“Cici Anne” was a popular advice column that first appeared in two prominent Turkish journals, Resimli Ay and Resimli Hafta, and subsequently in one of Turkey’s preeminent daily newspapers, Cumhuriyet. The columnist, Sabiha Zekeriya Sertel, was a well-known journalist and outspoken exponent of women’s rights. “Cici Anne,” directed at a more popular audience than Sertel’s other writings, was one outlet for her ideas on women and their circumstances. Each column took as its point of departure a reader’s letter and proceeded to a larger discussion, insisting on women’s need for economic independence, challenging the very concept of namus (honor), and at times calling into question the value of the institution of marriage. The column often appeared in proximity to reports of youth suicides. Thus the column and its context allow us to examine the social tensions produced by the Republican elites’ attempts to redefine family life and gender roles, and to hear, albeit at some remove, the voices of those caught up in such tensions. It also reveals the diversity of voices within the Republican camp in this early formative period.
"If You Ask Me": Sabiha Sertel’s Advice Column, Gender Equity, and Social Engineering in the Early Turkish Republic
A. Holly Shissler; "If You Ask Me": Sabiha Sertel’s Advice Column, Gender Equity, and Social Engineering in the Early Turkish Republic. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 July 2007; 3 (2): 1–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.2979/MEW.2007.3.2.1
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