Many of Turkey’s female Internet users on Saturday gave their male counterparts a taste of the sexist remarks to which they are subjected on a daily basis.
“A man should not laugh in public,” “He was wearing mini shorts,” and “Learn to drive,” some of the women tweeted.
In a sign that women have had enough of the sexism and violence endemic in a patriarchal society, “Let men remain in their place” headed the list of the most frequent hashtags used on Twitter in Turkey on Saturday.
“What did he do to get that post? He must have slept with someone. In any event he is always wearing slim-fitting jeans,” wrote one Internet user whose tweets were among many devoted to sexism at work.
“I see men wearing tight mini shorts and perfume, and laughing in the street. After that they complain of sexual harassment,” wrote another.
Many personalities, such as singer Sila, as well as the Office of the Mayor of Istanbul joined the movement. “From 10 p.m., our bus drivers will allow men to get off where they wish, for their own safety,” quipped the Mayor’s Office, in a reference to a similar measure put in place for women.
The deluge of messages reflects the increasing pressure felt by women in Turkey, where violence is a persistent feature of life. According to “We shall end femicide”, a group that defends women’s rights, 413 women were killed by a partner or ex-partner in Turkey in 2019.
While President Recep Tayyip Erdogan often denounces violence against women, women’s associations accuse him of not doing enough to prevent it. They charge that he trivialised sexism, for example, by urging women to have “at least three children,” or by declaring that they are “incomplete” until they become mothers.
A former Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arinç, aroused much indignation in 2014, when he declared that women should not “laugh noisily” in the street. His declaration was widely recirculated on social media on Saturday, after being duly adapted, with women tweeting: “A man must not laugh loudly in public; he must be modest.”