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Gender approach in Turkish Cinema through three films

Gender approach in Turkish Cinema through three films – Boş Beşik – Dönüş and Açlık


To concentrate on the phenomenon of women while trying to solve social problems is to base their efforts on equality and freedom on women’s reality, both fundamental research methodology and consistent scientific, moral and aesthetic endeavors. The nature of life is more linked to women.By translating the difference between men and women into an unequal, hierarchical difference in society and culture, which does not exist in a relationship of inequality in itself, there arises definitions of patriarchal “women” and “men” that we conceptualize as “gender” today. The so-called patriarchal “women” and “male” definitions are created in such a way as to exclude each other and to contradict each other. This opposition is a hierarchical opposition in which one side is superior and dominant to the other, and acts as a model for many other hierarchical oppositions. According to this, while man is supposed to represent intelligent civilization and culture, and thus unquestionably superior, what is represented by the woman’s body, feelings and nature. Thus, the female body is reduced to the material, to the nature, and with it the nature itself and the ability to produce the descendants of man are despised. 1

2. Whatsapp Grubumuz Açılmıştır. Editör tarafından sadece önemli haberlerin paylaşımı yapılmaktadır.

When we examine Orhan Elmas’s Boş Beşik movie, Türkan Şoray’s Dönüş movie, Bilge Olgaç’s Açlık movie in this context, we can analyze the social life place of woman and man.

Orhan Elmas’s 1969 drama Boş Beşik movie is a film that analyzes the social life by starting from Yörük’s life. Ali is a nomadic Bey, and Fatma is the daughter of a peasant, were the subject of love despite their different cultures. The film emphasizes the unbearable weight of being a woman. It emphasizes how the role of the woman in society in the historical process and how she treats her in society. For the sake of Bey’s descent, Fatma’s pressure on her society gives us the impression that she is just a birth-maker. And even though Fatma and Ali, who can not have children despite the seven years passed, society has consistently believed that the woman is problematic and the problem is constantly sought. In this film, the pressure of the woman was not only by the man but also by the women who had a patriarchal idea. In the film, Elif, who wanted to marry with Yörük Bey, came up with four children of the character and made an example of Fatma’s contempt of women by emphasizing her own fertility to Fatma, who is not a child. It is thought that Fatma married another woman with the brain for the sake of tradition and the descendants, thinking that she had a problematic body. Seven years after that, a boy regained his reputation in the society where Fatma was pregnant, but in the time of emigration from the Yoruk tradition he lost his baby to an eagle’s diet. Fatma character, who was struggling with eagles in the last scene of Filmin, showed us something more about women. The woman has vitalized the first self defense by protecting the child she created from her own body. Patriarchal gender stereotypes are passed through some minor changes, but in essence unchanged, from society and from the period.

Another film on the issue of women is the Dönüş,. Dönüş was shot by Türkan Şoray in 1972. The film clearly reflects the social spirit of the time. Turkan Soray directorial debut in the film where we see clearly in Turkey’s economic and feudal structure. We see that Gülcan and Abraham destroyed all their hopes in order to obtain the Gülcan, a landlord who did not accept that he was called no after the marriages that started with the hope of Gulcan and Abraham. Starting from the 1970s, workers from Turkey to Germany to earn money that Abraham went to Germany, and we are watching the struggle with Gulcan’s son alone. Gulcan struggles with a agha of mischiefs in a small patriarchal village because she has said no to his, while at the same time trying to maintain her own life. In the process all the village women turn away from the whole village because of a slander that they are in solidarity with him. Here we can see clearly the dark side of society. It was a big disappointment for Gulcan that Ibrahim, who has fallen into the splendor of the West, could not leave his comfortable life on his first turn and could not notice the darkness he left Gülcan. Ibrahim believes that what he has done is legitimate in the sight of Abraham, when he confronts Gulcan with a great anguish, thinking that Gulcan betrayed him with a letter from his father. He goes to the account of Gulcan, whom he married in Germany and left wolves on his wife and  with his son. Here, the society emphasizes that women are lower than men when determining the roles of men and women.

