Monday, December 01, 2014

Fast Post-Thanksgiving Posts, 12/1/14: Forget the Gender Opinions of Tayyip Erdogan, Remember the Name of Tugce Albayrak Instead.

I would be the ideal worker for any greedy capitalist, because my illness coincide with vacations.  That means I got sick on Wednesday and recovered yesterday!  I'm sure many of you can identify that pattern of keeping some head cold or migraine at bay until nobody is paying you for the time but you yourself.  Grr.

That's an explanation for no writing for several days (and no eating!).  Here's something to tide you over in the former category.  Almond croissants would be welcome in the latter category.

First, Turkey's president  Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given us his version of gender equality, whether it is indeed possible (no) and what women's value depends on (motherhood).  His statements would sound familiar to anybody who knows what right-wing US Christian leaders think about women or what the most conservative Roman Catholic clergy thinks of women.  Erdogan bases his arguments on the Quran, those other guys base it on the Bible:

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been accused of blatant sexism after declaring that women are not equal to men and claiming feminists in Turkey reject the idea of motherhood.
The devoutly Muslim president said biological differences meant women and men could not serve the same functions, adding that manual work was unsuitable for the “delicate nature” of women.
“Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women: motherhood,” Erdoğan said at a summit in Istanbul on justice for women, speaking to an audience including his own daughter Sumeyye.
“Some people can understand this, while others can’t. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”
He went on to say that women and men could not be treated equally “because it goes against the laws of nature”.
“Their characters, habits and physiques are different … You cannot place a mother breastfeeding her baby on an equal footing with men.
“You cannot make women work in the same jobs as men do, as in communist regimes. You cannot give them a shovel and tell them to do their work. This is against their delicate nature.”
Some commentators said that Erdogan had his foot in his mouth.  But he is making a very clear conservative biology/religion-based  argument against gender equality.  What makes some of it hilarious is the fact that rural women in Turkey do exactly the kind of work he argues that women are too delicate to do.  Indeed, women in many African countries do almost all the agricultural work.

The foot is in the mouth in a different sense.  Erdogan appears to confuse equal rights or equal opportunities with the concept of being identical in all aspects.  But if only absolute sameness guaranteed people their social and political rights, then bigger men should have more rights than smaller men etc.

Would a president make such a silly mistake?  In my experience, yes, because men in his position don't have to learn much anything about gender politics. yet believe they can educate others about it.

Here's a story about a hero, someone we all should look up to.  Remember the name of Tugce Albayrak, a 22-year old student of Turkish background in Germany.  She heard the cries of two teenage girls from the toilets of McDonald's restaurant in Offenbach, Germany.  The girls were harassed by three men, and nobody intervened.  Until Tugce did.  She then appears to have been killed in a revenge attack by one of the harassers:

She had intervened when she heard cries for help from the toilet of a fast food restaurant in the town of Offenbach, near Frankfurt, where the two girls were being harassed, German media report.
Later, one of the men returned and attacked her in the car park, striking her head with a stone or a bat.
Her parents made the decision to turn off life support on her 23rd birthday when doctors told them she would never regain consciousness and was brain-dead.
Candle-lit vigils or national orders of merit cannot bring Albayrak back, but her death can help to start a conversation about the effect of oblivious or uncaring bystanders on rape culture.  Based on what I have read, the harassment lasted for quite a while.

Tugce Albayrak's parents have told that her organs have been donated, based on her own wishes.