Mona Lisa in veils: Cultural identity, religion, politics and feminism in Turkey

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Turkey has been experiencing an evolutionary feminist movement within the modernization project since 1923. This paper explores the relationship between politics, religion and feminism in the context of Turkish cultural identity and women's experience of the evolution of modernization evolution. Commencing with a discussion of the Time magazine cover-the Mona Lisa in veils-the paper gives examples of women's experiences of the divine and shifts in patriarchal culture. It also provides an overview of the history of feminism in Turkey, which offers the opportunity to explore, articulate and share the experiences and reflections on the change in women's circumstances in Turkey. The paper will argue that Turkey is one of the most important success stories of women's empowerment; not only because it is an Islamic country; but also because the empowerment of women began in the early twentieth century. Indeed, it is worth identifying what is of crucial importance for the success of both Turkish women and wider feminist movements in Turkey: it is making change real: a 'realization' from theory to political and social practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalFeminist Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

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