Assignment Asia Episode 51: Challenging Gender Norms

Steeped in tradition, many Asian cultures observe conservative gender norms strictly. But in some places, people are daring to challenge them.

In Turkey, male belly dancing is making a comeback after generations of being kept in the background. It’s an art usually associated with femininity. But in Istanbul, men are grabbing the spotlight and breaking stereotypes by swaying their bodies. As Natalie Carney reports, they are also raising the profile of Turkey’s marginalized gay community.

Although they are common in other parts of the world, female security guards are a relatively new concept in the rural town of Hubli in India. It’s a patriarchal society that discourages women from working, and frowns upon those who do. But as Jyothy Karat shows us, some women there are empowering themselves and breaking the norms they were born into by becoming security guards.

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