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Defining women

Famous author exposes Turkey’s official dictionary for labeling menstruating women “dirty”

By WITW Staff on May 4, 2016

The Turkish Language Institute (TDK), the official authority on the Turkish language, is facing accusations of sexism after the discovery that its definition of the word “kirli,” which means “dirty” in Turkish, included the phrase “a woman who is menstruating” as a usage example. The other two meanings the TDK gave the word are “stains, filthy, unclean,” and “contrary to society’s values.” Author Elif Shafak — the most widely read woman writer in Turkey — brought the definition into the public eye when she shared it in a Twitter post criticizing the TDK for defining “kirli” in sexist terms. Shafak appeared onstage at the Women in the World Summit in 2015 to discuss having been put on trial by the Turkish government over a work of fiction she authored.

This isn’t the first time the TDK has been condemned for using sexist definition. Its second definition of the word “müsait,” which means “available” in English, is described as a female who is “ready to flirt” and can “flirt easily.” An online petition called for the “available” entry to be revised, arguing that flirting is mutual and should not be solely attributed to women. The body has also taken fire for its entry on “bad woman,” which the TDK described as meaning a “prostitute.”

Read the full story at The Independent.