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What Does Directorate of Religious Affairs Want From Women?

Again we are faced with videos themed with ‘Woman’ concept that emphasize social inequality and that make things worse while trying to create awareness. Moreover, there is a signature of a government agency under these videos. Let’s take a look at these videos of ‘the Prophet Muhammad and the Family’ themed by the Directorate of Religious Affairs and the subliminal messages given by these videos.

Two of the videos of ‘the Prophet Muhammad and the Family’ themed by the Directorate of Religious Affairs on Twitter disturbed me like many others. Before talking about the first video named ‘Don’t be a phenomenon, be a good parent’, I had to look at the meaning of the word ‘parent’ again. According to the Dictionary of Turkish Language Institution, parent means ‘mother and father’ as far I know. The conjunction between mother and father is just ‘and’. That is not ‘or’ or ‘either’. There is a partnership with ‘and’. However, when we look at the video, we see only the mother who needs to take care of her child. Necessarily, the question of ‘Where is the father?’ comes to my mind. Seeing that the word of parent is highlighted, why is not the father involved in the video? Or are we, unconsciously, given the message that the child’s care only belongs to the mother and the father does not care for the child.

When we look at the second video named ‘Look at your spouse’s face, not at phone’, we see a woman who brings tea to her husband first and then serves a cake. After that she takes a back seat and texts to her husband about ‘she needs attention’. The point that bothers me in this video is that the woman serves her husband. More precisely, the husband receives services from his wife without any communication as if he had gone to a restaurant and ordered. Where does his comfort or negligence come from? Probably, the husband is breadwinner. The wife who does not / cannot work and sits at home and takes care of her children, are forced to brew the tea and serve cakes to her husband because she is economically dependent on her husband. In fact, she sees it as a normal thing that she should do. She thinks it is her duty to do the housework or serve her husband. So, what is the unconscious message given by this video? Of course, the clear message is that ‘Women are at the disposal of men. They must serve their husbands at all times. The place of the women is their home and their professions are just being housewives’.

To sum up, when we look at what these two videos offer us, a misperceived wife profile emerges. In this profile, the wife is obligated to look after her children, to be a housewife and to serve her husband. In return for being that kind of profile, a dependent woman who only needs attention from her husband emerges.

If the Directorate of Religious Affairs, which imposes the Islamic lifestyle as the norm (what we understand from these videos) and has a budget of ₺11.5 billion with our taxes in 2020, wants to create awareness on the theme of ‘the Prophet Muhammad and the Family’, it should draw attention to domestic violence. They should mention the women killed by their husbands. They should condemn physical and psychological violence to the children. They should talk with the illiterate and bigot people booing children with autism and make a video about awareness of autism. They should focus on the shared responsibility of men and women in raising children. They should emphasize the girls’ education. Do you think these are possible?