Collectivizing The Women’s Movement


Author: Melek Göregenli; Translation: Begüm Acar; Editing: Feride Eralp

Amargi’s previous issue included evaluations on the given state of the women’s movement in Turkey; or if we try to form a more comprehensive language, it included articles, news of demonstrations, and also mentions of the everyday practices of living, in which the formation of gender categories, especially in terms of morality, was protested and rebelled against.  It is doubtless that every page created a kind of adventure for all of us to pursue by ourselves, through leading us to various questions, both intellectually and on the basis of experience. The women’s movement creates itself in acting against patriarchal hegemony, as collective subjects or as different social movements. While doing this, one on hand it frames its ‘collective’ anti-discourse, and on the other hand, it refers to distinct -sometimes contradictory- positions of womanhood.  Problems concerning the transition from diverse women’s movements which collectivize based on short-ranged, fundamental agenda concerning the converting of women’s lives in the sense of the everday to form a political, totally ‘independent’ feminist movement, in my mind, merge with impositions related to morality.  In this article, by repeating the questions, which have been asked in all anti-movements and feminist politics many many times, I will try to share them rather then search for answers.  Power regulates life in a manner which ensures that those under its domination will mostly be affected by its negative outcomes.  As Hasbiye Günaçtı explained with examples in her article in the previous issue; by restrictions whose dimensions in terms of time and place are sometimes beyond our comprehension, by legal or daily norms, by controlling, by punishing, by humiliating…  Sometimes or in some areas, by recognizing, accepting and giving permission, that is, on the one hand, by making life more bearable for some of us, while on the other hand, politicizing diverse positions of womanhood as ‘acceptable’ constructions, it includes them into the hegemonic area.

Judith Butler states that the juridicial formation of the language and politics which represent women as the subjects of feminizm is, in itself, the discursive product and result of a certain politics of representation.  According to her, it is not enough to solely question how women should thoroughly be represented in language and politics; therefore, the patriarchal hegemony which condemns all of us as women, may not in itself suffice in order for us to create an anti-ideology.  Feminist criticism has also to conceive how the category of “women”, the very subjects of feminism, is produced and restrained by the power structures themselves which are presumed to be the remedy.

We must go into lengthy considerations even upon the naming of certain women and organizations – who are the naming fathers? –  For instance, women in the Kurdish political movement, women in Islamist movements, women in nationalist movements, women in socialist women’s movements and in LGBTT movements, even women’s rights organizations which claim not to be ‘feminists’… Do any of these actually differentiate from one another in terms of ‘recognition’?
Does the quality of the demands matter in determining the how recognized diverse women’s movements are – both by the women’s movement in the general sense and by those in power?

Can the relationship of social ‘recognition’ between the addresees of demands for rights and freedom and those who utter these be understood only through gender?

Is it enough to try to form a collective language, merely on the discursive level, for the diverse struggles for rights and freedom, which male-dominated hegemony approves or does not approve of officially, semi-officially or normatively?

Let us continue with Butler: Class, race, ethnicity and many other relations of power both constitute ‘identity’ – based on womanhood – and simultaneously deny the existence of this as a singular identity. When the specificity of the feminine is taken out of its context in relation to all other perspectives, it thus ends up being separated from the above mentioned axes both analytically and politically.
When representation becomes the only focal point of politics, which relations of domination and exclusion are unconsciously perpetuated?

We should keep asking these questions that are already on our agenda and continue discussing the answers.

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