9 Aralık 2010 Perşembe

Kadirizm: A Successful Commercial Project for Male Hegemonic Popular Discourse From Turkey

Since the decline of structuralism in the academic field and the loss of prestige of communism due to the victory of the capitalist so-called “free world” over socialist “iron curtain” countries, post-structuralism appeared as a new hope for socially alienated, oppressed groups. Post-structuralism soon replaced structuralism in theoretical studies and works of post-structuralist writers especially that of Michel Foucault became very famous and influential in social sciences around the world. Foucault rejected the objective truth and so called “scientific” truth claims made by Marxism, which is based on economic determinism. Foucault claimed that Marxist insistence on economics shadowed systematically other considerations of power. Foucault borrowed the term “genealogy” from Nietzsche and together with the term “archaeology of knowledge”, he used it to refer to the need in deconstructionist social science researches to go back to the origins of knowledge by solving different layers of the discourse and finding the origin where power relations have began. He claimed that the whole history was constituted around a set of linked and mistaken assumptions. Contrary to Karl Marx, Foucault saw power as something that is exercised rather than possessed. In other words, power is not attached to agents and interests; it is incorporated in numerous practices. Unlike structuralist Marxist works, post-structural studies not only focused on lower socioeconomic classed but rather embraced all socially disadvantaged groups and entities (ethnic minorities, women, Eastern countries, gays and lesbians etc.).

Two main trends emerged within the post-structuralism wave: textuality and discursivity. Textual researches focused on language as a producer of meaning rather than a pale reflection of some prior reality (Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida etc.). Foucauldian post-structuralist works on the other hand concentrated on discourse analysis and analyzed all traditions, norms, rules, texts, symbols, words and expressions where hierarchical power relations could be found. Discursivity unlike textuality, not only deals with the “text”, but also with the “context”. Discursive researches focus on the question of “how” rather than “why”. They do not look for causal explanations but instead, they try to understand the working of a discursive mechanism that creates subordinations and produces hierarchical power relations. Edward Said, who made use of Foucauldian “binary oppositions” method in creating his famous theory of “Orientalism”, explained Foucauldian discourse analysis as follows: “Foucault specified rules for those rules, and even more impressively, he showed how over long periods of time the rules became epistemological enforcers of what people thought, lived and spoke” (Barrett, pg 126-127). Foucault analyzed different institutions (prison, clinic, hospital, bordello etc.) and other discursive unities (book, oeuvre, traditions, genre or discipline) to detect power relations. He said; “Whenever one can describe, between a number of statements, such a system of dispersion, whenever, between objects, types of statement, concepts, or thematic choices, one can define a regularity (an order, correlations, positions and functionings, transformations), we will say, for the sake of convenience, that we are dealing with a discursive formation” (Barrett, pg 128).

Within this wave, feminist studies have begun to be influential in the academic world starting from the 1970’s. Feminist scholars including Susan Moller Okin, Judith Butler, Chantal Mouffe and Carol Pateman etc. with their works, deeds and speeches showed the working of an incredibly complex discursive mechanism which has always been allowing men to have superiority over women and their bodies. Carol Pateman for instance in her article “The Fraternal Social Contract”, tried to show how women are left out of the public sphere in modernist social contractarian thinking. She claimed, “there is silence about the part of the story which reveals that the social contract is a fraternal pact that constitutes civil society as a patriarchal or masculine order” (Pateman, pg 33). In her view, discussions of fraternity are not able to touch upon “the constitution of the individual through the patriarchal separation of private and public, nor upon the how the division within the (masculine) individual includes an opposition between fraternity and reason” (Pateman, pg 35). Pateman was successful in showing that women’s domestic labor are ignored and portrayed as natural in modern society through which exploitation of women labor was allowed. Moreover, although modernity on the surface allowed women to have equal rights with men, the existence of inequalities in the private sphere led to the grievance of women again this time in a more implicit way.

