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[Pn. 2] Dressing Up Ahlak (Morality): An Analysis of Sexuality and Morality through the Norms of Dress in Turkey

19 October 2013


This paper will focus on the norms of dress, which are produced within the discourses of morality and sexuality in Turkey. Since the foundation of the Republic of Turkey (1923), women's appearances have constituted a significant aspect of social and political discourses. Women were perceived as not only the carriers of modernity but also the ahlak (morality) of the nation, and dress has been utilized as a tool to regulate and control the female sexuality and body within the discourses on morality. The image of ahlakli (moral) and respectable women has been defined in the various discourses on sexuality through the determination of the parts of the female body that are open to public gaze in which given social situation. Even though the image of ahlakli woman keep changing along with the changes in the discourses of sexuality in the Turkish society, the Turkish State still continues to monitor and regulate morality through formal regulations around dress codes. By analyzing the Turkish State’s formal dress regulations (By-law on the Garments of the Public Personnel) as well as the related articles and legislations, I aim to demonstrate the ways in which formal dress codes function as a disciplinary technique to produce ‘docile’ female bodies through the discourse of morality.


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