Yüksel Aytuğ, 2010. Hürriyet photo
Turkish columnist Yüksel Aytuğ has responded to worldwide criticism over his recent opinion piece that accused the Olympic Games of "killing womanhood" due to the physical impact it has on women athletes' bodies, saying he "had never been more misunderstood" in his life.
Aytuğ said his recent piece was "taken in the exact opposite" of the meaning he was going for, while stating that despite the online backlash, the article was now "the most liked article on the newspaper's Facebook page" he had ever written.
"I will say it upfront, my intention is not to watch beautiful female bodies at the Olympic Games," Aytuğ wrote today. "I wrote that piece thinking that it should be first women who would criticize the female body being forced to look like a man's body. I think this is a new method of insulting and putting pressure on women. I repeat: The Olympic success of female athletes should not be based on looking like men."
Continuing his defense, he said, "I tried to defend the female spirit, the female grace, and motherhood; that's all."
Aytuğ said that despite the popularity of the piece, he still wished to apologize to "anyone who may have been offended, even through misunderstanding,” including "all women, female athletes and everyone else like [Aytuğ] who cares about womanhood."
Aytuğ's piece, titled "Womanhood is dying at the Olympics," was published in daily Sabah and on the paper's website but quickly spread after angering readers by saying the Olympic Games were destroying the female figure by distorting women's bodies and that points should be added to female Olympians based on how feminine they looked.
The piece caused international backlash when several foreign media outlets reported on Aytuğ's views, even prompting American
YouTube personality Jenna Marbles to film a video response that went viral overnight.