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BLIND SPOT > To my imaginary daughter

BELGİN AKALTAN - belgin.akaltan@hdn.com.tr

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I don’t have a daughter but if I had one, she would probably be very much like this person... Hürriyet photo

I don’t have a daughter but if I had one, she would probably be very much like this person... Hürriyet photo

Dear Aslı,

Darling, it looks as if tough times are ahead. I know you are very young, and you hate listening to your mom, but listen… This is best for both of us…

This government, darling, the wise men out there in Ankara, the elderly, the supposedly conservative democrats, the ones that say they value the family the most; darling, they are totally against you.

They are against your young body; they are against you as an individual. They are against your freedom, your feelings, your desires, your healthy upbringing, your ability to express yourself, your ability to object. Also, your strength, your potential and your preferences… None of these matter to them, my dearest. What matters to them is your level of obedience…

I hate to say this, but this is essential for opening your eyes and your peers’ eyes.

They are only interested in your vagina, my dear. And how you use it.

When they look at you, they only see your body. They see your legs, your arms, if they could peek under your armpits, they would. If you’re wearing shorts, you are absolutely the worst.

After your vagina, it is your hymen which they focus on next. I’m offended and tearful having to convey all of this to you, but my dear Aslı, this is the reality of this country at this moment. Those big-bellied, old men who act under the pretense of conservative values are sloths with blinded sexualities; they have oppressed themselves so much that now all they can think of is sex.

Darling, no religion can ever be so brutal, so oppressive and so condescending over one gender. It is their macho minds that make all this up.

Your vagina and your hymen, your sexuality, your body, your hair and what you do with them should not be the center of attention to this extent. Dearest, it’s in the minds of these misfits that these natural parts of your body have been made so monstrous. Not only you, it is much older women like me and the like; we also suffer our share of this pointless backwardness and oppression.

I hate to talk like this, but you should know your enemy.

Any kind of contact with the opposite sex seems to be a big deal for them. Darling, I wish we could have you live in a country where the happy sex life of the woman is more important than the ever so vital hymen… I wish I could teach all young and old people of this country that it does not matter who you choose, when you choose, where you choose to have your first sexual experience… Darling, it is your 1,000th sexual experience that is so much more important than your first. Who you are with at that stage, how you feel, how happy you are; these are just as much if not more important than what you choose to do in your younger years…

I wish we could have made this country a place where your body parts are not more important than your ideas… We seem to have failed in this – well, it might not be a total failure – but there is a distinct void for the moment on that front. But I still have hope; I have hope when I look at your brother and his friends…

To be fair to all parties, actually, the climate is suitable for these misrepresented ideas to blossom; it is not only because the conservatives are in power… You have to be beware, darling.

I gave a lot of thought to the fact that a certain “conservative nature” refuses to provide a free environment for young people to get to know each other. I am wondering what would happen if all girls of your age just pretended to be lesbians. I think that would make the guys very happy. Think about this option, darling. It could be a safer route in this environment. The police and the governor would not bother you…

You can easily rent an apartment, sit in the park side by side with your lover, walk out of the Kadıköy ferry in any outfit you want to and act any way you want to as long as you are with a woman. Then this country would be perfect for you. Since being friends with the opposite gender is against the dominant conservative character of this country, then pretend to be a lesbian, dear.

I want you to live in a country where you can make your own decisions. Where men do not dictate you what to wear, where to live… I definitely believe that our next discussion will be whether or not women should be “allowed” to drive.