Judith Butler[1] on the other hand, followed Foucault’s route and tried to point out that sexual difference is based on discursive, gendered practices and symbols. In her view, sex has become a regulatory ideal (in Foucault’s term) that produces the bodies it governs (Butler, pg 1). Butler thought that the discursive working of the construction of gender and the forcible reiteration (repetition) of its norms face with difficulties since bodies never always comply with these norms. These instabilities are opportunities for the rematerialization of sex according to Judith Butler. Butler's main idea, which appears repeatedly throughout her works, is that gender is a social artifice. In other words, we are not born with a particular "gender"; it is given to us in a social construction, in relation to our lives and what is perceived to be the roles we are supposed to play according to our gender. Sex is related to the biological differences coming from birth whereas gender refers to discursively constructed sexual characteristics (Butler, pg 5). Moreover, because of the densely felt effect of the discursive gender, sex becomes something like a fiction, perhaps a fantasy. If gender is a construction we may face with the question of “who constructed it”. However, we do not precede or follow the process of discursive gendering, but rather we emerge within the matrix of gender relations. The activity of gendering is not a human act or expression; it is the matrix through which all willing first becomes possible. In this sense, according to Butler the matrix of gender relations is prior to the emergence of human. For instance, a baby is started to be called as “he” or “she” according to its sex before even he/she was born (very deterministic understanding of the materialization of the sex similar to the “ideology” of Althusser). The construction of gender makes human bodies subjects of discourse. Moreover, the construction of gender operates through exclusionary means. “Indeed, the construction of gender operates through exclusionary means, such that the human is not only produced over and against the inhuman, but through a set of foreclosures, radical erasures, that are, strictly speaking, refused the possibility of cultural articulation” (Butler, pg 8). Construction is neither a subject nor its act, but a process of reiteration by which both subjects and acts some to appear at all. Feminist academicians also analyzed popular culture elements in order to show how male hegemony is reproduced and internalized by people and taken as natural and for granted.

This paper is an attempt to analyze Kadir İnanır’s life and movie characters in parallel with the post-structuralist feminist tradition and to show how male-dominant, patriarchal images are reproduced via his films and image in the Turkish case. It will be shown that Kadir İnanır’s life story and movie characters were both the consequence and the cause of the dominant patriarchal discourse in Turkey similar to all countries. These films not only reproduced the popular images and thoughts about manhood but also became very popular and influential in Turkish men’s socialization and formation of character. However, it will be also argued that İnanır’s image is a successful commercial project more than a historical production and it was created deliberately by taking popular discourse as its reference. In addition to these points, it will be claimed that the public sphere is the place where individuals or groups construct their images in the eyes of other people and in a sense produce their own “minor discourses” which affect not only their public but also their private lives. In order to reach these points, we must first look at Kadir İnanır’s life story and movies.

Kadir İnanır was born on 15 April 1949 in Fatsa, Ordu[2]. He was the last child of a grand traditional family that was dealing with agriculture. After terminating his primary and secondary education in Fatsa, İnanır went to İstanbul for studying. He finished Haydarpaşa Lyceum and entered into Marmara University Radio-Television department in the Communication faculty[3]. İnanır won a contest of acting in 1969 and started to have small roles in the Yeşilçam movies. He also showed up in photo love stories in different journals. After first walk-on roles in Yeşilçam movies his physical attractiveness and acting talent allowed him to undertake more serious roles. In his early career, İnanır assumed gentleman roles and appeared as a young, sensible and attractive modern man who speaks in perfect İstanbul accent. However, starting from the mid 1970’s, he has gradually assumed more masculine roles and has become a very famous, award-winning actor[4] as the symbol of masculinity in Turkey. He has acted in important Yeşilçam classics such as Bodrum Hakimi, Devlerin Aşkı, Ah Güzel İstanbul, Yılanların Öcü, BirYudum Sevgi, Dönüş, Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım, Tatar Ramazan and Komser Şekspir.

Kadir İnanır also had a director experience with the movie Ah Gardaşım[5] who was found surprisingly successful by the cinema critics. İnanır acted over 180 movies and around 10 tv series. He is still one of the most famous and respected actors in the country. However, more than his acting ability and unforgettable movies, İnanır has always been salient for representing masculine, macho and also courageous Turkish men who attach enormous importance to their honor. İnanır also had a reputation for being rakish both in his movies and in his real life. His hard personality and masculine image made him one of the most desired men for Turkish women who have internalized the dominant patriarchal discourse in the country. İnanır had acquaintances with famous underworld members such as Dündar Kılıç, İdris Özbir (Kürt İdris) etc. especially in the 1970’s. İnanır is also known as a leftist artist who supported mass demonstrations and syndical movements actively in the country during 1960’s and 1970’s. İnanır’s personality and deeds were formulated as an ideology and a beacon by his fans and followers in the name of “Kadirizm”.

