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19 Jan, 2019 09:33

Real ladies don’t lick ice cream, Istanbul municipality says in etiquette course

Real ladies don’t lick ice cream, Istanbul municipality says in etiquette course

A Turkish municipality caused quite a debate on social media when its ‘manners course’ told young women that ladies shouldn’t lick ice cream in Istanbul. Critics found the advice plain weird and said it hurts women’s freedom.

Istanbul’s Bagcilar municipality launched a two-month etiquette course for young women, local media reported. The lectures, provided in the municipal youth center, will teach good manners and how to behave in public, the organizers explained.

Parts of the ‘How to be an Istanbul lady?’ course are fairly common for traditional etiquette. Women are taught to be polite, how to use cutlery, and not to talk with their mouths full.

But one particular piece of advice triggered debate on Turkish social media. The ‘ladies guide’ says that women shouldn’t “lick ice cream.” The reports didn’t specify why enjoying a popsicle or an ice cream cone was deemed unladylike, but the tip itself was blasted as strange and “dumb.” Commenters wrote that they were surprised that someone would even care how a woman eats ice cream.

Twitter users ridiculed the suggestion, as it didn’t explain what the ‘proper’ way to consume ice cream would be. “How do they want us to eat it then?” one person wondered.

“Should we just try to fit it all in our mouths or something?” another user wrote. Some pledged to continue licking ice cream, regardless of the advice.

People also commented that these tips infringe upon women’s rights. Others, however, found the advice to have some merit, arguing that licking ice cream doesn’t make a woman look elegant.

Ice cream isn’t the only guilty pleasure included in the course’s ‘no-no list’. Real ladies aren’t supposed to chew gum in public either. They are also discouraged from using certain slang words, talking too long on the phone while riding the bus, and asking men they have just met whether they are married or how many kids they have.

Etiquette is enshrined in “our religion, our tradition and our culture,” lecturer Arzu Arda, a mathematician by training who runs the course, said. She told the media that the understanding of manners and “modesty” has waned in society and that she hopes to change that.

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