Halide Edib-Adıvar ve feminist yazın
Aytemiz, Beyhan Uygun
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Halide Edib-Adıvar, who is acknowledged to be the first woman novelist of Turkey although she has Fatma Aliye and Emine Semiye as her predecessors, is accepted to be an important figure in Turkish feminism and modernism. It should be admitted that she has played an important role in the War of Turkish Emancipation and represented Turkish womanhood in Turkey and abroad. The fact that she is recognized as a leader of and a spokeswoman for Turkish feminism resulted in the acceptance of her being a feminist novelist. However, a close reexamination of her fiction shows that her strategies of constructing femininity and womanhood are in harmony with the patriarchal modes of literary representation. The well-established roles of women and men in patriarchal societies are recreated instead of being challenged in her early work. In order to idealize her woman characters as powerful, active intellectuals, she creates their opposites as passive, ignorant, and self-sacrificing figures who are continually looked down on and criticized by the male point of view of the narrator in such works as Seviyye Talip and Handan. The images of women as “angels” and/or “monsters” in Halide Edib's early work is replaced by the images of women as “comrades” in The Shirt of Flame and Tatarcık. While determining the conditions of women’s existence in the male-dominated society she deprives them of their womanhood and femininity, and presents them as man-like. Thus, women do not pose a threat to men sexually. Halide Edib-Adıvar’s recreation of the phallocratic representation of women in her three novels, Handan, The Shirt of Flame and Tatarcık, is examined in this thesis and the conclusion reached is that the femininity/womanhood of the idealized female characters Handan, Ayşe and Lâle, is underrepresented.