Throughout his career, İnanır mostly played the role of tough guys, mafia members, assassins, a wrestler, a football player, a jealous and macho lover, a truck-driver or a rebellious prisoner in his films. Except his earliest and latest films, the common denominator of the characters he had assumed is that they are all different faces, versions of an honorable and charismatic hard man who is addicted to beautiful women and bravery. In all of his movies, İnanır has always been the “men’s men” as the strongest, most courageous and most attractive male character that is adored by other male characters too. However, İnanır’s characters have also always been admired by women and he generally appears as a perfect womanizer. İnanır can become a perfect lover who can do anything for his beloved woman but he is still a Casanova who cannot refuse many women’s never-ending interests towards him. İnanır’s characters generally had an oppressive and patronage-based attitude towards women who were used as sex, sacredness and honor or weakness symbols in Turkish movies. Kadirist attitude towards women was protectionist but also restrictive since his characters are generally jealous men who give enormous attention to their honor, which is surely based on the probity of women sexuality. Although his characters as males had the privilege of making debauchery, same rules were not applicable for women who must always be careful about their dressings and behaviors especially in the public.

İnanır’s this masculine, hard man image is very much appreciated by Turkish citizens and İnanır has become an idol. His earlier films as İstanbul gentleman without traditional Anatolian moustache were forgotten and he is accepted as the handsome big brother of a Turkish family who makes suffer flighty urban women. İnanır was strong, handsome, honorable and charismatic and his enemies had chance to beat him by making treachery or double-crossing. He was the modern hero of conservative Anatolian people who had been trying to get used to the complexity and difficulty of big city life. He was a successful individual who did not lose his traditional values and in a sense, he was at somewhere between traditional and modern. His approach towards women was very much traditional but the way he dresses and lives was in conformity with modern values. Although feminism questions not only traditional but also so-called modern understanding of women’ status, İnanır’s traditional image which was -in my opinion- prepared brilliantly as a commercial project and loved by ordinary Turkish people, can be a great concern of feminist criticism towards the reproduction of male hegemonic popular discourse. İnanır’s image can be said to become both a mirror and a reference book for Turkish males who have been taking him as a role model. Soon after his early films within the Kadirizm tradition, İnanır started to be taken as a role model and Kadirizm discussions emerged. İnanır continued to accept similar type of macho masculine roles and he is identified with these characters. However, in reality he can be considered as an intellectual who has always shown a great deal of interest to politics and social problems and who likes to read on sociology. Through his films and later by his own private life, İnanır continued to produce this image of traditional and ideal Turkish man who is adored by women without romanticism but rather by force and charisma. İnanır supported this image by his way of living, public appearance and declarations. Probably for commercial purposes he created a minor self-discourse that is very much consistent with the popular manhood discourse in Turkey and he has become the slave of it.

Problems started especially after the construction of this solid image, self-produced discourse. As a famous person (in Turkish we use the word “kamuya mal olmuş kimse”), people were also interested in İnanır’s private life and they were expected brave and aggressive behaviors from him also in his real life. It is not coincidence that some very famous actors and actresses had this kind of problems that is caused by their solid and adopted image in the eyes of people. This “jailing effect” of their image is so powerful that it imprisons actors, actresses to certain boundaries, to a discourse established by them. By jailing effect I try to concretize the working of an incredibly powerful mechanism which forces celebrities and also ordinary people to act in accordance with their images in the public sphere. Although this image is often constructed because of their roles in films, the jailing effect is so powerful that it imprisons actors, actresses to certain boundaries, to a discourse established by them. Some celebrities like Kadir İnanır for commercial reasons try to go on with their images by carrying it to their private lives and this was also heavily expected from them by the people. So, celebrities try to act, think, dress in accordance with their popular images and restrict their freedoms by themselves. In the case of İnanır, we can say that he worked hard for his image and produced a successful discourse that is very well recognized and loved by the people and the system. This was also caused by its consistency with the popular hegemonic discourse. We can find many examples from journals which prove that İnanır’s image owns İnanır as a person.

