March 8 in a topsy-turvy world

March 8 in a topsy-turvy world

Nazlan Ertan
Let’s just eschew the traditional article on March 8 that starts with the words of gratitude to Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey who gave women the right to vote, and ends with lamenting the present situation of Turkish women.

No, let’s take a look at a topsy-turvy world and its possible headlines on March 8 if only, if only the roles were reversed. So take your pick from below of the selected headlines of papers to be published on March 8, celebrated as Men’s Day.

Political front

The Turkish President, addressing a meeting of the Main Association against Domestic Violence and Abuse of Men (MADAM), said that anyone who used violence against men would have to face the state. She added that violence against men were, by definition, crimes against mankind.  She drew attention to the statistics that one man out of three has experienced abuse. Only last year, 397 men were killed and 85 percent of them were killed by their wives, ex-wives or girlfriends. About one fourth of them had already asked for state protection – which either did not come or did not come at the right time. 

The president, addressing MADAM, said the most sacred position a man could achieve is fatherhood and urged men to use the new government incentives for “flexible hours” designed for men. The president, a great advocate of “three kids in every household,” said part-time jobs would allow men to enjoy work and a good life at home at the same time. 

Show and tell 

Famous actors have painted their faces to “create awareness” on violence against men on March 8 Men’s Day– as they do every year. The catch this year is that the “awareness photos” were taken underwater.  Various men’s associations have protested the campaign, saying that the “black eye” campaign ignored other forms of abuse, such as psychological or financial, that men faced.

Bureaucracy wants more equality

Members of the Bureaucracy against Gender Discrimination (BAG) made a statement condemning the fact that although men made up half of the bureaucracy, very few of the top bureaucratic posts were given to men. “There is not a single ministry undersecretary who is a man,” said a press statement. “When we carry out negotiations with other countries, what would they think of us when we meet them with all-women delegations? And when are we going to see a man at the head of the armed forces?” A government spokeswoman replied that the present imbalance in senior posts were caused by the fact that men either left their careers early to look after children or did not want to travel. “We make sure the best person gets the job,” she said. “This is often a woman. This is the case in most of the countries with which we hold negotiations lately – where we simply talk among women. There is a different case in the European Union countries, but we hope that they will find the right path one day.”

Mind your tongue too

Male linguists have started a petition with the National Language Association to demand a “clean-up” of discriminatory words regarding men. “Sayings like ‘to laugh like a man’ or ‘to gossip like a man’ should no longer exist,” said the statement. “Given that we make up half of the workforce, we condemn the saying ‘work like a woman’ to designate good work. We also want the National Language Association dictionary to take out expressions that encourage violence against men, such as the proverb ‘men should never be without a baby on their lap and a beating stick at their back.’” The group also extended a call to the media to refrain from sexist language when they covered men in articles. “We are not blokes to be groped. Our punch belly is no one’s business but our own, and the same is true for what we put on our head, how we dress our hair or whether we have hair, the length of our shorts and just how much of our chest hair we choose to display,” said a member.

In a separate event, a woman who beat up a man for wearing shorts on a public bus was released. “I would do it again,” said the woman. “Do they not realize how tempting those men in shorts are? They should dress modestly, preferably in clothes that do not show their muscles.”

On a final note, members of the government have sent messages to celebrate March 8 of the single male minister in cabinet, whose portfolio is associated to social and family issues. Most of them could not remember his name and had to ask their chief of cabinet to find out.