The Turkish Government sparked a social media trend this week when the deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arinç, claimed that women should be seen and not heard (laughing).
Speaking of the country’s social decline, Arinç said:
“A man should be moral but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent. She should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times”.
In the past I’ve blogged about the need for social media silence, when it comes to brands trying to manipulate sensitive social issues for commercial gain. (American Apparel and Blackberry – I’m looking at you. Just click on the links to see why.) But, when it comes to gender inequality we need to shout, as loud as we can.
Women are accompanying their ‘laughies’ with the hashtag #direnkahkaha, which means resist laughter, highlighting the absurdity of the personal claims. And it’s already peaked at an estimated 3,000 tweets an hour in the last day, proving that we do have a voice.
But, unfortunately the issue isn’t contained just in Turkey. A new Change.org petition in the UK is calling for old NHS and Home Office posters to be scrapped from waiting rooms across the country. Why? Because it says this:
This naive attitude is up there with ‘women put themselves at risk when they dress in a certain way, leading men on’. It’s not right.
Both of these incidents are offensive, judgemental and make women feel worthless. The only difference is that the UK took this feedback on board and dropped the marketing materials in 2007. The worrying thing about Turkey is that these comments are current – proving how little they value the women in their society and everything they can offer their communities.
To Arinç I say: click here. This campaign is for you.
To Turkish women I say: keep tweeting.
To the rest of the world I say: keep watching. Women should be seen, heard and spoken to with respect – always.