), both of whom are members of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. They focused on how the event was a demonstration for the dignity of Muslim women.[8]

Others however, did not agree. Golbarg Bashi, another Iranian expatriate and feminist, argued that the event objectified women and was a "post-feminist" spectacle that gave encouragement to anti-Iranian and anti-Islamic elements, and thus detracted from the Iranians' own attempts to improve women's positions in their society.

Bashi created a counter-event called "Brainquake," making a statement focusing on how the event was gaining attention because there were boobs involved, rather than because it was actually doing anything:[9]

When an obscure Iranian cleric suggested in April 2010 that earthquakes were caused by immodestly dressed women (just as Pat Robertson has often stated here in the US), Jen McCreight ... used the opportunity to go on a false white[10] liberal "post-feminist" high pedestal and asked women in social media to join her in showing their "cleavage" to prove that earthquakes are not caused by women's dress. Our usual boob-crazed, I mean civilized male-dominated mass media went potty over this "eye-ran" (read as Iran/Islam) related campaign, turned it into a major international story and thousands of (mostly) men joined McCreight's "Boobquake" Facebook event. It was in this context that Brainquake began as an Iranian counter feminist initiative to save the discourse on women's rights from being used as another spectacle and provide visual reference to Iranian women's own century long feminist struggles against sexism and tyranny. Nearly three years on Brainquake is still relevant as a progressive feminist platform that puts reliable gender-related news and information in its global and comparative context and tries to inspire and raise awareness about a whole range of urgent feminist causes and struggles. Meanwhile Jen McCreight's "Boobquake" remains as useful to feminism as a copy of Hugh Hefner’s magazine where fans post and ask to see new photos of women's bear chest (it seems that an already dangerously saturated world wide web filled with images of sexualized women isn't enough to satisfy the fan base). Most noteworthy perhaps is that in an attempt to show “sympathy” with the cause of women’s rights in Iran (guessing here), McCreight complacently provides her fans with a link to none other than the notorious Islamophobe Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “foundation” for "more information."

This sort of rhetoric was not really anything new — the feminist movement has been roiled by "identity politics" since the 1960s as women who were not white and/or middle class work to get their perspectives heard — but it did give people a way to criticize Boobquake without explicitly saying, "Those women shouldn't have flashed their cleavage." Boobquake might be defended against this criticism as follows:

  • If nothing else, it drew attention to the continued mistreatment of women in Iran.
  • While this was started as a response to a specific statement by a specific Muslim cleric, it is not specifically anti-Islamic as it also applies to similar comments from Christian clergy blaming natural disasters on homosexuality.

Some commentators, such as Iranian-American writer Melody MoezziWikipedia's W.svg asked "why not both?" in response to the conflict between Boobquake and Brainquake.

Elevatorgate and Atheism+[edit]

In response to the large amount of frank sexism she received from members of the atheist community (thanks, guys) she started the Atheism+ forum to be a place to discuss issues of sex, gender, race, and disability within an atheist framework. Needless to say she caught endless amounts of hell from the usual suspects for this one too.

Attack by Roosh[edit]

In response to McCreight's criticism[11] of Roosh V's article, The Relationship Between Femininity & Education,[12] Roosh remarked:[13]

This is the ugliest girl I've seen in 19 months, since I first left the USA. Just a totally ghastly she-beast. I mean, this girl is butt-ugly. You know, it's one of those falling-down-the-ugly-tree-hitting-every-branch-on-the-way-down ugly. And you know, as like a joke I posted a Twitter comment asking, "Would you date this girl?" I don't debate feminists because it's like debating a child. They won't change their mind in light of opposing facts. So I posted this comment just meant to be, meaning to be a jerk. And, uh, a lot of guys, they wrote back saying, "Absolutely not," and "She's ugly." One guy called her a troglodyte.

Well, this enraged her. She made another comm-, post about it, saying, you know, "These men, they called me ugly." And then, so you would expect the comments to be, "Yeah, they are jerks." But instead, you had these comments saying, "No, you are beautiful. You are beautiful, you are amazing." And then I pinched myself to make sure I'm not in a horrible nightmare. And when I realized I was not, I had to accept that these guys were being serious, that they really think she is a beautiful person. And then she ran to Reddit, and said, "Look at this! Guys are calling, other horrible people are calling me ugly," and the same thing. There was this outpouring of comments saying, "No, you are beautiful, amazing, good-looking."

If you can't call that bitch ugly, I mean, you can't call anyone ugly. This is ugliness personified. This is the ugly standard, okay? . . . If you can't call that girl ugly and get a high-five from that, the culture has completely lost. . . . . I think the way that we can fight that is, if you see a woman trying to show, show an attitude that is above her, her station, that is above her talent, her intellect, you should call her out. You should call her either fat, or ugly.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]