In the year 2000, during the production of a tv show called “Derman Bey”, on 9 September, İnanır got involved in a scandal. As usual, İnanır was the leading artist in the squad and there were young female models accompanying him. One of these models; Buket Saygı, an ex-Turkish beauty queen and a new actress, made a press declaration with his husband at that time Çelik Erişçi - a famous Turkish pop music singer - and claimed that İnanır had harassed her through cellular phone messages (sms). The event soon became a scandal and Çelik made harsh declarations for İnanır. Çelik and Buket Saygı also declared that they sued İnanır for sexual harassment and his messages were presented to judicial authorities as evidence. The media made use of this issue for several months and although a judicial process was going on and later İnanır was found guilty and obliged to pay reparation[6], İnanır was acquitted in Turkish people’s court and media through people’s and other artists’ declarations. İnanır continued to preserve his image, take job offerings and Turkish people’s Kadirizm fanaticism did not seem to be ended. This was realized by a big media and public support to him during this problematic period. Now let us focus on the “motivation” discussion again this time in detail.

In the show, İnanır and Saygı were playing two lovers and there were close romantic scenes between the two. In parallel with İnanır’s womanizer but also honest “man of honor” image, many other artists blamed Saygı for making advertisement of her. It was obvious that people did not want to believe that İnanır first harassed and later rejected by Saygı. İnanır defended himself by saying that they were making a romantic movie and in order to motivate his partner, he had sent some messages having romantic words. He said that this was normal and made deliberately in order to increase Saygı’s performance in internalizing the character[7]. Some other male members of the cast including Faruk Tınaz and Bülent Bilgiç immediately organized a press conference and claimed that Saygı was lying and she had an affair with another member of the squad, Hüseyin İlker. In their view, it was Saygı who showed particular interest to İnanır and Hüseyin İlker during the shooting of the show[8]. The day after Hüseyin İlker made a declaration and supported İnanır by saying that Saygı was trying to seduce him and flirting with Kadir İnanır. The media continued to present the issue in this way in parallel with the general understanding of male-female relations in Turkey; “Without the bitch wagging its tail, the male dog cannot approach it (Dişi köpek kuyruk sallamazsa erkek köpek yanaşmaz)”.

Another famous model and actress of the show Ayşe Hatun Önal claimed that what Saygı had claimed about İnanır was a cock and bull story[9]. Another important female artist Gülben Ergen who previously played in a tv series with İnanır also said that İnanır is a nice person and could not have done such a thing[10]. İnanır’s own nephew, actor Levent İnanır also stated that he was Buket Saygı making massage to İnanır’s arms and harassment should be something like that[11]. The general wave in the media was in favor of İnanır and against Buket Saygı. Although she claimed to be the aggrieved, she was represented as the scapegoat and a loose married woman, a mannequin who does not give enough importance to her private life and honor. Only some feminist writers such as Duygu Asena tried to defend Buket Saygı and claimed that some people especially males see themselves in giant mirror and think that they have right to do anything they want. “Kime ‘Büyük’ ya da ‘Dev’ gibi yaklaşımlar yapacağımızı öğrendiğimizde belki de bu insanlar kendilerini dev aynasında görmekten vazgeçecekler. ‘O kim ki’ diye başkalarını küçümsemeye çalışanlara aslında koro halinde sormamız gereken tek bir soru var: Sen kimsin ki?” (Hürriyetim, http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/kelebek/turk/00/12/27/kelhab/01kel.htm). Another recent scandal took place several months ago in January 2006. Kadir İnanır who was making interviews with his new tv series “Kader Yolu”, made a declaration and said that during the interview he was disturbed of new rising actress Naz Elmas’ attitudes and he does not want to include her to his show’s cast. İnanır also said that he could not work with Elmas and because of her relaxed and snobbish attitudes[12], he could get angry and beat her[13].

