Author(s): Yıldırım Uysal*

This article evaluates critically the films of Hülya Avsar in the 1980s to explore ‘deep rooted conservative values’ in Turkish society. The study examines the judgements which are made about womanhood, specific types of women, morality, patriarchy and therefore, it finds the opportunity to scrutinize the dichotomy between ‘good’ woman vs. ‘immoral’ or ‘loose’ woman notions.

Our method is historical analysis based on data which is provided by films chosen from among the films that Hulya Avsar acted in the 1980s. Avsar’s films in this period provides knowledge about general values of Turkish society and contains clues about Turkish society in the 1980s. The characters she played portray the ‘other’ woman: the women who are doing professions such as prostitute, belly dancer etc. which violate conservative values or the women whose life contradicts the conservative values in some way.

The most important finding is that, Hulya Avsar’s films of 1980s are merely a mirror of Turkish societal reality and its value system. This social reality perpetuates a value system which is derogatory for women and locks them into stereotypes. Avsar films do reflect but do not interrogate conservative values. The‘other’ woman, the life style she portrays and the values of this life style, are punished at the end of the film certainly. Conservative society displays a strong reaction against the violation of its own values and hence, the severest punishment which is applied to such transgressors is death. The death is the most probable option offered at the end of the films; thus it is ensured that the threatened mainstream value system remains unshaken and preserved.


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