The representation of women in Turkish cinema in the 1980s

  • Atil Atakav

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines the relationship between feminism and cinema in the context of the women's movement and women's films of the 1980s. In focusing on the nature and implications of the representation of women constructed in Turkish cinema and the issues addressed by the women's movement, it argues that there are connections to be made on an analytical and theoretical level between the two sets of practices. The thesis argues that the enforced depoliticisation introduced after the coup (on 12th September 1980) by the incoming military government is responsible for uniting feminism and film. First, the feminist movement was able to flourish precisely because it was not perceived as political or politically significant. In a parallel move in the films of the 1980s there was an increased tendency to focus on women's issues and lives in order to avoid the overtly political. Secondly, women's films of the 1980s do not merely reflect a unitary patriarchal logic but are also sites of power relations and political processes through which gender hierarchies are both created and contested. The films of the 1980s empower women by dealing with women's issues and representing them as strong characters; however, at the same time they marginalise and objectify women with their cinematic style. turkish cinema reveals powerful cross-currents producing complex and often contradictory effects, acting both to reinforce and to mitigate against the manifestations of male dominance in different narratives and contexts. However despite these complexities, gender asymmetry in Turkish society is produced, represented and reproduced through filmic texts. There has been very little scholarly work done on the representation of women in Turkish cinema in the 1980s. The existing resources not onlylack focus on the shifts in the representation of women within socio-political context, but also fail to make a strong link between feminism and cinema. Moreover, in resources under scrutiny there is no sustained focus on mise-en-scene. The aim of this thesis is to fill this gap and explain the changes in the cultural, the social and the political, while linking feminism and cinema by examining films using close textual analysis.
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

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