Margaret Eby
August 14, 2014 12:48 pm

Turkey is now a country where women’s laughter and shoes are a form of political protest. After a rash of sexism from politicians in the country, women are fighting back, inspired by a female deputy’s speech in Parliament on Tuesday.

Aylin Nazliaka, the deputy for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), made a rousing speech to the General Assembly after advocating a bill that would allow women in domestic violence shelters the ability to vote. During her speech, she became so angry at a fellow deputy that she threatened to throw one of her high heels at another deputy. Not just a silly piece of rhetoric—in Islamic culture, exposing a shoe sole to an opponent is considered the highest form of insult.

“Due to the policies that you impose on the female body, and even on what women wear, what women eat, what color of lipstick they use, whether pregnant women can walk on the streets or not, whether the laughter of women stains chastity. . .these have all become matters of discussion at this point,” Nazliaka said.

“I swear to God, the devil in me tells me to take off my shoe and hurl it at you,” she continued. “But I take a look at you, and frankly, I say, ‘It’s not worth it.’”

Inspired by Nazliaka, Turkish women began posting photos of their shoes in solidarity, tagged with #geliyoterlik, which translates to “the slipper is coming.”

— fra buonfiglioli (@franzic76) August 13, 2014

Just last week, Turkish women launched another viral social media protest—posting pictures of themselves laughing—after a politician warned that women laughing in public was immodest. Emma Watson even joined in the protest.

It’s amazing how something as simple as laughter, or sandals, for that matter, could make such a powerful political statement. These creative, peaceful protests for equal rights have raised awareness, brought thousands of people across borders together in solidarity, and served as a reminder that everyone can make an impact no matter where they live. And, of course, they’ve also reinforced our love of shoes. Tweet those feet, folks.

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