Conservative men’s fixation on women
The more women participate in social life and have careers, the more they question the “male-dominated culture” and the “male-dominated world.”
In connection with the development of production methods and the reshaping of the social structure, male dominance had to soften its language and stance and had to take some steps. However, in the final analysis, it has continued to protect its positions.
In poor and underdeveloped countries where unemployment is widespread and education is inadequate, “male dominance” makes itself felt in a more painful and harsh way.
It is obvious that conservative men in Turkey are having a difficult time amid the change in the country. It is a contradiction and social dilemma that those who are trying to give an image of being more at peace with democratic values still insist on the most conservative expressions on women’s issues.
Half of society is made up of women. If women do not participate in social life and are bound inside the home, locked in a limited field of child care and home services, then it is not possible for that society to develop, to form an equal order, and to democratize.
When the health minister recently said that motherhood was the central career for women, he became the defender of this dilemma, this outdated view on life.
One comes forward to say that women should not laugh in public. Another tries to prevent pregnant women from strolling on the streets. Another one tries to ban C-section births. All of these are male politicians and preachers. It was 100 to 150 years ago that there were fatwas issued in Istanbul to prevent women from going out on the streets. Some men would chase women and tear off their headscarves on the streets - the headscarves of those who were able to go out at all.
The essential fault of the “male-dominant culture” is that it believes that the state, which is essentially made up of men, should be able to decide everything about women. The worldview that refuses to accept women as individuals is actually also far from the position of accepting humans as individuals.
Turkey’s conservatives say they are against the political status quo and discrimination; and that they defend equality and democracy. You may or may not find this discourse sincere. However, when the subject is women, all of their polish is gone. In “that neighborhood” there is still discomfort about the presence of women in social life.
Of course, we cannot say that “resistance” to the empowerment of women is limited only to conservative men. We know how all types of men resist the demands of women for their rights.
Those who are able to break this dominance and those who are taking steps toward it are no doubt women themselves. We have witnessed what kind of struggle women have fought in the Kurdish political movement to make it adopt the co-chair system. The biggest male resistance shows itself against the presence of women in political life.
These issues not only exist in Turkey; they also still exist in Western countries.
As a result, a liberal and equal stance on women’s issues is still one of the most fragile points in the democracies of both the world and in our country. Men, and especially conservative men, maintain their patriarchal characteristics. Their controversial attitudes and statements prove just how hard our business still is.