As the dates showed March 8, 1987, a magazine calling itself directly “feminist” began its publication life. After passing through the suggestions such as Aybaşı [Menstruation], Oklava [Rolling Pin], Cariyeniz [Your Odalisque], Cadı [Witch], Elimizin Hamuru [Dough of our Hands], Feministo, the name Feminist was decided. A Feminist written in letters which don’t get in line took its place on the shelves.
On the front and back covers of the magazine, there were messages written by women in their own handwriting. Words, each of which still touches many of us today: “It’s nice to talk after I’ve been quiet at the top of my lungs,” someone begins. Another is “I get very upset with antifeminists”.
They thought quite predictably of “Maybe we can issue once in a while” as a sub-name statement. This term expresses the magazine’s adventure of publishing, which lasted until the 90s, with ups and downs and with plenty of interruptions. The magazine, which had three issues in 1987, met the readers with the 4th issue in ’88, the 5th and 6th issues in ’89, but finally said goodbye to its publication life with the 7th issue that was published in ’90.
The politics of private, domestic labor, male violence were the matters surrounding all issues of the magazine. Both the changes and the agenda concerning women in Turkey and experiences in the world were discussed.
A first issue was prepared in full on March 8, 1987. The first issue published 2600 copies was completely sold out. In the first article titled “the name of feminism”, Sedef made a conceptual discussion on biological sex and gender, sexism, etc., with the argument that everyone held their own definition of feminism and that feminism was distorted. In addition to the articles of experience and analysis, uncovering sexism in cultural productions, films such as “Fatma Gül’ün Suçu Ne” and “Halkalı Köle” were criticized. An article on the history of radical feminism was also translated.
The second issue of the magazine, which received a great deal of attention and equally negative criticism, came out around the weight of the matter of beating, which was analyzed as a form of torture in the home where the society remained silent. Şirin Tekeli’s speech’s part about “beating” in the panel of the Human Rights Association on “Women and Life” was published. Filiz Kerestecioğlu enthusiastically composed “There are women” during the meetings for march against beating, the notated version of the song was published in this issue. While thinking about what could be done against beating, the issue of shelters that did not exist in Turkey was slowly starting to become visible in the discussions.
Discussing the argument that there is no “woman” or “man”, there is “human”, at the end of her article titled “…and feminists have created human”, Stella said that “Each man also benefits individually because he belongs to the dominant group and his dishes are washed, and he does not ask when he takes a lot of advantages: Is the person who does this work for me a human? Because he knows that it is a woman who does it…”
Again, in this issue, the hunger strike of gay and transgender people who were fighting for their rights, the fact that the solidarity message they sent on May 1 was not read by the committee, the “I swear I didn’t tear it” response they received (after insistent follow-up and demand of feminist women) and the message was published as it was.
In the third issue, released in October ’87, the articles were mainly focused on the campaign against beating and the experiences of the women’s festival, and the function of violence against women was discussed. Meanwhile, promises of “women’s quota” and “ministry of women affairs” were discussed due to the upcoming election, and it was exposed how the parties were undermining the demands while trying to turn women’s demands into votes for their own parties. An interview on what the French elections meant for feminists with Simone de Beauvoir was translated. Articles as a response to the argument of “unscientific” as a cover for accusing feminists of being “private”, “personal”, that is, not being political, were also included in this issue.
The fourth issue of the magazine was now surrounded with words that took the perspective of “women’s emancipation” more bravely: “If the future will be different from today, the future will be ours, the future will be women. Join hands for the emancipation of women, for our emancipation.” And the concept of women’s solidarity came to the fore. There were evaluations on Muslim feminists who emerged in this period and on Islam and women. Analyzes were made on the repetition of the dominant discourse in expressions such as “the women’s perspective” and “about women”.
The “women’s congress”, which was frequently mentioned by feminists in the previous issues of the magazine, was sent to the feminists as a draft of the program and a questionnaire asking their opinions on the draft by the Human Rights Association. Issues 5 and 6 were mostly about what happened in this congress. Many scandals such as not giving time many independent women to make comments or presentations in the sessions where male speakers and male audience members extorted the microphone, not allowing transvestite sex worker Sedef, who had applied on time, to speak at the congress although Şirin Tekeli had given her own time when her notification was not accepted, the paper being snatched from the hand of a feminist who wanted to read the critiques as a whole before her own speech left their mark on this process. “Our Body is Ours” campaign in Ankara was also covered in this issue. The “Declaration for the Emancipation of Women”, which was also a first, was published in its full form in this issue.
The last issue, published in 1990, was beginning with the introduction of the Purple Roof Women’s Shelter. There were articles dealing with the position of women in the struggle for peace and evaluating the issue of compulsory military service. There were discussions on protests against Law 438 and chastity or being licensed. In addition, in this last issue, the subject of quota in political representation and positive discrimination examples all around the world were evaluated. There was a long, translated article criticizing the “patriarchy is dead” analysis of socialist feminism. Finally, a letter of imprisoned women whose voices were not heard despite the intense violence in prisons was reflected in the press, was quoted. Thus, Feminist magazine came to an end with its intense content that bore the traces of almost all the debates of the period when it was published in small numbers.
All issues of the magazine can still be read online today.
Translator: Gülcan Ergün
Proof-reader: Müge Karahan