9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Gender Roles: Between Working and Caring Building II, C4.02

"Prevailing Women Ideal(s) in Modern Turkey: Always Honourable, Strong but Manageable"

My objective is to analyse the persistence of patriarchal mentality under different guises in comparatively modern and liberal segments in Turkey focusing on the representations of female characters -both female TV celebrities and the female ideals they are supposed to embody in TV narratives- in mainstream TV channels after the 1990s and especially in the 2000s. From the 1990s on the flourishing advertising industry and TV dramas that attract a wide spectrum of audience have created numerous modern female ideals that left traces in public memory. As products of the male imagery, these TV representations incorporated ?beautiful, strong and intelligent heroines mostly appropriated into a romanticised version of patriarchal culture with its values, norms and relations. After a modernisation process of about two hundred years, women´s status in the public sphere and society in general has still been a difficult issue in comparatively western, urban and liberal segments as well as in relatively eastern, rural and traditional ones. Even though it is never manifested frankly, honour is the basic requisite for the construction of modern "Turkish female ideal" that is created through different forms of media as proper wife and/or mother. TV representations most often play a role in legitimising the submission of women in patriarchal relations creating images of chivalrous and magnanimous heroes and expecting heroines to hand their lives into the hands of men by whom "a sympathetic and desirable" form of patriarchal dominance is created. Looking at the reflections of the female ideals on TV screen -both the heroines and TV celebrities-, it can be claimed that this male desire for strong, but manageable and always honourable women is one of the central features of the gender regime in contemporary Turkey and an analysis of representation can help unfold the multilayered intricacies of gender regime at work.