Hayley is a Ghost

does my free choice offend thee?

Posted on: April 29, 2010

On the 26th I took part in #boobquake because I thought it was a cheeky, funny idea to help promote the fact that it’s actually pretty common to be skeptical about irrational claims that people make. For an Iranian cleric to state that boobs caused seismic activity was pretty irrational (not to mention laughable) and so when Jen McCreight from Blaghag put forwards the idea of boobquake and people in their masses decided to take part I thought “why not?”

It was harmless fun, and I was quite pleased to see numerous friends of mine who aren’t involved in the skeptical community asking me what it was about and then looking into it further and sharpening their own rational thinking skills. One friend of mine has even discovered skeptics in the pub through the boobquake and so that was really pleasing.

However, the boobquake has come under criticism for being sexist and anti-feminist and, although I can see why people might think that, I really think that people are just overreacting. For one, boobquake was voluntary, two, it was voluntary, and three, it was voluntary.

If somebody is willing to take part in an event in which they have to show a bare arm, a bit of boob etc. then who is anyone to tell them they can’t because it’s oppressing them as free people? I like to think that anyone who refers to themselves as a skeptic is able to make the free choice to take part in an event after summarising whether they feel it is suitable and, I’m pretty sure that nobody was forced to dress down on the 26th by anyone involved with boobquake.

It made me ponder who it was that was being anti-feminist. Jen from Blaghag for encouraging people to question the vile claims that had been made about women, or the cleric who had deemed himself as important enough to tell women exactly how they should dress. I think that the people who decided to take part in boobquake were able to deem for themselves whether or not they felt it was a suitable thing for them to do or not.

Another thought that crossed my mind was that if this large group of female skeptics showing a bit of cleavage was so anti-feminist somebody ought to travel back in time and tell the feminists of years gone by that they shouldn’t be removing their bras in public and pretending to burn them because they’re being anti-feminist. I think that would go down quite well.

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3 Responses to "does my free choice offend thee?"

This is an interesting one. It has certainly divided opinion amongst skeptical women too, as witnessed in the blogs…. I have to say that although I was generally in favour of the idea, on some level deep down it made me a little uncomfortable. Maybe that was not due to the women involved though, or the idea, rather the response of many men to the idea.

But then maybe there were men on the sidelines in the bra-burning days too, shouting ‘yeah! bra’s off: get ’em out for the lads!”.

Like I said, I can totally understand where the criticism came from for the event, but I think it was down to the individuals to decide whether they felt it was offensive. I just didn’t like it when people were accusing Jen of being anti-feminist when she wasn’t intending to be at all. I think it’s all about how the individual read the event and it’s meaning.

Just for the record I don’t think the intention was anti-feminist, I think some of the discussion about it (and heckling) has been anti-feminist, and some has been anti-choice, as you say.
For example, it was only after I signed up to ‘attend’ that i felt uncomfortable and questioned it in my own mind based on the reactions of others (for ‘others’ read ‘some of my male friends’ – and skeptics included there).

However, I’m sure Jen is more than fine with it- after all, people are still talking about it, and discussing the motivations etc. behind it. And I guess that’s a good thing, as I think her motivations were quite explicit, and worthy of discussion.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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