film about sex roles in Turkey today

The clash between modern and traditional values is displayed in a Turkish film, Mustang (2015), where most people are Muslim. It takes place in a village in Northern Turkey where five teenage sisters play on the beach along with their male classmates. A neighbor woman complained about the co-ed playfulness to the girls’ family, similar to what the director actually experienced as a girl and similar to the US film The Virgin Suicides. Director Deniz Gamze Ergüven travels back and forth from Turkey to France. When she returns home, “I feel a form of constriction that surprises me” so she wanted to explore the status of girls and women in contemporary Turkey in the film.[i] “Everything that has anything to do with femininity is constantly reduced to sexuality,” as when high school principals prohibit boys and girl from using the same stairways. Women are viewed as babymakers “good only for housework.” The family reacted by removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, removing the girls from school and keeping the girls at home teaching them to be housewives. When the older sisters are married off, the younger ones rebel and plot to stay independent and unmarried. Ergüven described the young actors who played the younger sisters as empowered, “They are also crazily plugged-in; they know everything about everything. It’s amazing. They really are light years ahead of me and their parents.”



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