Friday, September 22, 2023
Home » Actors demands better conditions for women as Turkiye re-elects Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Actors demands better conditions for women as Turkiye re-elects Recep Tayyip Erdogan

by News Desk

Actor Merve Dizdar made history last weekend as the first Turkish recipient of the best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Within 24-hours, the 36-year old was back in Turkiye to cast her vote in the country’s runoff presidential elections — which was won by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — an ultra-conservative, anti-gay patriarchal politician. 

Dizdar was awarded the Cannes prize for her role as a rural teacher who develops a relationship with another teacher accused of sexual abuse in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “About Dry Grasses.” 

During her acceptance speech on Saturday night, Dizdar described her character in the film as “a woman who struggles for her beliefs and existence and has to pay a price for this cause.”

“I would like to work for a long time to get to know and understand her, but unfortunately, being a woman in the geography I live requires knowing the feelings of Nuray (her character) by heart since the day I was born,” she said, referring to her home country of 86 million. 

She dedicated her award to “all my sisters who… take action to strengthen the struggle of women, who risk everything and never give up hope no matter what, and all fighting spirits waiting to experience the good days they deserve in Turkiye.”

The actor shed light on the realities of living under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an open sexist who once described abortion as “murder”. 

Since Erdogan’s authoritarian rule, which began almost a decade ago, women and LGBTQI groups have struggled under an oppressive culture of misogyny and discrimination, with increasing cases of femicide and gender-based violence.

Dizdar’s political statement was welcomed by some in her home country, including the Association for the Support of Contemporary Living, who tweeted:

“We heartily congratulate #MerveDizdar, our first Turkish actress to win the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival! We will continue to stand by the strong and successful women of our Republic against the patriarchal and misogynistic order.”

After hearing criticism of her speech — one Turkish official advised the actor to “respect your own country”, Dizdar responded on Reuters, “The country where I was born, the women here, we all have a struggle, it is present here and all over the world. We know how hard it is to be a woman and I made a speech about it.” 

Dizdar’s speech inspired us to look back on some powerful speeches made by actors who used the public recognition of their creative accomplishments to draw attention to political issues they are passionate about. 

1 Patricia Arquette warns US ‘on the brink of war’ — 2020 Golden Globes

The star of “The Act” encouraged audiences to vote and described the country as one being “on the brink of war.”

“The United States of America, a President tweeting out a threat of 52 bombs including cultural sites,” she said, referring of course to Donald Trump. “Young people risking their lives traveling across the world. People not knowing if bombs are going to drop on their kids heads and the continent of Australia on fire.”

2 Cate Blanchett demands gender equality — 2018 Cannes Film Festival 

As the festival’s jury president in 2018,  Blanchett co-wrote a powerful speech with French director Agnès Varda to demand safer work-places for women in the film industry. 

“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise,” she said. “As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and our commitment to progress.”

“We are writers, we are producers, we are directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents, and all of us are involved in the cinematic arts. And we stand today in solidarity with women of all industries.”

“We expect our institutions to actively provide parity and transparency in their executive bodies and provide safe environments in which to work. We expect our governments to make sure that the laws of equal pay for equal work are upheld. We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live.”

“A world that allows all of us in front and behind the camera, all of us, to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues.”  

3 Lady Gaga on mental health crisis — 2018 Patron of the Artists Awards 

Upon accepting her Artists Inspiration Award in 2018, Lady Gaga made a passionate plea for mental health to become a more publicly discussed topic. 

“We are losing a generation of young people who do not believe that their voices are worth hearing, that their pain has no end,” she said.

“And that their contributions are not valuable enough to move the needle in society and culture. We are facing a crisis of epic proportions and the cause of that crisis is our inability or unwillingness to be open and honest about one thing – mental health, today.”

“When I give speeches about kindness, people have lively engaged discussions but when I speak about mental health, even or especially when I’m speaking about mine, it is often met with quietness. Or maybe a somber line of fans waiting outside to whisper to me in the shadows about their darkest secrets.”

“We need to bring mental health into the light. We need to share our stories so that global mental health no longer resides and festers in the darkness. It is dangerous and we know this because amongst other shootings and acts of violence.”

Gaga outlined her hopes for the future, adding “By the year 2030, I wish for everybody to have their person that they can talk to who is an expert and can help them.”

“I am beckoning for this because it is perceived by many that mental health is only talked about in the midst of crisis or when something needs to be fixed. I want teams in place to provide prevention.”

“We need to not only think in terms of doctors, hours and hospital stays but protective and preventative care for ourselves and each other, holistically. Do you have a mental health team? Who is on it? Who are the people you can turn to? What are the activities that can reduce our stress?”

“I have learned now are treatable and I can stop living in fear and begin living with bravery.”

4 Jane Fonda fights climate change and delivers speech in handcuffs — 2019 British Academy Britannia Awards

Jane Fonda was due to receive the the prestigious Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award For Excellence In Film in October, 2019, but found herself detained by police on the Southeast lawn of the US Capitol building. She had been protesting in Washington D.C. demanding urgent action to battle climate change — including a call for a Green New Deal and the end to fossil fuel drilling. 

The then 82-year old made a pre-recorded acceptance speech, which was played on the night of the ceremony to wild applause. 

“I am sorry I’m not there, but as you may have heard I have been getting arrested,” she said. “I have been trying to heighten the sense of urgency. This is a crisis, not just here, but all over the world.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment


Latest Women Business, Fashion, Style, Entertainment, and influencer news and updates exclusively on Women Trends, Follow us for the Latest News and Stories About Women around the world.

Latest Articles

Editors' Picks

© 2022 Women Trends – All Right Reserved.