In an interview made few years ago, İnanır was asked about how he feels and thinks about the emergence of “Kadirizm” as an ideal social code for Turkish men especially concerning their attitudes towards women. In his view, whether he accepts it or not, Turkish people believe in the rightness of a moral code that is identified with himself in the name of Kadirizm[14]. He claims that he is the richest person in Turkey because he was really appreciated by Anatolian people and he would welcome nearly in all houses in Turkey. According to İnanır, Kadirizm can be summarized as not lying, not looking askance at other people’s integrity, being in favor of the weak directly against those who oppress others, not making any disrespect towards others without any jealousy and appreciating even a thief in the right context. (“Ben farklılığımı şöyle özetlemek istiyorum. Bunu ister Kadir İnanır'ın özü olarak, ister Kadirizm olarak kabul edin... Hiç yalan konuşmayan, kimsenin namusuna yan gözle bakmayan, ezilenin yanında, ezenin tam karşısında, en sert biçimde tepki gösteren, kimseye saygısızlık yapmadan, kıskanmadan, hırsızı bile zaman olup takdir eden bir yapım var”, http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/hur/turk/00/01/10/dizi/01diz.htm). At the end of the interview, the reporter states that although İnanır is often accepted as an aggressive macho and hard man, he is a pure Anatolian Köroğlu[15] who does everything to protect his childish good heart. “Bazıları onu hep çatık kaşlı, maço, inatçı ve sert yakıştırmalarla anar, öyle kabullenir. Oysa Kadir'in herkese göstermediği ama görmesini bilenlere hissettirdiği çok önemli özellikleri vardır. Onu çok iyi tanıyanlara göre, bütün bunlar çocuk yüreğini korumak içindir. Ve o, Anadolu'dan İstanbul'a geldiği gün kadar saf ve temiz kalmayı başarmış kentli bir Köroğlu'dur” (http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/hur/turk/00/01/10/dizi/01diz.htm).

Another important dimension of Kadirizm is to speak with “biz (we)” instead of “ben (I)”, a theme that is revealed by Can Dündar. “İyi bir Kadirist, Ben demez, Biz diye konuşurdu. Mesela Hülya Avşar ‘Türkiye'de jön yok mu’ dedi, İnanır bunu şöyle yanıtlıyordu: Hülya'yı severiz. Onu da aldık getirdik, sinemanın içine soktuk. Şimdi bizi konuşturmasın. Biz dediği kendisiydi aslında; kibarlığından öyle konuşuyordu. Ancak Kadiristler o 'Biz' de kendilerini de kucaklayan bir kitle ruhu buldular ve Kadir Abi, bizim yerimize de konuş diye haykırdılar”[16]. In Can Dündar’s view, İnanır was the hero of Turkish people because he had the chance to preserve his patriarchal image unlike Turkish urban males who had to send their wives to job and to accept women rights with the rising liberalization trend in the country. “İşte biraz da bu yüzden, Türk maçosu, kendi yapamadıklarının acısını Kadirizm’in ideoloğuna alkış tutarak hafifletmeye çalıştı. Kadir abisi onun yerine kızlara edep dersi veriyor, yeri geldiğinde tokadı basıyor, efelenip dayılanıyor, bıyık buruyor, racon kesiyordu. Üstelik yakışıklı, karizmatik, duygusal bir adamdı. Sosyal demokrattı, ama dinden imandan da anlardı”[17]. İnanır with an interview with Füsun Saka was admitting that he had beaten his lovers previously when he first came to İstanbul. (http://www.candundar.com.tr/index.php?Did=2714).

It was no coincidence that when İnanır had a drug dealer role in the movie “İstanbul 79” the audience protested the movie and in many cinema halls, people left the cinema before the end of the film. A similar type of crisis took place in recent years in two events. The first event was İnanır’s performance in the movie “Komser Şekspir”. İnanır in this movie had to wear a skirt and a long wig (peruk) for a scene. The event became a public issue and İnanır’s deed was discussed seriously among the masses and in journals. This polemic also allowed the film to have great success in the box-office receipts. İnanır’s commercial project now has been entering into a new phase where İnanır had to unexpected things from his masculine, tough guy image. I am not sure about Kadirists’ reactions about this but it is certain that İnanır profited a lot from this new image since he continued to make bizarre things from a Kadirist perspective by wearing a “Bonus wig” for an advertisement. The media talked about the astronomic money he took from this advertisement, which is definitely not in accordance with Kadirist principles.

