Yes, people, you read right: I’m not doing Boobquake today. I’m doing Brainquake instead. I can just hear the chorus already…“Aw, ‘Bina…you party pooper. You spoilsport. You…you…you…HUMORLESS FEMINIST, you. Why aren’t you letting your bodacious double-Ds bounce out in the breeze, sticking it to crazy Iranian clerics who are dumb enough to think that immodest women cause earthquakes?”Well, uh…maybe it’s because I don’t feel the need to sink to that dirty-minded man’s level. He’s got Teh Stoopid, and I’m supposed to counter it with more Stoopid? Uh, no. (Besides, I’ve already mocked him here, in item #5.) How about countering him with a flash of brains instead? You know, like realizing that he might not have been talking about boobs, or legs, but simply showing your hair? That’s considered immodest by Iranian mullahs. Yes, I know. Pathetic. But it’s true. The morals police there can bust you if they think you’ve got your headscarf on too loose. Or they can make you remove your makeup and/or nail polish if it’s deemed too gaudy. Even showing your socks can be a no-no, or at least it was not so long ago. Maybe it is again today, or will be tomorrow; it all depends on the whim of the mullahs. And that’s what’s so horrible and scary. The mullahs, not the elected president, are the real rulers of Iran. Even if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (whom I don’t care for, BTW) were to be overthrown tomorrow, those guys would still be firmly in place. It is therefore with regard to them that the real cultural battles in Iran will be fought. It’s all very well for us over here to show our tits to salivating dudes and call it rebellion (or just a Girls Gone Wild video–same diff); it’s something else to rebel over there, where smaller, subtler, but far more concrete acts on a daily basis must constitute a genuine push-back against the mullahtocracy.But to understand that, you have to use your brains and read up a bit on Iran. I recommend Azar Nafisi’s book, Reading Lolita in Tehran, to give you some idea. Or Betty Mahmoody’s memoir, Not Without My Daughter. Those books make all this cheeky western girl-talk of immodesty seem downright dumb. And that’s because it IS dumb. It is, as the originator rather sheepishly confesses, a snarky joke that somehow morphed into a “protest”. It has now reaped the inevitable crowd of male gawkers that show up whenever free (as in gratis, not liberated) boobies are in the offing. This is way too frivolous to merit being called a political movement. It’s just “woo-hoo, look how rebellious we are!” Yeah, girls, someone’s looking, all right…and it’s not the person at whom this fauxtest is being aimed; he can’t see you. It’s a whole lot of other dudes, who are training their telephoto lenses at your neckline and rubbing their hands (or other body parts) with glee. Which is exactly what the misguided mullah was babbling on about, if you leave out the earthquake bit. So there you go; you’re proving him right in an effort to prove him wrong. Feel foolish yet?But hey, the boobquakers protest, this is all for the sake of science! Okay, girls, let’s do some science. (You can cover up now if you like. We won’t be needing our boobs for this one.)Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it’s true that an unscarfed head is immodest. Therefore, if the hypothesis is that immodesty causes earthquakes, this hypothesis has already been disproved. You can disprove it at any time, with a simple look around you when you’re out in public. How many women do you see who have their hair fully covered? How many do you see who don’t? If it’s a majority that don’t, and the ground isn’t shaking angrily underfoot, then you can pretty much take it for granted that the immodesty of these women isn’t making seismic trouble after all, eh?And just look at France. This past week, Sarko banned religious headscarves altogether. Has the ground opened up and swallowed the entire country? Are tremors turning the terre into a trampoline? Non? Well, then, there again is your answer. And no tittaes needed to prove the hypothesis false.Canada doesn’t have a nationwide headscarf ban; Muslim women are free to wear their scarves, or not, as they please (except in Québec). Most women here go bareheaded all year round, even when it’s foolish to do so (chills and sunstroke can happen, and for these reasons, as well as fashion, I love my hats!) Does Canada have a lot of earthquakes? No. It hardly has even minor tremors! Even “immodest” Québec hasn’t been hit with any big ‘uns. So, again: Hypothesis false.Science class dismissed. Now, let’s do some Women’s Studies.The best ones to tackle the sexist stupidity of an Iranian mullah are Iranian women. Does anyone know what they’re saying and doing about this? Maybe we should start paying attention to them. I will be. I hear that they are an educated and sophisticated bunch, on the whole, particularly the younger ones. I hope they’re criticizing this guy as he deserves. He should be feeling thoroughly embarrassed by his superstitious and outdated view of the world, and all the unwelcome attention it’s gotten him. It’s one thing to urge modesty; it’s quite another to do it with ridiculous, easily debunked arguments. If virtue isn’t its own reward, then an earthquake-free existence (or the promise thereof, which is ludicrous in a land as seismically active as Iran) isn’t going to cut it either.And speaking of rewards: What, exactly, are we supposed to be getting out of this whole skin-show, as women? In terms of actual feminist advances, we’re getting nada. Unless, of course, you count cheap laughs and bulging male eyeballs as feminist achievements. I don’t.Plus, right-wing pseudofeminist anti-Islamist warhawks are taking up the “cause”, too. Do I want to be seen flashing my ta-tas with that crowd of cretinesses? Do you?And in the end, it’s not going to shake things up for us here, is it? It’s not going to win us an extra ounce of respect. It’s not going to earn us wage parity with a man’s dollar. It’s not going to get bad laws struck down or modified. It’s not going to provide us with birth control that works, or abortion services as needed. It’s not going to provide working moms with daycare, or divorced custodial mothers with adequate child support. It’s not going to ensure that ra
pe victims get a fair hearing in court. It’s not going to keep bar-room baddies from slipping roofies in our drinks. It’s not going to level the playing field (and believe me, it’s not level, girls.) All it’s going to get…is guys ogling us. And the only thing in the world it’s gonna rock is some stranger’s cock.Call me a killjoy, but I think we can all do better than that.PS, ca. 4:10pm: And then along came Femquake….and I joined THAT, too. The nice thing about being a feminist is that you don’t have to choose between having boobs and having brains–you’re smart enough to know that it’s all in how you deploy them.PPS: And say, how’s about we do a QueerIslamicane to this Clay Yarborough dude here in Florida? Since he thinks gay people and Muslims bring hurricanes because they’re not his breed of folks, I say it might be worth testing the hypothesis. Everybody dress modestly–women in headscarves, men in turbans–and parade past his office in same-sex couples, holding hands. See if the weather starts getting rough. Too silly? Well, now you know why I didn’t do Boobquake. Like I said…we can do better.