To be honest, I should start with saying I don't believe in the idea of men's "confrontation". I don't think that the insincerity and egoism of men - who have caused all the fuss, who have claimed the right to politicize on women, have excluded women even from panel discussions devoted to 'women' yet spoken on their behalf - could be corrected through "confrontation".
Isn't it unfair that the aggressor himself overwhelms the faint cry of the aggrieved with that loud "me too, me too"?
Not all may agree with this opinion but I recommend that men should not start talking on every whipstitch but better, shut up. Stop and think. Just support...
I will try to explain why from the point of view of a journalist, of my own occupation. That's because journalism, as professed in this country in its present form, reproduces, alongside many other problems, gender inequality at decision making levels and thus prevents the exposure of "male" violence.
I would like you to continue reading the rest that perspective in mind.
Let me begin with a fresh impression: I have recently watched the first part of the TV serial "Bodyguard", one of the most popular this year. As I sat before the screen I already knew what I was going to watch was a story about a "woman" interior minister and her "man" bodyguard. It was indeed...
The story flashed by. In every scene displaying another surprise outside of the main axis of the story... I would like to mention what surprised me. But don't mind, there will be no "spoilers".
The serial opens with the scene of a suicide bomber on a train railing to London... Our "man", a police officer clicks what and jumps on it.
First that: the suicide bomber on the train is a woman.
Our police officer approaches the train conductor to inform the situation. The conductor is a woman...
A special team operates. The special team is headed by a woman.
A sniper is set to shoot the suicide bomber. The finger hooking on the trigger belongs to a woman.
A bomb disposal squad arrives. The officer who disposes the bomb sweating in blood is again a woman.
The heroic police officer in the leading role is promoted for his success. The chief police officer to promote him is a woman.
The police officer's new task is to bodyguard the Interior Minister. As I have mentioned at the beginning the minister is a woman.
Interior Minister is not the only high ranking woman officer. The counter-terrorism chief who chases the terrorists round the clock to oversee the operations is another woman...
Woman or man, what's the difference? Job is job that anybody can do, what's in that, huh? It's not like that at all.
For my part, I, for the first time, have watched a woman sniper, and also a women special team chief... I may search out and find many other examples for "political correctness" but it is groundbreaking not only for me but for all to watch such an abundant number of women assuming operative roles for "action", I presume.
After watching the serial, I wondered if there had followed a public discussion. In Britain, there had been much talk about that.
Further, some audience (mostly men) had fussed a lot. They believed women ranking in such higher positions was unconvincing. (A mere contrast to the fact that both their own country and the economy of Europe from which they have been seeking an exit is governed by women...) By the way, we should recall that BBC, the broadcaster of the serial, was recently startled with a gender bias scandal for the wage gap between the man and woman workers who have been doing the same job.
And now let's come to the point where the rubber meets the road: would I be surprised, even a little bit, if all these roles were assumed by men, if men would have held those positions? No.
Why am I not surprised when jobs that can be done either by a woman or by a man (that is almost all jobs) are always done by a man?
Writing in the first singular person though I am very well aware that I am not alone in this "being unsurprised ". We deem that normal.
So I pass to the first plural person. Why doesn't this "normality" surprise us? Those educated, cultured, promoted eggheads of us? Why unsurprised?
Since it is a matter of confrontation, I will not confront with the statesmen, the police or the TV serials, and blah, blah... Instead, I will confront with the newspapers, whom I know very well.
Here is a simple, straightforward question for you: why women are excluded from the press of this old country, from the top mechanisms of the newspapers, from the decision-making organs?
In the mainstream media, I have worked for many newspapers. And I, more or less, know also about those I haven't worked for. I had friends even in newspapers that I had not ever stepped in. (Now in many I don't; many of my friends are unemployed)
That's what I have seen, heard and known in all of them: There are hardly any women journalists in the decision-making mechanisms and in the newsrooms of the newspapers. Maybe one woman to ten men. Or maybe two. In some of them, you cannot even reach that score. If there exists no woman in a newsroom, then, that means that the male dominance ratio ascends to infinity.