In Can Dündar’s opinion, this transformation of İnanır’s role preference is a sign of his importance given to being an artist rather than being a Kadirist. “Haklı olarak, bundan böyle Kadirist’liğiyle değil, artistliğiyle anılmayı seçmiştir. Bu, onun hanesine yazılan artı...” (http://www.candundar.com.tr/index.php?Did=2714). However, as far as I am concerned the whole Kadir İnanır career can be considered as a successful commercial project which realizes the value of opportunities changing over time. İnanır’s presentation of a young trustworthy man coming from the rural and achieving to have success in the city is very similar to Orhan Gencebay’s image which is considered as a project by Nedim Karakayalı. While Meral Özbek talks about the role of migration and serious rural-urban cleavage in Turkey during the period of early steps of modernization in the emergence of arabesk music not as an anomaly but rather a natural consequence of problematic modernization process, for Karakayalı, Orhan Gencebay is an exceptionally successful project not a subject. “Orhan Gencebay bir özneden çok projedir – tamamlanmamış, belki de tamamlanamaz bir proje. İstisnai olan da bu projenin kendisidir” (Karakayalı, pg 137). Same thing can be said for İnanır since his rapid rise as an actor assuming traditional roles coincides with Turkey’s modernization problems but his image is very much prepared according to the changing conditions of the dominant discourse. Thus, in parallel with Karakayalı’s ideas on Gencebay, “the king of the arabesk”, we can analyze Kadir İnanır as a popular brand more than a real person. İnanır’s incredible charisma can be seen from some articles from popular daily newspapers.

The first article, which was published on 18 October 2005 in Akşam newspaper, talks about the huge success of the new website made by Kadir İnanır’s fans (http://www.kadirinanir.com/). The site had 23.000 visitors on its opening day which was a record for a Turkish website. The article focuses on the popularity of Kadir İnanır and his hard man image. The second article on the other hand, which was published on 8 June 2005 in Gözcü newspaper, consists of İnanır’s declarations about politics. İnanır boldly claims that he would have huge support if he decides to get into politics but he may not be successful in politics because of his honest personality unlike corrupt politicians. İnanır is again presented as the honest, courageous big brother of Turkish families who never chooses to get corrupted.

In the third article that was published in 14 June 2005 in Gözcü newspaper, İnanır talks about his priority of accepting films that touch upon social problems of Turkish people and asserts that he cannot understand people who make comedy films while people are hungry. İnanır also criticizes new Turkish movies for being in low-quality and trying to fool people. In the fourth article that was published on 28 April 2005 in Milliyet newspaper, İnanır’s penetrating sharp regard is praised. İnanır in this article claims that the sharpness and effectiveness of his glance comes from the purity of his heart. As these news and articles from different journals prove, İnanır is generally perceived as a modern Turkish hero and an ideal man who is strong, charismatic, successful and also capable of controlling his women. İnanır’s popularity is a clear reflection of Turkey’s popular patriarchal discourse which externalizes women from the outside world and puts in the borders of the house as the mother of children and the responsible of domestic household affaires. That is why we may argue that in the scandal of Buket Saygı, the sovereign discourse was shaken when İnanır was proved to harass a married woman. However, İnanır was protected and defended by the media and Turkish people and Saygı was blamed instead of him.

İnanır’s brilliant commercial project and self-discourse (public image) was inspired from the settled grand discourse of manhood and that is why it became very popular in the eyes of people. While self-discourses powerfully orientate people to act in certain ways, there is also the supra-individual grand discourse, which affects people’s behaviors and the emergence of self-produced discourses in the public sphere. We must take help from Michel Foucault to clarify what is meant by discourse. To start we should first mention that Foucault as a postmodern thinker does not believe in the objective truth and perceives knowledge as a mean of power. In his idea, true/false, right/wrong, good/bad categorization is determined discursively in the public sphere. Foucault tries to point out the power relations in different contexts for instance in prison, in hospital, in family, in sexuality, in politics etc in the form of binary oppositions. According to Foucault, public sphere, unlike what Habermas says, is the place where discourse is produced and legitimized. In Foucauldian thinking, public sphere is not the place of free and rational debate because discourse protects its hegemony by bracketing out certain groups, people, and behaviors outside of the system’s norms. Moreover, by participating into public sphere you recognize the legitimacy of the discourse. Some people, some attitudes are considered as dangerous for the discourse, and thus, they are labeled as abnormal. Foucault in “The History of Madness” analyzes how certain attitudes and people are considered as mentally unhealthy in different epochs. Foucault does not have an answer to the question “What is behind this discourse” and even says that thinking outside of the discourse is impossible. However, he says that we can determine discourse’s limits and observe its working. In Foucault’s idea discourse is so powerful that it discursively determines the truth and wrong. Moreover, it shapes and creates also its opposition.

