The Stanford experiment and headscarves

The Stanford experiment and headscarves

A psychological experiment was carried out in 1971 at Stanford University. Students were split into two groups; one group wore prison uniforms, the other group wore guard uniforms. Quite unexpectedly, students got carried away in their roles. One-third of the guards started showing unnecessary, cruel and oppressive, even sadistic, behavior; absolute power had ruined them. On the other hand, the prisoner students developed psychological disorders and then aggressive behavior. 

This experiment has enlightened minds on authority and the use of authority ever since.   

If you concentrate power and authority in an absolute and singular spot, if you do not balance and check it, then it is apparent what will happen. Even a bird lovers’ society will become something else if given absolute authority and privileges. They would oppress those who do not like birds, or make it compulsory for people to adopt three birds. 

For this reason, while restructuring the state, the bureaucracy, the justice system and the army, no favoritism should be shown to any group, lifestyle, cult, tennis club membership or eye color. Otherwise, some will be guards like in the Stanford experiment, while others will become prisoners, for sure. Then the rest, which we know too very well, will follow…

Smiling in the same frame 

I was wandering through a market in the Aegean. A large group of girls entered the store I had just gone into. Then they formed a line to have photos taken with me. I was posing with them and at the same time being told “to do another TV serial, or this or that.” 

A woman wearing a headscarf also entered the store and approached me. I could not hear very clearly because of the crowd of young girls but she said something like, “I will not be able to take a picture with you, so, at least, may I kiss you?” I said of course and we hugged and kissed. 

I had thought that this woman would not have wanted to take a picture with me due to her lifestyle and because I was wearing shorts and a tank top. As a matter of fact, she thought I would not want to have a picture taken with her because she was wearing a headscarf. 

Because the owner of the store was a bit further from the crowd, she was able to hear what was said much clearer and when she asked that woman, “Why would Ms. Gülse not want to have a picture taken with you?” only then we understood the situation.  

In other words, the headscarf-wearing woman and the shorts-wearing me were very happy to hug and kiss each other but both of us thought we would not be able to explain to our own circles the spirit of this intimacy. Moreover, we were being so kind to each other that we totally tolerated the situation.   

After we cleared the situation, after many “of course not, sure, so glad the air is cleared, thanks,” we hugged each other with renewed enthusiasm and posed for about 27 pictures. 

I have had the same opinion for years. The clash between the headscarf-wearers and non-wearers is a giant balloon. It has an empty center; it does not reflect in real life. I regard with utmost suspicion whoever argues the opposite and pumps controversy, both in real life and on the Internet. They may be trolls or dark figures who seek taking advantage of this clash, I think. Those politicians who have made us shy of each other, who have prevented us, for years, from smiling in the same photograph, I hope you have sleepless nights!