The mother should die instead

Something else I do sometimes? Laugh in public. Omigod – the blasphemy of it.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç says that’s not allowed.

Speaking during an Eid el-Fitr meeting on July 28, Arınç described his ideal of the chaste man or woman, saying they should both have a sense of shame and honor.

“Chastity is so important. It is not only a name. It is an ornament for both women and men. [She] will have chasteness. Man will have it, too. He will not be a womanizer. He will be bound to his wife. He will love his children. [The woman] will know what is haram and not haram. She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness,” Arınç said, adding that people had abandoned their values today.

People needs to discover the Quran once again, Arınç said, adding that there had been a regression on moral grounds.

“Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?” he said.

Yeah where are they, our girls who used to act like affected timid simpletons instead of human beings like other human beings? God it’s such a tragedy that we can’t just have one sex that’s grown up and sensible and competent and another one that’s childish and fragile and helpless.

Turkish women are laughing at Bülent Arınç. In public.

Twitter in Turkey broke into a collective grin on Wednesday as hundreds of women posted pictures of themselves laughing.

They weren’t just happy. They were smiling in defiance of the deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinç, who in a speech to mark Eid al-Fitr on Monday said women should not laugh in public.

“Chastity is so important. It’s not just a word, it’s an ornament [for women],” Arinç told a crowd celebrating the end of Ramadan in the city of Bursa in an address that decried “moral corruption” in Turkey. “A woman should be chaste. She should know the difference between public and private. She should not laugh in public.”

On Wednesday thousands of women posted pictures of themselves laughing out loud, with the hashtags #direnkahkaha (resist laughter) and #direnkadin (resist woman) trending on Twitter.

Turkish men also took to social media to express their solidarity. “The men of a country in which women are not allowed to laugh are cowards”, tweeted one user.

Besides, who the hell is going to laugh at men’s jokes if women can’t?

Kidding, kidding. Totally kidding. Where’s your sense of humor?

Other opposition figures pointed out that Arinç’s comments highlighted the dismal state of women’s rights in Turkey. Calling on people to protest against massive violence towards women at a demonstration next week, Melda Onur, an Istanbul MP for the main opposition Republican People’s party, wrote on Twitter: “We would have left Arinç to his fantasies and wouldn’t even have laughed about it, but while so many murders are being committed he makes [women] a target by stressing the need for chastity.”

A 2009 report commissioned by the Prime Ministry Directorate on the Status of Women found that more than 40% of Turkey’s female population have suffered domestic violence. More than 120 have been killed since the beginning of this year alone, mostly by their partners or other family members.

Can’t we get Christina Hoff Sommers to come along and tweet that that’s all a myth? Or is it only feminism west of the Bosporus that prompts her to do that.

Mehtap Dogan of the Socialist Feminist Collective – who was among the women who posted pictures of herself laughing – said that Arinç’s statements were not an isolated incident of misogyny.

“His words perfectly illustrate his and the [ruling] AK party’s attitude towards women,” she said. “In their eyes, women should not have any rights, they treat us like a separate species.”

It was certainly not the first time the government of Erdogan – infamous for his admission that he did not believe in equality between men and women – has provoked outrage with discriminatory remarks.

Dogan added: “Using moralism to hide behind, they defend violence, rape, and sexism.”

In 2012, when the government tried to massively curb the right to abortion, Ankara mayor Melih Gökcek said on public television: “Why should the child die if the mother is raped? The mother should die instead.”

Meaning, she should have the child first, and then die?

Nice plan.


  1. soogeeoh says

    I saw a link to another article at Hürriyet’s English online presence about women …

    Turkish court considers wearing tights as ‘provocative’ factor in domestic violence case

    A local court in the eastern province of Erzurum has reduced the sentence of a husband who attacked his wife after seeing her with another man, arguing that her wearing tights and sitting “slightly leaning to one side” could be described as “provocative” and an extenuating circumstance.

  2. MyaR says

    True story: I was once fired for laughing too much. Also, ugh. (Also, an excellent use of Twitter — it’s not all just snarky bon mots and Dawkins stepping in it.)

  3. drken says

    Hey, men in Turkey are oppressed too! He’s calling for men not to cheat on their wives and love their children. What about the men who’s wives don’t put out and who’s kids are jerks. You know who else thought people should love their kids? Hitler, that’s who. /snark

  4. MyaR says

    Possibly the “best” part of getting fired for laughing at work? I was working for a welfare-to-work agency that did job training. Wouldn’t want those women (the clients were about 95% women) to think that work might be something that could be enjoyable. (Seriously, this company had some racism, sexism and classism problems.)

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