Istanbul Street Guide to Gender and Harassment

With a population of 16 million people and with rich mixture of cultural, religious, national and other backgrounds, Istanbul can be seen as a world by itself. What you are going to read about, is without doubt present all around the world – and of course there are significant differences present within Istanbul already – […]

With a population of 16 million people and with rich mixture of cultural, religious, national and other backgrounds, Istanbul can be seen as a world by itself. What you are going to read about, is without doubt present all around the world – and of course there are significant differences present within Istanbul already – but there are some specialities that are simply unavoidable and must be seen.

 

art

Apart from street musicians and occasionally other street performers, there is another type of in the streets of Istanbul. The special spices comes in walking, standing and sitting version, its preying styles vary, but their common habit is to distract the prey and gradually reveal their purpose. So, you think a stranger is asking you for help or directions, but in the next 15 seconds you will notice a difference. Of course they will want to know your name, where you come from and what are you doing here. Suddenly you will become »beautiful girl with a beautiful name« and no matter what you think, all of that comes from only one of your characteristics – being a woman. In 5 minutes you can meet several in the same area during the peak hours, chances even increase by how stereotypically foreign you look and if you look younger.

 

 

girls, wanna buy some spices?

Hey, beautiful! Comments in similar manner. Whistling. Various sounds that aim to express »compliment« about one’s appearance. Welcome to Istanbul.

Spice Bazaar by Cieodlp
Spice Bazaar by Cieodlp

Variety of sexist approaches attempting to attract attention can also be found in various (touristic) places. Mostly in English and well prepared. Those artists continue believing catcalling is flattering, women actually like it and they are asking for it by simply going around alone. Walking side by side with a man, changes the situation dramatically. Yes, »your« man is respected more than you are. Some change can also be achieved by using a fake engagement or wedding ring. You have to be »his«. Or simply…

 


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Alenka Mrakovcic

Finishing BA in dramaturgy and performing arts, researching on culture in Gezi protests, activist for human rights. Interested in migration, gender, activism as intervention into public space, sustainable living. Musician by heart.

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  1. Pingback:She Woke Up Naked | We Love Istanbul

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