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On the evening of June 3rd, a cam­paign began spon­ta­neous­ly at the tip of fin­gers of twit­ter­ers in Turkey, shoot­ing back at men sex­ist remarks women hear dai­ly.

At the ori­gin of this explo­sion: a sim­ple tweet by a user who express­es sur­prise at see­ing these few words raise a huge wave: “My hus­band, can work, I wish him to do so.“hommes

Under this first tweet, answers start land­ing, always in the same tone: “You are crazy, a man’s place is in the home, he must take care of the chil­dren”, protests the one. “Oh, but I allow him to”, says anoth­er, to which a third adds “we both work but since I’m a very tol­er­ant woman, I help him, some­times, I emp­ty the dish­wash­er.”

And that is how the hash­tag #erkeky­erini­bilsin was born, which you could trans­late as “Men should know their place”. “Know­ing your place” being a vari­a­tion on “know­ing your lim­its” (had­di­ni bilmek, in Turk­ish), the expres­sion which in an infor­mal way is aimed at those who “go beyond autho­rized bound­aries”.

You have under­stood that this is a “reminder” women hear often, for we all know that women must stay with­in the lim­its defined by the dom­i­nants in the estab­lished order, mean­ing men, yes?

The best known in the con­text of “know­ing your lim­its” is that sen­tence Bülent Arınç pro­nounced in 2015 when he was still Erdoğan’s Vice-Pre­mier; speak­ing to Nursel Aydo­gan, a deputy of the HDP at the Nation­al Assem­bly, where she was “inter­fer­ing” dur­ing his speech he said: “Madam, shut up, as a woman, shut up!”. Trans­la­tion “remem­ber you are a woman, respect the bound­aries”. But there are legions of exam­ples and vari­a­tions on this and oth­er calls to order.

Bülent Arınç’s words are inscribed in let­ters of gold in the Turk­ish col­lec­tive mem­o­ry, among oth­er incred­i­ble finds, trans­lat­ed by the dean of Kedis­tan’s con­trib­u­tors, Mamie Eyan as “When the Imam farts, the faith­ful excrete.”

But let’s get back to our hash­tag and “men should know their place”, by gol­ly!.

I caught the wave on Twit­ter late in the evening, it was impos­si­ble to miss. Under #erkeky­erini­bilsin, hun­dreds of thou­sands of sex­ist insan­i­ties, hate­ful­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry, hurled at women, rained down both angri­ly and humor­ous­ly in an invert­ed for­mat, mean­ing by replac­ing the word “woman” by “man”.

Some exam­ples? All right…I’ll give them to you in the ‘man’ for­mat. If they sound strange to you, men­tal­ly replace the word ‘man’ by the word ‘woman’ and you will under­stand imme­di­ate­ly, even with­out speak­ing Turk­ish because these used and “abused” expres­sions are most pic­turesque. You’ll see, every­thing is cov­ered, from the words spo­ken by min­is­ters to the gos­sip in a bar…

In no par­tic­u­lar order…


Accord­ing to the height : whore – har­lot – cheeky – naughty – con­sent­ing – bor­ing – reac­tionary – conservative.

Men are flow­ers – A man is the dec­o­ra­tion of his home – When men pur­sue stud­ies, women can’t find any men to mar­ry – Uni­ver­si­ties are dens of pros­ti­tu­tion, you won’t find a sin­gle vir­gin male there – It’s because men go look­ing for work that we have unem­ploy­ment – If the fam­i­ly had kept an eye on their son, he would­n’t have got­ten raped – What­ev­er you do, don’t get divorced women will come flock­ing to your door – You have no busi­ness being alone on the street at night – Some men are meant for fuck­ing, some are meant for mar­ry­ing – A car like a boy (mean­ing not used, “zero km”) – Wed­ding can­di­dates don’t care about your diplo­mas, they look if you cook a good pilav – A man with his hands in the dough, must­n’t get involved in wom­en’s busi­ness – Sor­ry dar­ling, I could­n’t help myself from hav­ing sex with the neigh­bor. It’s nor­mal, I’m a woman, it’s phys­i­o­log­i­cal.- Did you ask me for per­mis­sion to go out? – If he was raped, he must have gone look­ing for it – A man’s place is in the kitchen – A man’s only career should be pater­ni­ty – He’s wear­ing shorts, obvi­ous­ly he’s “look­ing for it”. – Dar­ling, you won’t work any­more once we’re mar­ried – We real­ly have to include a man in the round table or it will look strange – You bet, he must have got­ten the pro­mo­tion on the couch – Reli­gion for­bids men unac­com­pa­nied by a woman to dri­ve at over 90 km – My car got smashed on the park­ing lot, must have been a woman again – Fat men should­n’t wear leg­gings, it hurts the eyes. – We have a girl! Go ahead, show your pussy to your aun­ties! – You’re unable of giv­ing your wife a girl, why did you ever get mar­ried? – You can’t ask a woman why she beats her hus­band – There are no ugly men, only some who have let them­selves go.


