21 Eylül 2011 Çarşamba

Woman is the Indicator, Not the One Who Sees the Indication: on the Beauvoir's second sex

The self emerges within the society by the realization of “the differences” between the self and other. These differences are loaded into artificially constructed “roles” that are defined by the society in respect to their histories. The sexes, just like the self, “develop” in such way; “one” is man because there is a woman and “the other” is woman because there is a man. Human history tells us that; man is the one, the actor, the king, the hero, the god whereas woman is only an “object” that “pleases” “the natural needs” of the king, completes the hero “incompletely”, gives, and ought to give, the ground for “the one” to become the subject. All of this started with the control of man over woman’s “femininity”; man idealized woman with discourses of “true woman”(1) , and left no freedom to take decisions on their own. Therefore, one was not born as woman but rather becomes in socialization process.

Engels is essential here to understand woman’s stigmatized position in the society; private property brought senses religion, family, and state our lives to “secure” our interests and let men to accumulate them. The objectification of women took place in this process, then the man, because they are the ones who “works-out” became the absolute power and controller in the societies.

Universal suffrage was introduced in Turkey in 19 and almost all the course books manifests that the right to voting and being voted was “given” to Turkish women before many of European countries. However, in actuality there is no big deal about this, not many woman took an important place in Turkish history. But, by the law on suffrage, the memories of women in Ottoman wanted to be forgotten and the new memories of Turkish women wanted to “be produced”, it is crucial to note that, there is actually no difference between these memories and roles of the woman in the society. The difference was rather in the mentality of “new man”; who “acts-out” equality myth in the public sphere and enjoys his privileged role. Few years ago, after the general elections Erdoğan assigned Nimet Çubukçu as minister of education, for some people that was a radical shift for AKP and its fractions in terms of the perspective on woman’s role in politics. However, the former minister of education, once again, showed that there was no need for “excitement” by saying that “She doesn’t need to do something, but make the system (which I’ve setup in my years of ministry) work.” There, once again we have seen that the narration of the events (history) was controlled by man and woman cannot become an actor in it. But it is not the case for “Muslim-conservatives”; CHP was greatly illustrating this idea by supporting headscarf ban for many years and saying that “Wearing hijab is not their choice, but it was their families will” which in fact, again, makes decision for women’s reasons. I conclude that, the “problems” of women has never been discussed by women in Turkey and unless there will be a world-wide radical change, because all the history and life that we live is same, as it was proposed by Karl Marx in Communist Manifesto.

(1) Described by Barbara Welter in “The Cult of True Womanhood” in American Quarterly Vol. 18 (1966): as purity, piety, submissiveness and domesticity (pg. 152).

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