Women's Choices of Head Cover in Turkey: An Empirical Assessment
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 29, Number 3, 2009
- pp. 450-467
- Additional Information
Despite its political significance, not much is known about the behavioral and attitudinal bases of different head cover practices in Turkey. The article makes use of two nationwide representative surveys, one carried out in 1999 and the other in 2006, to expose the characteristics of “covered” women in contrast to “the uncovered.” Three different types of head covers are distinguished: (1) the more traditional but relatively more colorful head cover allows for the hair, neck, and shoulders and much of the face to be seen; the turban, paler in color, covers all hair, the neck, and the shoulders and leaves only a smaller portion of the face uncovered; and the veil, in dark brown or black, leaves only the eyes uncovered. Several hypotheses are made on an a priori conceptual level, variables are operationalized, and proper tests are conducted. A detailed series of questions concerning attitudinal traits and the social and political preferences of covered and uncovered women, together with demographics, are used to determine Turkish women’s choices for different types of religiously meaningful head covers. Among the various hypotheses, the political significance of turban wearing, as opposed to purely private-sphere religious beliefs as the guiding motivation behind turban use, is contrasted and tested.