For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
Laughter can be the best medicine – but can it cure misogyny?
Last week, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç gave a speech that sparked a massive social media reaction. Women, he said, shouldn't burst out laughing in public, should know what is appropriate, and should preserve their "chastity." So women shouldn't laugh out loud, and men, he said, shouldn't be womanizers. (Not really equivalent moral standards…)
Hundreds of women responded by posting pictures of themselves laughing in public. There were more than 160,000 Tweets following the comments, using the Turkish words for "laughter," "resist laugher" and "women defy."
The oppression of women in Turkey isn’t a laughing matter, of course. A 2009 report found that 40 percent of Turkey's female population had suffered domestic violence.
This week, the first round of the presidential election begins, and a top challenger to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (who is a favorite for the presidency) tweeted about the incident, saying women in Turkey needed to laugh more, not less. But Arınç stood by his comments, suggesting people focused too much on that part of his speech.
Well, if you say something absurd, condescending, and demeaning to 50 percent of your population, don't be so surprised if people focus on it!