Last week the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister made an alleged disparaging remark about women. The remark was so offensive that pundits on both sides of the aisle had to mention it on every cable news station. How bad was it? According to The Guardian (Turkish women defy deputy PM with laughter, July 30, 2014); Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Aric stated that “Chastity is so important. It’s not just a word, it’s an ornament [for women]…A woman should be chaste. She should know the difference between public and private. She should not laugh in public.” Mr. Aric was celebrating the end of Ramadan and lamenting moral corruption in Turkey. Of course every Turkish woman with a cell phone promptly selfies the biggest smile and tweets the picture across the world in defiance. But one question remains; are women louder than man? Are women more immoral than men? Was Mr. Aric so off the mark?
What is so negative in Mr. Aric’s remark? Is chastity not important anymore? Are women upset because he referred to chastity as an “ornament?” Exactly what was in the statement that brought us women to the brink of hysterical rebellion? Hold on to your chastity belts girls because here it goes: I tend to fully agree with Mr. Aric’s statement that women should know the difference between public and private behavior. The current generation of “anything goes” women has managed to elevate vulgar public behavior to acceptable. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, women were given special respect because they were the ones who gave birth, raised children, and developed the next generation of successful adults. Women took their role as nurturers and mothers very seriously. Our parents raised us with values that they hoped would get us through life and contribute to the success of the country. Something went wrong in the late 60’s, when women took “liberation” as a passport toward public displays of surliness and vulgarity. We told men that we did not want or need their respect any more. We told them not to hold a door open for us. Not to help us be seated in a restaurant. Not to carry groceries. Not to give us a seat on a crowded bus. That’s right, we told them to treat us as boorish as they treat themselves: swear in front of us, wear pants down to the ankles with underwear showing, write songs that demean us, design clothes for embryos: that’s right, we wanted to be treated as equals. We wanted it because we were liberated!
Let’s fast forward to today. Fashion bares it all, celebrities bare so much that there is nothing left to the imagination, and young girls below teens are now mothers. Chastity does not only refer to sexual activity, but to deportment and general behavior. The uproar about the choice of words in Mr. Aric’s statement deflects the true message. Women have become lewd, vulgar, and to some extent ignorant of their role in society. Knowing the difference between public and private behavior would save most of us the pain of watching reality shows were women display themselves as crass and undoubtedly stupid. Is this what we want our next generation of women to be? Women already have a tough time competing in the business world, add to that; tattoos, piercing, and vulgarity, and we have a generation of unmarketable females whose only purpose in life is gripe that the world is unfair to them because of who they are. I have this unpopular message to these women: grow up. Be yourselves on your own time and dime, but do not expect anyone else to cater to your silly notion that because you think you should act like an idiot everyone in the world is okay with it. Nobody is going to hire a clown, and no customer wants to be served by one. So the notion that “doing your thing” is acceptable is not only moronic but probably lends to the reason you are out of work and I have to fork out unemployment benefits to you!
I have an issue with Mr. Aric’s concerns about women’s laughter in public. At this point in his remarks I felt like asking him if he had been drinking the Kool-Aid. However, do women laugh louder than men in public? I must admit that when a gaggle of women are together, it seems that the laughter goes up in decibels. Is this possibly because we tend to talk over each other? Is laughing loud an assertion that we are now liberated enough not to be afraid to be heard loud; even in laughter? Are we trying to outdo men? When in a crowd of mixed company, us women seem to be louder than the men, and we tend to give our laughs more gusto than our male counterparts. We also seem to dominate conversations leaving very little time and space for the males to even interject let alone laugh. Why? I have a theory. My hypothesis is that a male conspiracy is afoot to make women look more dominant and men acquiescent in an effort to win sympathy. “That poor man has to put up with that!” Wink, wink, nod, nod…and the man wins again. Mr. Aric was trying to assert himself as the alpha male who has been stripped of his masculinity by women’s laughter. One can almost feel pity for him. However, his inference to the laughter reduced the rest of his message to ridicule. He should have stopped at “chastity” then he might have at least scored a few points.
My 97-year old mother raised five girls, and believe you me, it was not an easy task. She frowned upon anything we wore which she considered “vulgar” or worse; something “those people” would wear. To this very day I fail to identify “those people” and she does not divulge her acquaintance either. What she was trying to instill in us was a sense of what was considered right and acceptable to young ladies heading into the world. Her reference to “those people” meant those who were not successful in life because of either upbringing or behavior. We were not to emulate “those people.” The difference between my mother’s philosophy and today’s parents is as wide as the Grand Canyon. Her philosophy was to be the best by being someone other than a loser, whereas today’s parents leave it up to the kids to decide, thus leaving us with a generation of semi-coherent morons. Folks complain about the deteriorating values of this generation, yet they are afraid to identify truism. Case in point is Mr. Aric’s reference to women’s decorum; he missed the boat with his “laughter” analogy, but hit the nail on the head in stating that women should behave appropriately in public. What he was saying in a very clumsy way: keep your private bedroom antics where they belong: in your homes. A line from my favorite old movie To Sir with Love with Sidney Poitier sums up this sentiment. Sidney Poitier played a school teacher in the early 60’s in East London. When female students burnt a personal condiment in the class room he became enraged. After he threw the boys out of the class room he told the girls to clean up the mess and added for emphasis: “keep this filth in your homes and not in my classroom.” My sentiments exactly.