Robing and Disrobing

I’d never know her name.  She keeps quiet and doesn’t gather in large groups like the men do.  Sometimes she’s in the company of a friend, maybe sipping tea, maybe just out for a stroll.  When she’s by herself she’s usually in transit, destination-bound.  She’s robed from head to toe.  The outer garment is much like a raincoat, easily slipping over everything underneath it. Some drop all the way to the ankles, others hover just above the knee, double-breasted button-up with a waist-band to cinch everything tight.  I’m partial to the high-waisted bands, the ones that help remind me there is a female body with curves under there. Her headscarf is effortlessly wrapped around her head and hair, pattern and color perfectly complementing the shade of her overcoat.  It’s hot outside and I become uncomfortable thinking about all of the layers weighing her down.  But she is fashionable.  She is a modern Turkish woman.

What I don’t know is if she is the modern Turkish woman.  I see more coat and scarf-less women in Istanbul than the rest of the country.  They are my contemporaries.  Women from my mother’s generation are probably somewhere in the middle, with the grandmothers mostly upholding the traditional practice of wearing the scarf and overcoat.  The rest is left to a guess, as I didn’t have an opportunity to speak with a Turkish woman about this moment she is living, about the influence of the prime minister’s wife in pushing the headscarf back into society.

What will become of Turkey?  She’s living on the edge of change, discontent brewing under all of these layers.  To me,  part of the answer seems so clear, but it’s a matter of the others being willing to see it.

Day 5 of 30; Postcards from Turkey


~ by maureenmoore on July 13, 2013.

2 Responses to “Robing and Disrobing”

  1. I somehow feel momentarily lifted into the realm of your writing gift as I anticipate that last paragraph using, as you do, the robed woman as a picture of/for the country. Parabolic pictures is a language which I’ve more recently grown to experience and appreciate.
    Thanks for keeping to the 30 dsys on this. I look forward to your daily posts!

    • Thanks, M! Am also enjoying how the image solicits questions and looks for a response from us all.

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