I didn’t say anything about “boobquake” because although I thought it was quite funny and a good riposte to ridiculous clerical misogyny, I also have reservations about women joining in with laddism – plus I hate the word “boobs.” They’re tits, dammit! Like the birds.

But Miranda Hale said anything and Jerry Coyne said anything, and then they got some rather strong reactions, so I thought I would say anything.

A commenter at Why Evolution is True made the point succinctly:

There’s a big difference between paying attention to what women are saying and paying attention to their breasts. If women want attention to be paid to what they have to say, they should stop trying to get it with their cleavage.

Exactly; not least because the cleavage distracts attention from the saying. Does this really have to be said? Doesn’t everybody know this? Isn’t that in fact the point?

I think of it as The Cuddy Effect. What do you think of when you see Cuddy? She’s so brilliant, she’s such a great doctor-administrator? I don’t think so. I don’t think you’re supposed to, and I don’t think you do.

In a perfect world we could have both – we could revel in everything all at the same time and nothing would distract from anything else. But we don’t live in that world. We can’t drive and text at the same time, and we can’t not be distracted by sexual signaling.

This fact disadvantages women a lot more than it does men. Women are always already seen (by men, and men do still set the rules – for how tv shows like House get made, for instance) as primarily for and about sex, whether yes or no (yes she’s a hotty, no she’s repulsive). We have to fight to be seen as for and about anything else. The more we play up tits and ass, the more we lose that fight.

This isn’t fair, obviously, but it’s true.

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