Sexuality is a taboo topic in Turkish movies as (auto)censorship has become standard following heightened state control of the film industry, especially since the early 2000s (Kuyas 2017),1 which includes restrictions on discussions around virginity. The movies A Madonna in Laleli (Azize: Bir Laleli Hikayesi, 1999) and Secret (Saklı, 2015) have a special place in the Turkish film archive because of their focus on revirginization practices. Revirginization is the set of methods women use to reclaim their “technical virginity” (Özyeğin 2015). The primary method used is hymenoplasty, or the restoration of the hymen to allow for the possibility of bleeding, sometimes coupled with vaginoplasty, an additional surgery that provides a feeling of vaginal tightness during penile-vaginal intercourse. In Turkey increasing numbers of women are revirginizing before marriage or, to a lesser degree, within relationships with no prospect of marriage. Virginity is still socially...
A Madonna in Laleli and Secret: Marginalizing Revirginization and Revirginizers in Turkish Cinema
HANDE GÜZEL is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests cut across the sociology of the body, gender, sexuality, and health and illness, with an emphasis on the Middle East. Her most recent work, “Pain as Performance: Re-virginisation in Turkey,” appeared in the journal Medical Humanities. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hande Güzel; A Madonna in Laleli and Secret: Marginalizing Revirginization and Revirginizers in Turkish Cinema. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 November 2019; 15 (3): 416–422. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15525864-7720977
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