A man must know how to walk, how to sit correctly.

Oh and there are the proverbs too… Ah, these proverbs, those long-pre­served ances­tral sex­ist thoughts. They are also shared in the invert­ed ver­sions but this time, I’ll only pro­vide the orig­i­nals and only a few exam­ples:

There must nev­er be lack­ing a stick for her back and a baby in a wom­an’s bel­ly – A man can love and hit at the same time – A woman who leaves her par­ents’ home in a wed­ding dress comes back in a shroud – You can’t trust a woman or a horse – There is no worst ene­my than a woman who smiles in your face – You can no more expect good­ness from a woman than heal­ing from a poi­son – An aging man becomes a ram, an aging woman becomes noth­ing – a wom­an’s intel­li­gence lenghthens at times, and some­times becomes short­er – Wom­en’s busi­ness is like the hen scratch­ing at the ground – A wid­owed woman is a dev­il – A woman with­out a man is like a horse with­out a bri­dle…
And I’m leav­ing out some of the best ones…

In fact, I had­n’t planned on writ­ing an arti­cle on this top­ic. Then I saw the num­ber of men react­ing on the net­works, howl­ing in anger and declar­ing that “women aren’t fun­ny” or again say­ing they had “had enough” and “that was enough”. Every three days, they have had enough of what women endure every day and from times immemo­r­i­al. “All right”, I said, but I did­n’t start writ­ing yet.

But when I saw the fol­low­ing dec­la­ra­tion, I had to tell you about it.

Con­cern­ing the #erkeky­erini­bilsin launched on social net­works as a means of sen­si­tiviza­tion, KADEM (Kadın ve Demokrasi Derneği) “Woman and Democ­ra­cy Asso­ci­a­tion” rushed to declare:
“Inso­far ad jus­tice and the law are con­cerned, the exis­tence of woman and man in soci­ety calls for rec­i­p­ro­cal respect and tol­er­ance. This stream, born as an accen­tu­at­ed form of empa­thy, has reached dimen­sions con­trary to our val­ues and con­vic­tions. We denounce this sit­u­a­tion, and refuse it.”

KADEM is a civ­il soci­ety that pur­ports to be “engaged in advo­ca­cy in order to deliv­er women’s human dig­ni­ty.”. Sümeyye, Erdoğan’s daugh­ter is its vice-president…

The asso­ci­a­tion reveals its col­ors from the word go on its web­site: KADEM is “Engag­ing in aca­d­e­m­ic stud­ies to devel­op a new dis­course through going beyond the estab­lished  social accep­tances and the  prob­lem­at­ic areas of mod­ern East-West frame of mind with respect to women stud­ies.” To this pur­pose, it intends to “Engag­ing in lob­by­ing activ­i­ties at nation­al and inter­na­tion­al lev­el. Devel­op­ing a social con­scious­ness that the shar­ing of roles between men and women can only be real­ized by con­sid­er­ing the bal­ance between rights and responi­bil­i­ties.”

All the denun­ci­a­tions around the #erkeky­erini­bilsin stream point pre­cise­ly to those “roles”, defined and attrib­uted to women and men, by a mor­al­iz­ing soci­ety eas­i­ly giv­en to immoral­i­ty. These “roles” are pre­cise­ly what legit­imizes and encour­ages the fact that women can be locked up, insult­ed, assault­ed, abused, raped, assas­si­nat­ed in all impunity…They are pre­cise­ly the very rea­sons for which we relent­less­ly repeat fem­i­ni­cides are polit­i­cal!”, “assas­si­na­tions of trans are polit­i­cal!

This state­ment pre­sent­ed as a “pri­mor­dial duty” is nei­ther a first nor a sur­prise, see­ing the nature of the asso­ci­a­tion pub­lish­ing it, extend­ing like a fem­i­nine civil­ian arm defend­ing the poli­cies of the nation’s “father”. But what is unbear­able is the fact that women should be the ones pro­ceed­ing to this “sacral­iza­tion of man”.

But isn’t it a com­mon occur­rence that those who are uncon­scious of their oppres­sion always make the best defendors of their own oppres­sors and tormentors?

Head­line illus­tra­tion: Found on twit­ter “Look at that ass, what sons are the fathers producing”

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges 
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Naz Oke
REDACTION | Journaliste 
Chat de gout­tière sans fron­tières. Jour­nal­isme à l’U­ni­ver­sité de Mar­mara. Archi­tec­ture à l’U­ni­ver­sité de Mimar Sinan, Istanbul.