Why are men in Turkey wearing skirts?
Men wear mini skirts in show of solidarity for women's rights
Ahhh, Turkey. You are such a bastion of entertaining (read: semi-offensive and controversial) issues with women. Remember that time Emma Watson responded to Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc’s remark on how women should not display joy in public, with exactly that – a photo of her laughing in public?
Well, she’s had to raise her voice again for the women of Turkey. But this time, it’s in celebration.
This time she’s raised her voice for the good men of Turkey, who are showing their support for Turkish women by – get ready for this – wearing skirts in public. The skirt symbolizes the fact that it is not the choice of the woman wearing a skirt that causes her to be raped, but rather the blatant disregard of the assaulter to admit that it was his brutality and grotesqueness that is the cause. (Yes, there are people who still blame skirts for women being assaulted–ugh.)
Women’s rights have been the subject of debate for years in Turkey. While I’d like to think this issue is settled and having to advocate for women’s rights is no longer necessary, the government of Turkey is proving my hope wrong. Women’s rights in Turkey is, unfortunately, being unraveled and undone as I write this.The government, who is supposed to protect their citizens’ rights, are doing the exact opposite and putting limitations on Turkish women.
Back in November, 2014, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared, at an international conference on justice and rights for women, that women are not, and should not, be regarded as equal to men because it is against their nature. Mind you, he says this AT A CONFERENCE FOR JUSTICE AND RIGHTS FOR WOMEN. Again, the audacity of these Turkish government officials...
This is the same President who claimed that Muslims discovered the Americas at least 300 years before Columbus. That is the equivalent of me claiming I stepped on the moon before Neil Armstrong, can we take anything he says seriously?
Now back to the issues in the last few days. The men’s creative protest followed the brutal rape and murder of Ozgecan Aslan, a 20 year old university student. People took to social media to express their outrage on the situation – and even started a hashtag #OzgecanAslan.
In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proved he does care-at least about basic safety of women- and is doing the best he can to find the murderers and bring them to justice. On Twitter he’s quoted saying: "To make sure the perpetrators who brutally slayed our daughter, Ozgecan, get the heaviest punishment that they deserve, I will personally pursue this lawsuit."
But, I would like to point out that while President Erdogan does clearly care about the wellbeing of his citizens, he, and his policies, still impinges on women’s rights as a whole in Turkey. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report in 2014, Turkey ranked 125th out of 142 countries! If math isn’t your strong suit, that means that Turkey ranks really really low, basically at the bottom, for gender equality.
President Erdogan only recently became president in August, 2014 but he has been Prime Minister for years. And since he’s been running the country, he has repeatedly stated his belief that Turkish women should bear at least three children, wants to limit cesarean sections-alleging that women cannot give birth to babies after such a surgery, and wants to abolish most abortions. Basically, he thinks women belong in the kitchen subservient to their men.
This skirt protest is huge. It is potentially a major step in a movement towards gender equality in Turkey. Let’s applaud all the Turkish men who went out and protested for women’s rights in skirts. We, global citizens, should continue to push further past boundaries for social justice. Let’s follow in these men’s example!