- Good Headscarf, Bad Headscarf: Drawing the (Hair)lines of Turkishness
- Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 5, Number 2, Fall 2018
- pp. 171-193
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- Additional Information
Focusing on images disseminated by the mainstream laicist press in the 1990s, this essay examines how Turkey's headscarf bans were bolstered not just by negative images of veiling and positive images of unveiling, but also by images of women wearing what was deemed a good or acceptable type of headscarf or wearing the headscarf in contexts that were deemed appropriate. In other words, counter to prevailing opinion, Turkey's "secularist" opinion leaders did not simply ban the headscarf, but also praised and promoted it, or at least versions of it and times and places for it, in the late twentieth century. These images of the "good" headscarf worn by the "good" female citizen were intimately connected to dominant constructions of Turkishness and related to gendered ideas about the citizen's willing submission to the state. Studying the images and texts generated by mainstream laicist newspapers in support of the ban and revisiting the fractals of difference established around practices of head covering at this time helps highlight the ambiguities of Turkish laicism and the post-coup Turkish-Islamic synthesis.