Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Tells Women Not To Laugh in Public

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Engaging in the "forbidden act"

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç recently issued a harsh edict to the country's women: Don't laugh in public. Why such a serious (literally) demand on his country's women? Apparently, according to Mr. Arınç, laughing in public is synonomous with leading an unchaste life. During a speech he gave this week, Arınç went on a tangent about the importance of chastity for both men and women—and how public laughter can threaten it. "Chastity is so important," He said. "It is not only a name. It is an ornament for both women and men. [She] will have chasteness. Man will have it, too. He will not be a womanizer. He will be bound to his wife. He will love his children. [The woman] will know what is haram and not haram. She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness." What we want to know is what Arınç thinks of a life without laughter—sounds pretty boring to us. And why is that it is only the public laughter of women that threatens chastity? All questions that Arınç didn't dane to address in his speech.

While laughing in public may have been the most ridiculous thing that the Turkish politician found troublesome, his list didn't stop there. Other no-no's he mentioned were cell phones (which women use to talk to each other unnecessarily) and teen-centered televisons shows (how could anyone hate a genre that's brought us Gossip Girl and The OC?), which turn Turkish youth into "sex addicts".

This is coming from a country that has taken some serious steps back in terms of women's rights in the past few decades, with rampant violence against women, two-thirds of women unemployed and not to mention the nation has a Prime Minister that once told a room packed with women's rights organizations that he didn't believe in equality for men and women.


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Diana is a producer at ELLE.com. She previously wrote for MarieClaire.com. Diana is a Syracuse grad and a Chicago native, and therefore a pro at dealing with cold weather. She's also an Anglophile, which means she love all things British—especially Downton Abbey, London, and Will and Kate (and Prince George!)