There have been two women editors-in-chief; they are spoken of like those in the ancient legends. Like mythological heroines. And if you search hard enough, you may come across the traces of a woman department chiefs in a few newspapers.
There are numero uno woman reporters.
There are woman reporters who kick up the circulations with their interviews.
There are woman editors who, with their speed, accuracy, proactivity and point of view, do awesome jobs.
In a word, there exists at least same number of women as men who are good at their jobs. Indeed, women or men does not matter in this job. Journalism, is certainly and completely genderless.
Then, have these women evaporated at a certain point, or are they lost in the abyss of the plazas? Why cannot they promote to higher ranks?
Is the newspaper CEO an office ranking higher than the presidency, or than the interior ministry?
Is it a more challenging job than the bomb disposal specialist's or the police chief's? Why, we, the men are not surprised that women are not promoted in the newspapers? Why don't we find this odd?
Why would men decide about reports concerning all the public, men or women alike (by the way, sometimes concerning primarily women), decide how these reports would be picked out and presented, by whom and how they would be processed, how large or concentrated they would be published, in short, they should decide about the whole range of pressroom activity.
Or are we, men, already the reason behind that?
Now let's have a look at what this has led to?
There are many effects, yet I should cite the most hard-hitting. Who decides on what scale the male violence reports should be covered, how many days these reports would be pursued on is crucial. The preferences of the newspapers published by "men" and that of the newspapers with a better women-men balance will be different.
How sincere they might be the man newspaper directors will not be troubled and will not take it as seriously as the woman journalists. You may take the fact as a proof of this that except the shocking and very widely discussed instances news on male violence is pushed to the third page.
I am assumed that with women decision makers this ratio would be much higher.
And there is more.
The exclusion of women from decision-making, and remaining out of the executive further extends the gender gap on a national scale. And the absence of a woman executive in a newspaper, as you may agree, destroys the gender balance in that newspaper. Both inequalities turn down women's voice. At this moment, we desperately need the voice of women. Voice of their own. And not in the mainstream only.
I had already told that I worked for the mainstream and I know those places. Then I should ask the places I don't know to people who have worked for them.
Are left-wing newspapers different?
Are right-wing newspapers different?
Are intellectual newspapers different?
Are tabloids different?
Are internet newspapers or blogs different?
Are trade unions and professional associations different?
Where are the women executives?
Where the hell have they gone?
Now, I am coming back to the point I raised at the beginning. That is why, I don't believe in this confrontation thing... We the men, who occupy all these positions, who cause all the injustice and who ignore it, who don't move even a finger to discontinue this order of things, can't we shut up.
Let's shut up as the men who are surprised that all key positions in a TV serial belong to women.
Why should we shut up? Because we have shut up until this day. Had all these men on the decision-making levels been unaware of these questions until these days? These days I say, but nothing has changed on this day, too.
I would not spare myself, we have read mountains of books, watched years long movies, have witnessed or heard immense grievances on these issues.
Yet, until this day, in the newspapers, TV channels, academies, that is almost everywhere we have not expressed, questioned, preyed about the inequality between men and women.
Who knows why but we have deemed that normal. And this has suited our books. We have not been able to move out of our nutshells, our safe heavens even as much as BBC TV serial could get out of the routine. A woman sniper, a woman news desk chief, a women newspaper executive, come on?
We have not been surprised, our job is curiosity, but we have not been even surprised.
We have amazingly reported on woman train conductors, woman taxi drivers, but we have not been amazed of our own situation.
Let's forget about confession now. Let the women speak, too.
Let's give a leg up when necessary, let's avoid overwhelming their voices, let's support their struggles refraining from stepping on their way.
But, let's step back and let the women speak.
Let's turn down our noises.
Let their voices blow up.
Now, the biggest support is to shut up! (YB/ŞA/APA/EK)
Images: Kemal Gökhan Gürses
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