Turkey's Women Battle "Don't Laugh In Public" Sexism With Epic "#Kahkaha" Campaign
On Monday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc caused an uproar when he said that good women shouldn't laugh in public. D'oh. Fortunately, Turkish women responded with a laughing social media campaign in what might be the happiest opposition a deputy prime minister has ever faced.
Arinc linked Turkey's "moral corruption" with women laughing in public in a speech made Monday, Hurriyet Daily News reported. But, hey! At least he also advocates men not being blatant sexists and loving their kids!
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.
He was sure to include that women should get off the phone and have conversations face-to-face. Cool.Though it seems like a ludicrous statement, Turkey's oppression of women is pervasive. As CNN pointed out, 40 percent of Turkish women had faced domestic violence as of 2009, and they are still largely underrepresented in government. But the influence of the patriarchy in high places is exactly why what happened next was so important. Shortly after the epic mansplaining, Twitter blew up with women posting laughing, smiling photos that are so wonderfully happy they could serve as creepy (but very uplifting) stock photos. Women around the world have tagged posts with #kahkaha (“laughter”), #direnkahkaha (“resist laughter”), and #direnkadin (“resist women”).
Even Emma Watson, who serves as an ambassador for UN Women, joined in.
Arnic has stood by his comments, only grumbling that there was too much attention given to that hugely sexist part of his speech. Meanwhile, as the presidential primaries begin in Turkey, the top challenger for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's position, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, tweeted that women should laugh more, not less.
We are definitely with you, Ihsanoglu.