Men should shut up, for once

Men should shut up, for once

One comes out and either tells you to "know your place" or yells for “somebody to tell this lady to know her place.”

One comes out and defines it as immodesty for a pregnant woman, especially if she wears an outfit that shows her belly, to wander around freely.

Another one comes out and engages in efforts for women to not cover their your heads, "come and let me convince you."

Yet another one comes out and shares his high views and thoughts such as, “We are not interfering with anybody’s lifestyles, but the décolletage of that TV presenter is not acceptable.”

One comes out and says, “The headscarf is not freedom. It can never be present in Parliament.”

The last example belongs to Levent Tüzel. He is an independent Istanbul deputy and a member of the newly established People’s Democratic Party (HDP). He uttered these words during a television show.

The topic was whether or not a headscarf-wearing deputy should enter Parliament. He exploded: “The Justice and Development Party [AKP], which has exploited the headscarf issue for years as a political topic, is not granting women freedom by allowing the headscarf in public.”

Of course, all hell has broken loose on Twitter. The concern is “Will the HDP be like this?” But the issue is much deeper than whether the HDP will be like this or like that. 

However, when you pull the topic in that direction, it is good politics. The matter is totally forgotten. How nice. Well, if that is so, let us talk about the superficial portion of the topic first.

I spoke about this to the newly elected co-chair of the HDP, Sebahat Tuncel. I asked her exactly this, “Is this the HDP?” She answered me as follows: “Mr. Levent expressed his personal views. He already explained this later on Twitter. The HDP’s stance about the headscarf issue is known. According to us, the headscarf should be evaluated within the framework of freedoms. We are absolutely not against the headscarf either in the public domain or in Parliament. However, I agree with Levent Bey in one aspect. That is, it is not the AKP’s success that the headscarf is now free in the public domain. If the headscarf is free publicly today, this is the achievement of the women’s liberation movement. The women’s movement has been fighting for years and has brought the issue to a certain stage. The AKP, on the other hand, does not move a finger, but it does collect political gains from the environment of freedom. Levent Tüzel actually wanted to express that.”

After saying this, Tuncel mentioned the essence of the issue: “Ezgi, you know what? It is always men who comment on what women wear and not wear. Bad comments or good comments … It is high time that men keep quiet on this issue. It’s up to the women to put a headscarf or not to put one; to wear a low-cut dress or a conservative one … Men should now stop commenting on that. They should shush!”

The men of the AK Party indeed cash in on their political gains from the headscarf issue. So do the men of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), with their vows to never permit the headscarf. The men at the HDP and at the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are not much different. Why should they be?

Of course, women’s everything - from their body to their clothing - bring benefits to men, from their politics to their wallets. It’s crystal-clear. Consequently, they continue to interfere, and they will continue to declare their ideas a great deal. 

What I want to say is this: A strong women’s movement will solve all the old issues of this country, and I am sure that this movement will grow in strength with each day. Whoever wants democracy and freedoms should also hope for this.

* Ezgi Başaran is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on Oct 30. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.