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Emma Watson joins laugh protest

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Emma Watson, UN Women, Turkish women laughing, Deputy PM“His words perfectly illustrate his and the [ruling] AK Party’s attitude towards women.”

Actress Emma Watson is among many who have reacted to the Turkish deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, for claiming that women should not laugh in public.

The debacle began on 28 July when Arinc made a speech to mark the end of Eid al-Fitr in which he said: “A woman should be chaste.

“She should know the difference between public and private.

“She should not laugh in public.”

The comments sparked a furore on Twitter with women from all over the world posting pictures of themselves laughing with the hashtags #direnkahkaha (resist laughter) and #direnkadin (resist woman).

And like thousands of other women, Watson responded to Bulent Arinc by posting a picture on social media of herself laughing.

Many Turkish men also voiced their outrage over Twitter, with one saying: “The men of a country in which women are not allowed to laugh are cowards.”

Ekmeleddin Ihsangolu, the main opposition presidential candidate, tweeted: “More than anything else, our country needs women to smile and to hear everybody’s laughter.”

Mehtap Dogan, a member of the Socialist Feminist Collective in Turkey, said of the deputy prime minister’s comments: “His words perfectly illustrate his and the [ruling] AK Party’s attitude towards women.”

“In their eyes, women should not have any rights, they treat us like a separate species”, she added.

Speaking later, Arinc said his comments had been taken out of context and that anybody who wanted to ban women laughing in public “would have to be an idiot”.

The deputy prime minister went on to accuse “certain stars” of “fake laughter”.

“You all had your moments of fame, but when that eluded you you tried to attract attention with alcohol and such fake women,” he said.

The picture posted by Watson, who has 13.8 million followers, was retweeted 2,400 times within 30 minutes and favourite 4,500 times.

Watson was recently confirmed as a Goodwill Ambassador by UN Women.

Her role is to promote the empowerment of young women and to serve as an advocate for UN Women’s HeForShe campaign in fostering gender equality.

Speaking about her new role, Watson said: “Being asked to serve as UN women’s Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling.

“The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly.”

“Women’s rights,” she added, “are something inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting.”

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