Another film that tells the truth of the society is the Aclık film directed by Bilge Olgaç. The film tells the woman’s place in society very crucially. Meryem, given to the net as a younger child, describes  the exploitation of the her labor and  her body from childhood to adulthood. She agrees to get married to Hassan, the village lunatic, to get rid of the aga’s rape. Hasan is a man who is tired of doing all the work of the house and the land that he had to look after his father after his mother died. He wants a woman who will go to the field and  to do housework.Film has a focus on the dialogs of Hassan and Hassan’s father who is emphasized. “Dad, I want to get married. I don’t want to like making a home business like a woman now. I want to get married.’. Here the woman is adapted to the human form of housework collected by society. The other crucial dialect of Filmin is the settlement within itself after he learned that Meryem was not a virgin in wedding day. Hasan considers how to explain this to his father and the villagers and finally decides that Meryem is not a crime and that he should not tell anyone. In the meantime, we can clearly see male domination in the female body. Society are accuse Meryem of the rape  that she was subjected to without her own will. Meryem relieved  for she has escaped sexual abuse. But this time her husband goes to Istanbul to work as a result of long years of famine. This is the life struggle startfor Meryem , who lives with two children and an old man. Religious elements are frequently featured in the film. Grandfather that learns that Meryem’s second child is a girl reveals that this ominousness is a curse to be a woman and that she is approached with a great hatred of her birth. Meryem can’t stand the hunger of his children, so she is went to landowner for food. The film ends with the brutal death of Meryem. The film emphasizes women’s love. It shows that the tough struggle of the exploited woman to exist in society and the exploitation order exist in every part of the society.

All three films reflect the social structure of the period in which they were drawn when examined in their social and historical contexts. Since the past, the role of women in social life has always been matched to concepts such as mother and spouses. The female body and labor are under male exploitation. The man has always been a symbol of mind and strength. Women have been identified with nature and body and are considered to be lower and secondary than men , women have taken the right to be complete human beings and have been struggling to prove that they have the ability to reach complete humanity and abstract thought and civilization to themselves and others for centuries.

Indeed, today, when both genders are looking for freedom in the context of men and women, it can be said that woman’s search for freedom is far more advanced than that of men. The woman who is looking for freedom and not staying in the place, the energetic woman, transforms and transforms the man who is trying to cage and block him in a present way and gives him a new form.

The women-oriented natural community system and the dominant male-oriented power system are two distinct paradigms and lifestyles. While one is the essence of being human and society, the other is a deviation from it, a counter revolution. Biri insanlaşırken, diğeri insan olmaktan uzaktır. In one, everything is whole and meaningful subjectivities, while in the other everything loses meaning by being subjected to fragmented, strict hierarchy and sovereignty. One is alive while the other is killing.

The masculinity phenomenon needs a correct recognition. When we consider the masculinity of the source of state civilization, we can not describe man as a purely biological phenomenon. All analyzes of masculinity lead us to the power, the propertyist, and the statist system. In this sense, the analysis of your man is a breakthrough of all power and power relations. Sexual differentiation based on the objectification of women became more effective than class differentiation in the organization of the social system. This, in fact, is evidence that man is a sociological subject. The polygamy of the male system, the deceptiveness and vulnerability of man necessitate the reconstruction of the ground of liberation. The fake ground his is standing on is not a libertarian ground. Male space is a where all sorts of freedom are elevated above the slavery of inequality and must be broken up for this reason. However, we can strengthen the libertarian steps by overcoming and solving this background and the male person whom it leads. It is imperative for mankind to resolve and to vitalize the definition of manhood that is close to nature in harmony with the woman in the natural society in the process of natural society and to the salvation of our as much as our sociality.


Fatmagül Berktay, Tektanrılı Dinler Karşısında Kadın, Metis yayınları, İstanbul,2000                                    ( 2.baskı).

Fatmagül Berktay, ‘Kadınların İnsan Haklarının Gelişimi ve Türkiye’,                                                             Sivil Toplum ve Demokrasi Konferans Yazıları, No7, 2004.

Joanne Meyerowitz, A History of ‘Gender’,


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