Male domination in the media and everywhere else
MEHVEŞ EVİNWhen I see men wearing dark blue suits next to each other, I get the feeling of “One should get out of here quick.”
Turkey is a country of men who were dark blue jackets. It is not new; it was this way in the past. Moreover, together with the dark blue, it was the khaki and the ones with epaulets that dominated.
There is no place for women on this stage – women who constitute half of the population. They are likely to be behind the scenes, in assisting jobs, or sometimes on the showcase, but mostly we see them “behind” their husbands.
There is never a place for youth in this picture.
Naturally, in this huge men’s club, whether they have certain kinds of mustaches or their hair crew cut, all of them look like each other to an incredible extent. And those places where women are visible and influential are increasingly narrowing.
I’m not only talking about politics and the state bureaucracy. Look at “private” sector media and you will see that such a small number of women are in decision-making positions. The most they can do is build a career as a writer, and even then they fall off the map. While websites collect their writers on a page under “what did our writers say today?” generally, there is only one woman present among the 18 names.
Not a coincidence that women are butchered
In the latest media group to be seized by the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), daily Akşam, it was predominantly female executives and writers that were given their marching orders one by one. The latest example is their Ankara representative Çiğdem Toker. My colleague, my former fellow worker Nurcan Akad, while she was counting the successful female journalists who lost their jobs in the past three or four years from daily Sabah to NTV and from Akşam to Habertürk, said, “Women are discharged exactly at a time when they substantially stand out. It should not be a coincidence that it is always the women who are butchered.”
It is obviously not a coincidence given the fact that nine female journalists have lost their jobs in the past two weeks.
I believe that women are easily discarded because women generally, regardless of which side they are on, find it harder to make concessions in what they believe in.
However, the issue is not limited to the male-dominated structure that has always existed in the media. Because I had worked in the Akşam group years ago, I can easily say this: There were many other issues in the company, but it was a place where women were able to climb to the top ranks, where equality was much more internalized compared to other media outlets. In the mainstream media, it was Akşam that had the first female headscarved writer.
With the state seizing the newspaper, the dominance of the “dark-blue jacket monophonic men’s chorus” has become clearer.
Difference between two iftars
It is no different at pro-government and conservative publications. Women are present only in appearance. Or, as long as they are in harmony with the “ideology of the executive males…” No offence but, exceptions do not break the rule.
The fact that male dominance in the media is thoroughly taking root means that colorlessness, monotony and an anti-democratic culture are settling in even more.
In fact, a significant segment of the society, while they take to the streets, is exactly rebelling against this!
The difference is as apparent as the official iftar (fast-breaking) tables and the ground tables: In one of them, the dominance of men wearing a jacket or not strikes one’s eye. In the other one, a more pluralist picture stands out with both females and males, from all ages, all classes and all segments.
This picture must have bothered them so exceptionally that they blocked the pedestrian street (İstiklal Avenue) from one end to the other with riot police buses…
However much the monotonous men wearing dark blue jackets try as they might, and however much they cling to their seats, I have bad news for them: That era is over.
Mehveş Evin is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on July 17. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.