In his “Panopticism” article, Foucault affected by Jeremy Bentham’s prison design (Bentham also designed this as a social mechanism) called Panopticon, tries to show how individuals are observed and controlled in modern societies. In Panopticon, prisoners are closed in dark cells and all cells are arranged in a way to see a long tower at the center of the prison. The tower’s inside is invisible but people in the tower can observe the behaviors of the prisoners. According to Foucault, this fear of being observed is strongly felt by the prisoners and after a period of time it becomes a habit for the prisoners. Thus, people act very carefully with the fear of being observed in the social life. Foucault asserts that liberal society does not need chains to force people to do something. Rather, Panopticism fulfills this duty. “So, it is not necessary to use force to constrain the convict to good behavior, the madman to calm, the worker to work, the schoolboy to application, the patient to the observation of the regulations. Bentham was surprised that panoptic institutions could be so light: there were no more bars, no more chains, no more heavy locks; all that was needed was that the separations should be clear and the openings well arranged” (Foucault, “Panopticism”, pg 202). Foucault believes that Panopticism is one of the most important aspects of modern societies and it “automatizes and disindividualizes the power” (Foucault, pg 202).

Applying Foucault’s ideas to İnanır’s case, we can say that the discursive thinking in Turkey orders the superiority of men over women and it is based on the protection of women’s sexuality. According to researches, today in Turkey even in economically and educationally well-off families, women are subjected to psychological and physical violence by their fathers, husbands and brothers. In the economic and political world, women do not have significant place in Turkey. Generally, women deputies and employees are used as the symbol of modernity in a hypocrite way. In advertisements and movies as well as in the social life, women are frequently used as sex symbols or as the representative of altruistic Turkish mothers. İnanır’s personality is the consequence of this settled discourse which was presented as natural and belonging to Turkey. Women are all over the world are still subjugated to male dominance but in newly democratizing countries like Turkey this problem is much more serious than Anglo-American or European context. Although Britain has Sean Connery as James Bond and France has Alain Delon as their popular male figures, we see that in Kadir İnanır in parallel with the liberalization about women’s sexuality and position in social structure, we may notice a much more dominant, stronger and patriarchal image. İnanır’s position between modern and traditional and unique to Turkey is very much internalized and served for the continuation of the male-based hegemonic discourse. This complex mechanism works through different idols (İnanır), symbols, traditions (başlık parası) and laws that protect male dominance over women. That is why in my opinion, the adventure of Kadir İnanır shows us the success of a commercial project that takes its roots from the dominant discourse and it reproduces it deliberately. Although it may face with difficulties, its dominance allows it to cope with these crises like in the case of Buket Saygı.

Looking from Judith Butler’s perspective we can say that İnanır project was succesful in reproducing traditional male-female dichotomy in a very powerful way. Because of this dichotomy, certain acts and characteristics are attributed solely to men (power, success, courage, honor etc.) and women are represented in a monist way (weak sexual objects). Since gender is not a natural concept for Butler, we can say that Kadir İnanır’s life and movies filled gender conceptions with binary oppositions method. In all İnanır’s movies, İnanır’s character rests on the center whereas there are many female characters at the periphery. Peripheral female characters are respected and protected as long as they show loyalty to the center. Whenever they make an act of disobedience however, periphery can be destroyed or punished severely. This center-periphery dichotomy which exists in İnanır’s films can be said to be an extension of the male-female relations and family structuring in Turkey. İnanır continued to reproduce this existing discourse through his films and he became a very popular actor but also in my opinion made a great harmful effect to Turkey’s democratization within the family. It must not be forgotten that İnanır’s films are still shown on tv channels and they still have an effect on the socialization of Turkish people and internalization of the existing patriarchal discourse.

Finally, as far as I am concerned Turkey is a fertile country for making post-structuralist feminist researches by looking at the popular culture. Kadir İnanır -although being the most popular one- is just a single example of settled patriarchal discourse and understanding. A further research can be made about the transformation of popular male images in Turkey starting from the late 1980’s in parallel with the rise of political Islam, nationalism and conservatism and the emergence of new hero models such as Yusuf Miroğlu (Deliyürek), Polat Alemdar (Kurtlar Vadisi) etc. who have kept their patriarchal characteristics but did not have a sexual side. Kadir İnanır and its official ideology Kadirizm deserves to be analyzed more carefully by using various additional sources to journal news.


