Defying Male Oppression With Women’s Laughter


In Turkey, women are truly worried about the future. One reason for this is that those who rule the country — rather than solving real problems such as stemming the rise in violence against women, finding solutions for female homicide or generating employment for women — are limiting their political engagement with women to issues regarding their bodies and chastity so as to turn women into puppets obedient to male discourse. Here is what Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinca said in a recent speech: “Chastity is so important. It is not simply a word. It glorifies both men and women. She will be chaste. Man should be chaste too. He should not be unfaithful. He should be bound to his wife. He should love his children. The woman will know what is and what is not haram. She will not laugh in public. She will not be alluring. She will protect her state of chastity.” This is one of many examples that show the extent to which women are being used as political material, and it was an inspiration for my poem below.


I’m seething…

Haha haha!

I’m seething because what I’m witnessing is the degeneration of a country at the mercy of self-pitying politicians who throw about accusations and judgements without any sense of liability.

I’m seething…

Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because I see the hypocrisy of politicians who are quite happy to govern following a toxic recipe that requires the ingredients of blind faith, fear and oppression.


Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because neither the political class nor those who give them unconditional obedience demonstrate any remorse for having exchanged the responsibilities associated with love for the illusion of freedom created by fear.

Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because I see reason being chewed up and spat out, conscience being mutilated, and a corrupted mentality being presented as new and modern. What is yet more painful to witness is that those who believe in these distortions are the majority.


Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because the true nature of this pathetic class is crystal clear despite the camouflage of their gated villas, conspicuous spending and adopted titles, and I’m seething because I see the poisonous fruit of their intoxication with power.

Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because I’m observing the incremental creation of a social order in which women are daily more afraid, daily more excluded from society and becoming more and more invisible.


Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because I am so sick of being sick of politicians constantly holding forth on how women should or shouldn’t be dressed, how women should behave and how many children they should or shouldn’t give birth to.

Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because now, it seems, I must be alienated from my body and I’m even obliged to regulate the manner in which I express my feelings — as if all the senseless decrees weren’t enough to have already fooled me!


Haha haha haha!

I’m seething because I have been deceived, I’m tired of being shocked and because every day, a little more of my heart is torn away.

Haha haha haha!

I’m seething! I’m so angry, so incensed, that I’m finding it difficult to contain my laughter…

I’m seething! I’m so angry and so incensed, I’ve lost my sense of balance.

I’m seething! I’m so angry and so furious that I’ve started to believe that this order can be silenced by the power of women’s laughter.

Haha haha haha haha!

Editor’s Note: Photograph one by Torbak Hopper, two by Bob Ramsak, three by Thomas Leuthard four by Jim Fouratt,  five by Eddi Van W, and six by Francois de Halleux.


One Response to Defying Male Oppression With Women’s Laughter

You must be logged in to post a comment Login