Turkish women and Gezi

There’s a great article on women in Turkey in the New York Review of Books’ blog.

Suzy Hansen gives a clear and balanced perspective on what’s been happening from the point of view of Turkish women since the AKP, Erdoan’s party, came into power, and during the protests which started three months ago (and are far from being over).

She emphasizes that at the beginning, the AKP did support some women friendly reforms:

As it happened, the first years of Erdoğan’s administration coincided with some important reforms relating to the status of women in Turkish law. Lobbying efforts by women’s rights advocates in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as a campaign coordinated by over one hundred women’s groups in 2001, led to a reform of the penal code to recognize women as individuals. Until 2005, a sexual crime against a woman was called “a crime against society,” or a “crime against public morality and the family,” rather than a crime against an individual. The new laws also criminalized marital rape and sexual harassment, increased punishment for honor killings, and reversed legal discrimination against unmarried women. Though Erdoğan had little to do with these reforms, it was he and the AKP who took credit for dramatically improving the legal status of women in Turkey.

Hansen contrasts this with the AKP’s invasion of women’s private lives in the last few years, telling women they should have three children, attempting to make all abortions illegal, making wild claims about child birth methods, and publicly denying that men and women are equal.

The Gezi protests, she claims, with its high participation of women, may bring some hope for the future of the status of women in Turkey:

Of course one risk is that, as in earlier decades, the plight of Turkish women will get lost in larger political debates about basic freedoms and rights in general. And yet the growing recognition of women’s rights among the spectrum of grievances many people have against the Turkish state suggests that the old ways may be changing.

Well worth reading. Thanks Radu.

See How She Runs: Feminists Rethink Fitness (CFP)

Vol. 9, No. 2 Special Issue on Feminism and Fitness. The submission deadline for this issue is April 1, 2015. The guest editors are Samantha Brennan and Tracy Isaacs.


Fitness is a neglected concept in bioethics but fitness is of key importance to women’s health and well-being. Blogging at Fit, Feminist, and (almost) Fifty Samantha Brennan and Tracy Isaacs have been exploring the connections between women’s bodies, the medicalization of women’s health, and the multimillion dollar fitness industry. Until recently the focus of feminist criticism was on diet and weight loss, while ‘fitness’ was thought to be benign. More recently feminists have been engaging with the rhetoric of fitness as well. Some of the issues discussed show that there are significant impediments to women’s flourishing associated with fitness talk: fat shaming, body image, the tyranny of dieting, the narrow aesthetic ideal of femininity and how antithetical it is to athleticism, the sexualization of female athletes, women and competition, issues about entitlement, inclusion, and exclusion, the way expectations about achievement are gender variable, the harms of stereotyping. Feminists have begun to interrogate the very assumptions about what constitutes “fitness” in the first place. How is fitness connected to ableism and non-disabled privilege? Sport and fitness provide us with microcosms of more general feminist concerns about power, privilege, entitlement, and socialization.

Interested contributors are encouraged to submit papers on any topic related to feminism and fitness.
Possible topics include:
  • Is there a role for medical professionals to play in women’s fitness?
  • Do the norms of femininity and feminine socialization conflict with fitness?
  • Doctors often worry about the suitability of women’s bodies for exercise. How should feminists think about the role medical professionals played in making women’s effort to exercise a matter of serious health concern?
  • Pregnant bodies have often been the source of medical policing when it comes to physical activity. Women are told to be sure to exercise, but not too much, and in this way, not in that way, for fear of damaging their unborn child’s health. What critical perspective does a feminist analysis of prenatal fitness bring to bear?
  • What should we make of the coercive nature of health claims? Is ‘healthism’ something that ought to be of concern to feminists?
  • How should we define fitness? Is a feminist account of fitness possible? What would a feminist account of fitness look like?
  • How do we balance the benefits of fitness against the dangers inherent in sport?
  • Is fitness an inherently ableist notion, making troubling assumptions and presumptions about disability, normality, normal function, and fitness?
Interested authors are encouraged to contact the guest editors (tisaacs@uwo.ca and sbrennan@uwo.ca) to discuss their contribution. All papers submitted to IJFAB are subject to anonymous peer review.