America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

04 February 2009

censoring myself limits my writing

Murat asked me to cowrite on this blog and I have... somewhat. I know I could write more but it's difficult when I know I'll shock him and maybe even embarrass him with my raw and honest opinions that plague this Amerikan Turkish girls thoughts. I have a lot of experience to share as an Amerikan Turk but it's not all too "hanım" or ladylike. I've already experienced censorship once from my family when my photo hobby site on Flickr was discovered. I had to endure my mother calling me to ask if I was ashamed of myself or had any self respect and that was only after hearing about it, she hadn't even seen it yet. I had to tear down 1/3 of my favorite pictures because they were too "erotic" or as I would call them, "artistic and tasteful self expression". My point is that there is so much I could write about, but what if one of my mom's friends read it! What if Murat is mortified by my opinions of modesty versus freedom of sexual expression. How I think that many girls in Turkey play the supposed innocent virgin till marriage while us Amerikan Turks are cast to be whores because we're not full of shit. Already I've said too much.


Murat Altinbasak said...

Speak your mind! Just refrain from sounding vulgar or obcene. I know what you are saying and I don't want to censor, but I also do not want it to get too personal as it relates to you. This is not the place to be sharing intimate things about yourself which people will then use to form an opinion about you. Remember that your posts here come up on Google searches. Say nothing that you would refrain from saying on the steps of the Capitol Building with CNN cameras rolling. That's all..
Your thoughts about the girls in Turkey vs the ones here- go for it. Just be tactful. Do not reference anyone directly or name names.

TT said...

All of what you say hasn't affected Murat from speaking his mind either.

But if it bothers you so, then set up your own blog, and come up with an anonymous name like, 'The Diary of a Turkish Highness' or something...

I am sure even the men (and women) who are in denial will follow you, secretly...


Ardent said...

I have an anonymous blog name because I also did not want to be an embarrassment if I were to write something that is unconventional or politically incorrect.

I do not want my family to think that Mum has gone berserk.

Also I wrote an entry on the headscarf issue that did not go down too well. I was verbally attacked on other blogsites that I should not call myself a Turk, which I know stemmed from that post.

My advice is be true to yourself. You are not going to enjoy blogging if you feel you need to write what others want to hear.

Be discreet and if someone gets offended ... Tough shit!

Finduk O. said...

Even though I'm pretty much posting to say I agree with the previous comments while also understanding the dilemma you find yourself in, I'm going to have to suggest the same thing. Create a blog with your identity unknown (meaning, dont email your family the address saying, "hey here's my new blog) and your readers will be the ones who come across it via google searches.

Personally, I have found that our Turkish American family is much more conservative in behavior than non-american turks. If a Turkish girl here in Turkiye, for example, has been with a dozen boys, and claims that she is a virgin (!) when speaking to her elders, then when the female american turk admits to previously having one partner, or ---gasp---two people, then she is the one who is shockingly innappropriate in behavior.

You see, lying about these things is expected in this country---or at least condoned. NO no, it is expected. If you really are a virgin and say that you are, people will just say "yeah right whatever" and move on.

You are expected to lie. When you dont lie, just like you said in your post, you've suddenly done something terribly wrong.

My motto is, if you're comfortable enough to talk about what you've done or are about to do, then do it.

The people here who do the most unhealthy things are also ashamed to talk about it or admit that they've done it. But they continue to do so, and then they can blame a "repressive society" instead of themselves when something goes wrong.

It is not a repressive society but an irresponsible individuality at play. As long as you own up to whatever it is that you post, you'll be fine. The only reason I also suggested a blog that does not have your identity is because your family's reaction is probably what bothers you most.

Sometimes even your closest relatives just don't get your mindset about something. It doesnt mean the love you less, but it does mean they aren't educated enough about boundaries (where their boundaries end and yours begin).

Until you can draw better boundaries with your mom at least, if you want to avoid a lecture from her (sorry this comment sounds like one, that is not my intent) then the only way of going about things currently is to do it without her knowledge.

I know that sounds less than honest. But you either suck it up when it comes to unwanted reactions, or you adjust your behavior according to what you yourself can personally handle. It's not censoring yourself because of other people---don't blame them---it's censoring yourself because you don't want to hear their shit. Take responsibility of the fact that it's not their reaction but how you respond to their reaction that is so frustrating to you.

I'm trying to work towards a level of individuality where my mother's rude comments don't make me flinch, but it's still a work in progress :)

Good luck, sorry for the long post; in some ways I can relate. At least in the observations I've made in comparing Turks with American Turks, you are right, the Americans are honest about what they do.

Nevin said...

As long as you do not sound racist, sexist or just down right rude, I say, write what every you want. If you post something political, be ready for some criticism and backlash. But never become intimidated! If you believe in your thoughts, don't be afraid to post them...

You say (some) Turkish girls/women are hypocritical about their sexuality, which is a fact. But that is quite cultural. They are (for the most part) so oppressed that, they feel the need to hide their need for sexual desire/act. Because it is seen by them and their families as something shameful or forbidden. I am with you... it is time Turkish girls/women enjoyed their bodies without shame and oppression... so if you start a blog, I will be following it with enthusiasm.

Don't forget, if you write with taste, you will be appreciated by lots of girls who you criticize in your post above... because they need a voice too!

Good luck! :) I will be looking forward to your blog... More the merrier...

Idil said...

I own a secret blog which I had opened back when I set up my main blog, with the idea of maybe blogging my more secret thoughts on the secret one while being more general on my main blog.
I found with time that it felt more liberating to just blog on my main site and let everyone see and read my real opinions and my deepest, darkest thoughts.
I know it's hard for a Turkish female to brave the stereotypes and the cultural walls that have been put up around us, but it's actually up to you to take a step in the right path and not let anyone censor you.
Most of the stuff I write about generally makes idiots feel like sending me hate mail or threats, which is obviously not fine but there will always be idiots on planet earth, nothing we can do against that, but it shouldn't stop you from writing freely.

cdunlap said...

My name is Caroline and I am a student and the University of Vermont. In my Middle Eastern anthropology class, we have learned about contemporary societal issues. However, our studies have not included very much about Turkey. In looking to blogs to learn more, I was surprised at how few blogs I found and later learned of the Turkish government’s censorship of the internet and was interest to read of your mention of censorship on another level. How do you feel that your opinions towards censorship have changed since living in the US? Is Turkish society less permissive when it comes to self-expression, or is more a result of being female?