When sexuality is taboo
MELİKE KARAKARTALSexuality is taboo in Turkey. Due to cultural and religious reasons, sexuality stands out much more than an act that is necessary for the continuation of sexuality.
With women at the center of it, it is a concept that cannot be defined without using the words “honor,” “morality,” and “proper behavior.”
When the issue is sexuality, words like honor and proper behavior are of no concern to men. The men are fine, whereas the situation is different with women. Set aside sexuality, it is taboo for man and woman to live in the same house.
There is no condescending word for men who choose to live with their partner without getting married. The same is not valid for women, where the vocabulary is full of condescending words for women who choose to live with their partner without getting married.
Obviously, this is valid for one part of society. There are several segments that make up the society. There are those who live according to traditions, customs, morals and religious rules. And there are others who live not according to concepts that have been imposed by others but according to their own rationale and emotions.
Neither of them are a minority. You add them together and we call it society. We suffer both in Turkey and the Middle East from those who interpret religious rules according to their own interest in all walks of life.
We are faced by Eastern-style hypocrisy in heterosexual relationships.
This hypocrisy has seen an increasing trend among those who have been living their lives in accordance to religious rules.
For some so-called “pious” hypocritical men, the walls of taboo on sexuality are abolished when there is religious marriage during the engagement period. For some, whatever is unacceptable before marriage becomes realizable through a religious marriage. That is valid for men obviously.
Couples to avoid holding hands while engaged
Indeed, in those circumstance, women might end up suffering.
Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet, is right in warning about religious marriages done during engagements in the name of protecting women who live according to religious preferences.
“In our days, the youth opted for religious marriage during the engagement period with or without the knowledge of their parents to seemingly prioritize religious sensitivities but in the end, regretful incidents take place as a result. In order to avoid such incidents, marriage should be legally binding. Because in the absence of a legally binding situation, the youths and their families that claim to be religious sometimes do not abide by their commitments; most of the time, the girl is the one who suffers from this situation,” says the Diyanet.
But the same Diyanet disapproves walking hand in hand during the engagement period.
Unfortunately, this is not the biggest problem Turkey faces.
How about the Diyanet advise people to behave properly in the streets or to be polite to those whom they do not know? How about advice on how to act properly in traffic for instance or to abstaining from swearing? How about if it was to tell people to treat stray animals well and care for them?
The society’s biggest problem is not of engaged couples walking hand in hand.