The Invention of (Re)Covering

  • Bülent Somay
Part of the Studies in the Psychosocial Series book series (STIP)


In the previous two chapters, I have demonstrated that the Turkish nation-in-formation was structured around a masculine ideal, both bodily and psychically. Although this is basically not much different from any nation-building process in Europe or elsewhere in the ‘Third World’, the Turkish case was almost unique in that it witnessed the rebirth of a primordial Father image during this process, something unprecedented in any other nation-building experience. Women were usually included in any nation-building process as symbolic of the ‘natio’ (Kandiyoti 1991; Walby 1996), but were then excluded since the ‘citizens’ created in the process were supposed to be based on a masculine model. The most revealing example of this reversal was probably witnessed in the ‘seminal’ nation-building event, the French Revolution: Delacroix’s legendary painting with Lady Liberty visually placed the feminine image at centre stage (bearing both phallic images, the flag and the rifle), but in 1793 the Revolution silenced and executed the demanding and confusing feminine logos in the persona of Olympe de Gouges who dared publish the Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne (1791). The woman was acceptable as a symbol, as long as she accepted to remain a symbol, but the nation would be built on the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, and there was no arguing against that.


Turkish Case Feminine Image Republican Woman Phallic Symbol Female Covering 
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  1. 25.
    UNESCO: Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006; Ch. 8: ‘The Making of Literate Societies’; (last accessed 11 August 2013).Google Scholar
  2. 26.
    UNICEF: A Gender Review in Education, Turkey 2003; (last accessed 11 August 2013).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bülent Somay 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bülent Somay
    • 1
  1. 1.Istanbul Bilgi UniversityTurkey

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