‘Power conducts war over woman body in this country’
- 12:21 21 June 2021
ISTANBUL - Responding to the definition of the concept of "morality" on the woman body and making it open to male violence, rights defender Zeynep Duygu Ağbayır said: “The power conducted war over the woman body in this country. We have a group of people who talk about morality but are very immoral. If we are not going to live together, we will try another method. Even if we are going to live together, we will not live with such immorality.”
As discourses targeting women's lives and decisions and legitimizing violence are produced by the government and its partners, sexist attacks increase. The last of the attacks, which were carried out in different cities using women's clothes as an excuse, took place in Diyarbakır. A woman who was going out to buy bread in the market was attacked by a man who she described as "with a turban and beard". The male mind, which hides behind the concept of "morality", which is reduced to the body, sexuality and clothing of women, tries to legitimize violence in this way. The government makes women open to violence with the understanding of "acceptable woman" it wants to create and the policies it has developed under the name of "morality". It is desired to lay the "foundations of an oppressive, corrupt society" with the discourse of power.
Rights defender and feminist Zeynep Duygu Ağbayır, who made evaluations to our agency on the subject, emphasized that immorality cannot be defined in terms of the woman body, and said: "We have a mass that talks about morality but is very immoral."
‘Those who do not open their power to discussion have parceled the society’
Pointing out that the concept of morality is carried out over women, Zeynep noted that one of the effects of this is the traditional patriarchal religion interpretation. Asking, “According to whom and according to what we call morality,” Zeynep continued: “A certain framework is drawn on the part of society. Whether a woman wears a miniskirt, or a headscarf does not prevent the attack. If a woman is attacked in Diyarbakır, a woman wearing a headscarf is attacked in Nişantaşı. There are both political reasons and polarization, and they also define women through morality. I hear concepts like 'immoral' and 'dishonorable' when one goes beyond a certain dress code. So how does it happen? Society is not very involved when you do many things that we can describe as immoral. But when you make it open, it starts to interfere. The characterization of a society through women is nothing new. In the same way today, while characterizing a society, starting over women, in my opinion, stems from men's power struggles. They do not even open that power for discussion. They parceled society.”
‘Women who go beyond acceptable women are exposed to moralism’
Stating that men refuse to see women as equals and therefore see women in a lower position, Zeynep noted that "as soon as women go beyond being acceptable, men create trouble." Zeynep said: “Sometimes, they give religious reasons for this. The concepts of chastity and honor are mostly defined through women. So, how do these concepts of morality and chastity turn into something when men are in question? Even if men's love and sex lives are in sight, there are arguments that "it's a man, he does it". When you look at the state structure and system, men have a more privileged place. The government uses words such as "pregnant women do not go out like that, they go out like that". There is a language of power that tells how a woman should be. Every woman who goes beyond the concept of an acceptable woman is exposed to a moralistic attitude. The politicians of this country even discussed a red lipstick. While such a discussion is carried on from above, it also reflects on society. A language is being used from a place far from fundamental rights and freedoms.”
‘Power defines immorality’
Pointing out that every group in society has corrupt and conservative sections, Zeynep said: “This is always paid for by women. We saw the same thing in the issue of the abolition of the Istanbul Convention. Now they open the Law No. 6284 for discussion. All because they think women are out of control. They also use religious authority by saying, ‘Women become immoral, they prefer solitude, this is not permissible in religion.’ Power defines immorality. Every government wants to create its 'acceptable woman' profile in this society. We have a group of people who talk about morality but are very immoral. Every time the power fell, it used women as material. For example, all hell broke loose when a woman wearing a headscarf was subjected to violence, and forty things were said when a woman wearing a mini skirt was subjected to violence. There was a twofaced and ambivalent attitude here. Instead of discussing violence here, we started to discuss women's clothing.”
‘We will not live with such immorality!’
Zeynep stated that the concept of morality is defined by usurping a person's rights, while violence is an example of "immorality". Zeynep said: “Most of all, the formalist point of view drawn by religion should be garbage for us. For example, asking for halal cannot be a language of opposition. It must ask for an account. A lot of people have been subjected to human rights violations under the name of immorality, and we need to open this up for discussion. We often must remind that immorality cannot be defined by a woman's clothing, body, or life. The government has vomit hate so much on us that this place has ceased to be a place to live. When we discuss what the Kurds have been through since 2015, how will they acquit the situation of Mother Taybet, whose body was kept in the middle of the street for 10 days? These testimonies are not testimonies that any of us can forget. Politics and war were conducted over the woman body in this country. If we are not going to live together, we will try another method. If we are to live together, we will not live with such immorality.”