The Free Girl vs. Feminism Part II: “‘Cause I’m Free; I Can Do What I Want to Do!”

Berrin Yanikkaya
Department of Radio, Television and Cinema, Yeditepe University, Turkey

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Ingår i: The ESF-LiU Conference Cities and Media: Cultural Perspectives on Urban Identities in a Mediatized World Vadstena; Sweden; 25-29 October; 2

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 20:26, s. 189–194

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Publicerad: 2007-03-06


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The first part of this paper called ‘The Free Girl vs. Feminism Part I: “Don’t Get Me Wrong; I’m Not a Feminist or Something!” is presented at the Freedom and Prejudice Conference in Istanbul in October 5th 2006. In that paper I aimed to open up a discussion space on the prejudice in contemporary Turkish society which is articulated and reinforced by the representations and messages of mass media against women’s liberation movement and freedom; and the theories and studies that are carried out under the umbrella of feminism.

The Free Girl that is mentioned in the title of both of these papers refers to a popular Turkish musician; Nil Karaibrahimgil who first started to work in media industry in the advertisement sector; and then wrote and sang the songs of a cell phone advertisement campaign; at the same time she appeared on the visual materials as a drifter on the eastern part of the country singing “I am free” –that caused her to be known as the “Free Girl” until her debut album was publicized. In this paper I will try to explore the anti-feminist discourse generated by and with one of the white-st and free-st urban female image in Turkish popular cultural scene and the dissonance of her adventures as a drifter in the rural and relatively less-developed areas of the country as opposed to her urban identity; by following the cell phone advertisements that she took part in. These cell phone advertisements are later designed as a love story and after a while moved into the city scene where a handsome boy tries to follow the cues and reach her; as the “story” unfolds “episodes” become more urban and concomitantly much more complex and fast.

Starting with her image in the advertisements; she constantly tries to show to the Turkish audience how different she is; how she can do everything she wants; how she is free from all traditional bounds; which are also emphasized in her album titles; covers and lyrics; and self-made unusual costumes as well as her remarks on the related subjects in the various TV and newspaper interviews. That seemingly free and resistant attitude falls apart when it comes to deal with the traditional norms; roles and values of being female in the given social context where she confronts with different social groups in front of the public. Therefore; I would like to discuss her urban; free and challenging public image which is elaborately –as it is claimed to be- free from any political view –especially feminism- and at the same time explicitly and implicitly negotiating with the existing social and cultural values of being a female with all the possibilities and the limitations Istanbul offers to women today.


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