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Category: Feminism, Girls, International, Media, Media Monitoring

Progressive Girls' Voices Blogger: Turkey's Depiction of Women Through Media

| June 16, 2011

Turkey has only recently had an increase in female voices. This past Sunday's election results provide some security in terms of female political representation. Women's Rights have become an ever increasing topic of discussion, but many women of Turkey feel they still don't have enough say. “The number of female deputies has increased, but it is not enough. [Female representation] has not even approached 25 percent of the total number of deputies,” Canan Güllü, the chairwoman of the Turkish Women’s Associations Federation, or TKDF. In previous years only 50 women were deputies in Turkey's Parliament.

This past weekend, 78 women were elected to represent the Turkish people. This is still only 14.1% of the deputies elected though. There is a far greater female population in Turkey than male and the government still lacks any representation by a woman with experience in women's rights or activism. Only eleven women were elected from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, who embody most of the Women Rights ideals.

Through many programs throughout Turkey women have gained opportunities to work within technological and written media companies. Although a large amount of women work within the technological fields of the Turkish media world (television and movies), drastically smaller amounts work within the written media world (newspapers and magazines).

When researching this topic many of the sources talk of the positive influences Turkish media has upon the representation of women. But recently, with the rising technological advances, many of Turkey's hidden ideals of sexism and racial bias have been revealed. Media headlines such as the following have been revealed via the 'Online Revolution' against Turkish media; “Once a favorite for men, now she is so old,” “She lost the struggle to hide her cellulite,” “Half-Armenian pro-Kurdish,” and “Are you gay, or are you normal?” These along with countless other degrading and norm abiding quotations of Turkish media have recently been brought to attention through the new wave of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and such.

There is also large concentration of the westernization of Turkish beauty. The changing of skin tones and body shapes through photo manipulation are impressing ideals of the western women's physical appearance on more than just western women. [caption id="attachment_12438" align="alignright" width="300" caption="This ad t is from a company who uses cheap Photoshop skills and makeup to reveal large breasted women that society idolizes. Images such as this are hard to find on the Internet because of countless blockages by Turkey to prevent any negative view of their media sources."]This ad t is from a company who uses cheap Photoshop skills and makeup to reveal large breasted women that society idolizes. Images such as this are hard to find on the Internet because of countless blockages by Turkey to prevent any negative view of their media sources.

Sexist Turkish media degrades women by "invading women’s personal lives, revealing the identities of women who have been assaulted in sexual or violent crimes, making sexist judgments, questioning the morality and lifestyle of women assaulted in sex crimes, portraying women only as sex symbols and giving little time to stories on women," according to MEDiZ.

The problems within Turkish media's depiction of women will only be fixed by changing sexist attitudes in culture and developing a more professional and responsible form of reporting. The degrading of women through media has a larger impact than many people understand it does. It affects all of us on some level, consciously or subconsciously. Within Turkey, the pressure to fit into western ideals of beauty is especially harmful. It goes against many traditional and even religious values along with depicting an askew reality of when western women actually look like.

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