There have been a lot of comments about breasts on my Facebook page this past week, ranging from amusing to ridiculous. A friend who edits a glossy giveaway magazine in Seoul posted looking for a foreign woman willing to get free breast augmentation and write about it for a series on medical tourism. The following article, to be written by him, was to be on teeth whitening, but nobody seemed offended that he would want a more sparkling smile. The thought of someone opting for a bigger rack drew more comment, and led to the magazine’s Face-book page being spammed with pictures of “butchery.” One comment asked if such cosmetic surgery was “a depressing response to societal pressure for [a] woman to conform to an unrealistic standard of ever-youthful beauty, to be an object for the male gaze?”
Erma, maybe, but as my editor friend responded, isn’t that what millions of women do daily when they apply make-up, style their hair or paint their toenails. Sure, invasive surgery is much more extreme and entails all sorts of added risks, but wasn’t the whole point of feminism to give women the right to make their own choices about their own bodies?
Which is not a concept that Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi believes in, according to comments he made while leading the Friday prayer last week. Sedighi made the startling claim that immodest and promiscuous women are to blame for seismic activity. “Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,” he said during the sermon. The fact that Iran’s capital, Teheran, sits upon multiple fault lines seems to have eluded him, as does any male role in “spreading adultery.”
In response, Jen McCreight, a student at Purdue University, invented Boob-quake, calling on women to show cleavage on Monday April 26 and see if they could make the earth move. (There was an earthquake off Taiwan early Monday but McCreight said it wasn’t “statistically significant.”) Thousands of women signed up to jiggle for the cause but McCreight also had her share of critics who claimed she was objectifying women. I guess some people just don’t understand satire, or free choice.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer
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