- Pateman, Carol, “The Fraternal Social Contract”, The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism and Political Theory, Stanford U. Press, 1989

- Butler, Judith, “Bodies That Matter”, On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”, New York: Routledge, 1993

- Barrett, Michelle, “Politics of Truth”, Polity Press, 1991

- Skinner, Quentin, “Çağdaş Temel Kuramlar”, İstanbul: Vadi Yayınları, 1991

- Karakayalı, Nedim, “Doğarken ölen: Hafif müzik ortamında ciddi bir proje olarak Orhan Gencebay

- Özbek, Meral, “Arabesk Culture a Case of Modernization and Popular Identity

- Foucault, Michel, 1979, “Panopticism”, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, pg 195-228

- Wikipedia.org, http://www.wikipedia.org/

- SinemaTürk, http://www.sinematurk.com/

- Kim Kimdir, http://www.kimkimdir.gen.tr/

- Imdb.com, http://www.imdb.com/

- Hürriyet Online (Hürriyetim), http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/hur/turk/00/01/10/dizi/01diz.htm


Sabah Online, http://www.sabah.com.tr/2005/09/21/gny/gny114-20050921-200.html

- Haber7.com, http://www.haber7.com/haber.php?haber_id=132784

- Can Dündar.com, http://www.candundar.com.tr/index.php?Did=2714

- Sabah Kahvesi, http://www.sabahkahvesi.com/Yorum/KadirBuket.htm

- Kadir İnanır.com, http://www.kadirinanir.com/

[1] Judith Butler is an American professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Butler was born in 1956 and received her PhD in Philosophy from Yale University in 1984. Her dissertation was later published as “Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France”. She was later engaged in the post-structuralist wave within the feminist theory. She has some important books like: Gender Trouble (1990), Bodies That Matter (1993), Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (1997) and The Psychic Life of Power (1997).

[4] He has won three best actor awards (http://www.sinematurk.com/kisi.php?1600).

[7] “Sevgi dolu mesajları bütün oyunculara ısrarla gönderdim. Aşk filmi bu. Tutku dolu bir film. Hiç tecrübesi olmayan insanları motive etmeye uğraştım...” (http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/kelebek/turk/00/12/27/kelhab/01kel.htm).

[9] “Tamamen sallama! Kadir Bey herkesle samimidir” (http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/kelebek/turk/00/12/27/kelhab/01kel.htm).

[11] “Buket Saygı denen kız benim yanımda Kadir İnanır'ın koluna masaj yapıyordu. Bütün ekip gördü. Taciz budur” (http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/kelebek/turk/00/12/27/kelhab/01kel.htm).

[12] “Usta oyuncu, tüm ekibin bir arada olduğu görüşme sırasında Naz Elmas'ın konuşmasından, tavrından, hareketlerinden, toplantıya geç gelmesinden ve de senaryo üzerine sunulan fikirlere karşı çıkmasından son derece rahatsız olmuş” (http://www.haber7.com/haber.php?haber_id=132784).

[13] “Bu kızla, bu işin olması çok zor. Kendisi yetenekli olabilir. Ama bazı konularda daha çok yol katetmesi lazım. Bu tavırdaki birisini ben döverim” (http://www.haber7.com/haber.php?haber_id=132784).

[14] “Başarılı olduğumu ben değil sinema sanatına gönül verenler söylüyor. Halk söylüyor. Bunun için de büyük bir kavga verdiğimi herkes biliyor. Bir Kadirizm lafı çıktı bir ara. Bunu ben demiyorum. Ne var ki, ben bir şey demesem de, bir farklılığımın olduğu ortada..” (http://arsiv.hurriyetim.com.tr/hur/turk/00/01/10/dizi/01diz.htm).

[15] “The Epic of Köroğlu is a legend prominent in the oral traditions of the Turkic peoples. The legend first began to take shape sometime around the 11th century CE, at about the same time as another common Turkic legend, that of Dede Korkut” (Wikipedia.org).

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