If the only way to enjoy a free sex life for you, in this country, dear, is to pretend to be a lesbian, well, with all due respect to lesbians…

My dear girl, get out of here…

Darling, listen to your mother. I don’t know if you would want to go to the United States or Sweden or Egypt, but I’d love to come and visit you wherever you are… I love my country, my people and my city Istanbul, and I also love living here…

But I have difficulty understanding and putting up with this mentality. Not for myself so much anymore, but for young people, especially young girls…

We will be here, darling. We will try to guard and protect and fight for our values against these attacks; as much as we can… You go, my sweetie; you get out of here… Go…

https://twitter.com/belginakaltan 
belgin.akaltan.com 

November/09/2013

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mara mcglothin

11/13/2013 5:12:49 PM

HALIL I am still not sure what you are talking about even after reading your comment several times. If you have instilled the proper values in your daughter then you have to trust in her decisions, and not just assume that she would be influenced by such "hipsters". My sister in laws both grew up in Istanbul, got educations and married without being tossed?

Çılgın Kanarya

11/11/2013 8:41:31 PM

Thanks Hans-Joachim and American for pointing out to Nadiri what I couldn't be bothered writing myself! I'm on the verge of giving up on him, I really am, lol. The guy's lack of logic genuinely astounds me, on almost a daily basis. He claims to be an atheist, but last week he was espousing the virtues of living in a "true theocracy"! Without being too rude, with the type of illogical and inconsistent arguments he puts forth, he can't really expect to be taken too seriously on here.

mara mcglothin

11/11/2013 3:22:27 PM

Great point AMERICAN AMERICAN, BUT of course we with our "Western Culture" are simply too much for some on this page to grasp.

Halil Ibrahim

11/11/2013 2:29:50 PM

Belgin not all of us can afford to send our daughters abroad. This is an amazingly self centered article that does nothing to bridge the chasm of moral convictions between rural/suburban Turkiye and the urban elitism of Istanbul. I don't want my daughter to have a headscarf but I don't want her to be tossed about by every hipster aristocrat in Istanbul either. In fact it is this utter lack of sensitivity toward modesty that has fueled the gains of conservatism and regressed sexual maturity.

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke

11/11/2013 2:35:42 AM

Nadiri Başaran, unfortunately, you did not clarify anything. In fact, now I understand you even less! Question: How do "the wise men out there in Ankara" include all men by implication? How does the text become "anti-male" this way? Last time I checked, the majority of Turkish males weren't living in Ankara, and the majority of Ankara males weren't members of your government. Where's the logic?

american american

11/10/2013 10:31:56 PM

nadiri, if your responses elicit responses that you find 'boring', perhaps you need to change. if people view your intelligence as somewhat lacking and not just once or twice...well, if it walks like a duck. as a man, i was not offended by this article and therefore it is not an 'anti-male' article. it was an 'anti-nadiri-and-his-likeminded-male-friends' article. if it doesn't apply to you, you wouldn't be offended.

sam afg alokozai

11/10/2013 8:06:26 PM

we all know that today's turkey do does not want sexism and faciscm rooted western democracy anymore and this peace of article is just a feeling from an angry imaginary mom as @HANNI BAL said, so only few moms can be so angry to put their daughters in dark and sexism instead of giving her proper education and upbringing for bright future ...

Jan Dirk

11/10/2013 8:00:58 PM

Belgin's article is beautiful, both in construction and in sentiment. She is dealing with very delicate matters, as the female body has, and always will, be of fascination to males, as will the beauty and loving sentiments of which females abound. There are, naturally, exceptions, in both sexes. In truth, power and religion, whether separate or mixed, are factors which allow deviations from normal behaviour to be deemed, by the select few, as acceptable. The rest of us try to behave ourselves.

Brit in Turkey

11/10/2013 5:35:49 PM

To me the article is spot on, if a little crude in it's language, causing me to wince.

hanni bal

11/10/2013 2:55:36 PM

i don't think most women will agree with this ANGRY IMAGINARY MOM. A good MOM will try to learn her kids and be a better person esp. when the kids at their younger age.This angry mom is just to cover up her ill feelings because she was never thought the right perspective in life during her generation.We cant blame her but the leaders during her time and western culture. This issue is not about freedom it is about right EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN and preserving our good moral CHARACTER.
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