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Women now have two more reasons to laugh in the face of sexism

It's not just Turkey's Deputy PM who made me chuckle this week
  • @Louise_Scodie

If Bülent Arınç ever goes internet dating, don't expect to see 'good sense of humour' listed in his requirements.

The Turkish deputy prime minister gave a "morality speech" this week in which he said that in his ideal world, women “will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness”.

A woman's chasteness - what a disastrous phrase. Why is it always incumbent upon women “not to invite attitudes from men” in order for them to remain not just acceptable, but safe? Don't laugh, don't leave your hair uncovered, don't wear miniskirts. Be silent and invisible in the way you dress and behave - anything else makes you guilty of society's downfall, not just your own.

Arınç sounds like an absolute lunatic, and definitely the worst date ever. Sadly he's not the only lunatic around wielding misogynist power. It's a miserable fact that millions of people still believe this retrograde rubbish.

This week one of my friends shared a horrifying poster that's being used in London's ultra-religious Orthodox Jewish community. It asks women to hush themselves in ways that will make you want to weep. Wear rubber soles so as not to make a sound in the street. Don't talk loudly near a man. Don't speak to minicab drivers. Because, according to the control freaks running their lives, it's women's immodesty that causes the world's ills and encourages men to give you unwelcome attention.

As a Jewish, miniskirt-wearing woman with a voice like a foghorn, I am happy to tell you that this offensive gubbins has as much to do with Judaism as banning laughter has to do with Islam. But it is another example of women being told, essentially, that their vocal and physical presence in the world is an awful thing that will bring terrible consequences.

Turkish women have responded to Arınç by posting photos of themselves on social media having a damn good laugh. Quite right too. Unfortunately their ultra-Orthodox counterparts, controlled by their suffocatingly closeted existence, will never be able to do this. If you're a woman reading this: laugh loudly, dance loudly, sing loudly and make yourself known to the world, if not for yourself, but for the women who will never be able to.