Why All These Women Posting Pictures Of Themselves Laughing In Public Is NO Joke
Thousands of women have taken to Twitter and other social networks to mock Turkey's deputy prime minister for his declaration that women should not laugh in public.
This is Bülent Arinc, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister
On 28 July, at an Eid al-Fitr meeting, during a speech on the evils of moral corruption in Turkey, he said that the Turkish women "should not laugh out loud in public"
The Deputy Prime Minister 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."hurriyetdailynews.com
"[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.telegraph.co.uk
Arinc further said that people needs to discover the Quran once again, 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. He said some TV series geared toward young people had because teenagers to grow up only as “sex addicts,” accusing those who abuse the excitement of youths with publications on TV, the web, newspapers, or in educational places, especially in universities.hurriyetdailynews.com
Complaining about high consumption of cars and mobiles among individuals, he once again targeted women, saying that women talk about trivial things on the phone and that they shouldn't
During the speech given to celebrate the end of Ramadan – during which Muslims fast for a month – Mr Arınc criticised the conversations women have on their mobile phones. “Women give each other meal recipes while speaking on the mobile phone. ‘What else is going on?’ ‘What happened to Ayşe’s daughter?’ ‘When is the wedding?’ Talk about this face to face,” he said.telegraph.co.uk
His comments immediately prompted a huge social media backlash from Turkish women, with thousands posting photos of themselves laughing and smiling on Twitter and Instagram
Within the space of a few minutes on Tuesday, 50 images were uploaded to photo-sharing website, Instagram, of women laughing with the hashtag, #kahkahah. So far there have been more than 300,000 tweets using the term "kahkaha" - the Turkish word for "laughter" - and on the hashtags "Resist Laughter" (#direnkahkaha) and "Resist Woman" (#direnkadin).bbc.com
Across social media networks, users shared images and videos of themselves laughing, including images of Emine Erdogan - Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's wife, laughing
To reflect the double-standard nature of his comments, users shared images of Mrs Erdogan laughing to vent their anger at Mr Arınc's comments, including @patasana_. In the caption, the cheeky user asks: "Did someone make a comment on women who laugh and comment on their chastity?"telegraph.co.uk
Many - correctly - suggested the government should focus on issues like rape, domestic violence and the marriage of girls at a young age - rather than women laughing in public
"It was an extremely outrageous and conservative statement," says writer and political commentator Ece Temelkuran, who has almost one million followers on Twitter.bbc.com
She was among the first to tweet an image of herself smiling - and encouraged other women to do the same. "My whole timeline was full of women laughing - which was extraordinary, and kind of beautiful," she told BBC Trending.bbc.com
Three women laugh in this beautiful Instagram photo posted under the hashtag #kahkaha on 30 July 2014
Neelie Kroes, the European Union's digital agenda commissioner, chimed in on the debate, warning Arinc that she will laugh when she wants to on her next trip to Turkey's largest city
Then on 30 July, The Deputy Prime Minister defended his speech, claiming his remark was taken out of context. He told a Turkish TV station that his speech was about general "good manners."
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has defended his claim that his recent criticism against women “laughing” was interpreted out of context, while slamming women “who go for a vacation with their lovers while leaving their husbands behind and can’t wait to climb poles when they see one.”hurriyetdailynews.com
“My speech was not just about a few reminders for women; it was targeting men, too,” Arınç said while answering public broadcaster TRT Haber’s questions on July 30. “I stand by my words,” Arınç said, arguing that urging just women to not laugh is “irrational,” but his speech was about “general rules of ethics and good manners.”nydailynews.com
“There are some artists who now laugh artificially and send me their photos. Real laughs relieve a person, but these are artificial ones. Those who go for a vacation with their lovers while leaving their husbands behind and can’t wait to climb poles when they see one,” Arınç added.hurriyetdailynews.com
Arınç did not name any names, but Asena Erkin, wife of Fenerbahçe footballer Caner Erkin, had recently shared a photo on her Instagram account, reading, “When I find a [dancing] pole, I never miss the chance.” Asena Erkin had also reportedly gone for a vacation with a pop singer while her husband remained in Turkey last year.nydailynews.com
But his so-called clarification didn't appease Turkish women and their smiling supporters
"I'm free and whether I laugh or not is my decision," says 23-year-old Hazal Naz Besleyici who posted a photo of herself with a broad grin in response to the comments. "They should not interfere in our life," she told BBC Trending.bbc.com
Many men in Turkey have joined in the criticism of the deputy prime minister. "Oh God, let this be just a joke," tweeted Fatih Portakal, a famous Turkish TV presenter.nationalpost.com
"If women can't laugh in public, then men should not cry in public," he added - a reference to the deputy prime minister's reputed propensity to shed a tear when listening to speeches by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.bbc.com
Some of the several photos posted in retaliation on Twitter and Instagram, using hashtags #kahkaha, meaning "laughter," and #direnkahkaha, meaning "resist laughter"
Several public figures in Turkey have also tweeted support for the protest. According to a Reuters translation, opposition presidential candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu tweeted:
"Our country needs our women to laugh and to hear everyone's joyful laughter more than ever."twitter.com
This is Hazal Naz Besleyici, and she doesn't want the government telling her whether she can laugh or not