News > Bruised, gendered, melancholic... Feminists discussed “body” in Ankara

Bruised, gendered, melancholic... Feminists discussed “body” in Ankara

June 03, 2016

The 5th Feminist Forum of Kaos GL Association took place in Ankara last weekend. Here are some snapshots from the forum that focused on the theme “body” this year.

The 5th Feminist Forum started with the opening speech by Prof. Dr. Alev Ozkazanc, who claimed that the recent political turmoil in Turkey is “an extreme and exaggerated display of masculinity”.

Ozkazanc also pointed out that the current violence and war in the country make us think more about “dead bodies, living bodies and those in between -bruised bodies”.

The first session of the forum brought different scholars together to talk over bodily interventions in the feminist discussions.

Talking about zombies in popular culture, Pinar Buyuktas underlined that the zombie figure originates in Haiti culture and asked: “Unconscious bodies turn into scary figures when they become widespread through Western colonialism. They remind that we are bodily [creatures], made up of flesh and bones, that we can die. But why does it make us frightened?”

The following session addressed the changing body perception from the social welfare state to neoliberal state. Prof. Dr. Gamze Yücesan Özdemir talked about how men’s becoming “Erdoganized” changed the discourse about women in Turkey.

“We see that in many resistance [movements] against the [ruling] AKP women are symbolized. Talking of the melancholic attitude, we see a protection mechanism from urban women that they try to keep themselves away from this dark scene. But we need to listen to voices other than what we call as urban women. Because when melancholy is organized, it becomes revolt.”

The second day of the forum started with the session “Gendered Bodies in the History of Art” where artists Necla Ruzgar and Gizem Aksu talked about how they handle bodies in their works.

Aksu explained that “body” has always been a reference point in her understanding of life: “Because bodies have many layers. The organic wisdom is about being open to spontaneity of everything and all possibilities, and not taking any permissions to live any of them that I’m ready for.”

The last session of the Feminist Forum this year was on women’s football experiences with players and supporters from Atletik Dildoa, Sportif Lezbon and Amedspor Mor Barikat (Purple Barricade).

Dilek Demir from the Purple Barricade made a parallel between football and democracy, and said: “There is one thing I have learned in tribune culture and football: You cannot exist without your rival. You need to respect your rival. Similarly, if you kill peoples you live together with, you cannot exist, either.”