Brainquake: Celebrating Iranian Women

Brainquake honors the accomplishments of Iranian women with a visual history of their earth-shattering contributions–Brainquake also provides a space for all women and girls to show off their abilities, their creativity, their ingenuity to empower and remind each other of women’s greatness!

When Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi made his stupid comment that immodestly dressed women cause earthquakes, he of course joined fellow fundamentalist religious preachers such as Pat Robertson who have made similar claims about marginalized groups, women, the poor, third world nations, etc being responsible for natural disasters. In the case of Pat Robertson he went so far as accusing Haitians of having made a “pact with the Devil.”

Sedighi’s comment was no news to Iranian women, nor was it a funny joke. For over three decades the Islamic Republic has used and abused women’s bodies and women’s socio-economic and political rights in shaping and defining its repressive policies. Iranian women have fought back in various ways, one of which has been to dress “subversively” but as it 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.

We (Negar Mottahedeh and Golbarg Bashi) are saddened that Jen McCreight, a blogger at Blag Hag, and a so-called feminist and thousands of women have responded by committing to show off “some cleavage for ‘Boobquake’ this Monday”. This campaign has aroused the evidently insatiable enthusiasm of the web community, male supporters in particular who can’t wait to see “regular” girls and women, many their direct friends to “showing off their tits”.

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 a cleavage? they sag too low.”

World-wide, the sexualisation of women and younger girls, as young as pre-schoolers is a genuine problem and as mothers, feminists, and young women ourselves we believe that it is time to move away from this “bare it all” mentality.

Let’s create a “Brainquake” and show off our resumes, CVs, honors, prizes, accomplishments (photo evidence) because the Hojatoleslam and the Islamic Republic of Iran are afraid of women’s abilities to push for change, to thrive despite gender apartheid (Did you know that over 64% of students studying at universities in Iran are women?) Let’s honor the accomplishments of Iranian women by showing off our abilities, our creativity, our ingenuity, and our smarts on our blogs, on Wikipedia, on Twitter, on Youtube, on Flickr and all over Facebook. Remember to use hashtag #brainquake on Twitter.

If you would like to share you Brainquake activity, we’ll be happy to post it on Twitter with the hashtag #brainquake and on the Brainquake Facebook events page. Send it as a tweet to @negarpontifiles or email it to

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