The making of the 'new woman': narratives in the popular illustrated press from the Ottoman Empire to the new Republic (1890-1920s)

Hiz G.

EARLY POPULAR VISUAL CULTURE, vol.17, no.2, pp.156-177, 2019 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/17460654.2019.1669062
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.156-177
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The genre of social narrative was prominent in the printed press of the Ottoman Empire to the early Republic of Turkey (1850s-1920s). The ideological narratives disseminated through the periodical press were influential in the establishment of a new, changing society and social space. Starting in the second half of the nineteenth century, both male and female writers debated the position of women within the changing public setting. Various articles by various authors with various aims constructed multiple imaginations of the 'new woman' by the 1930s. The shifting concepts of womanhood entered the public debate with articles on the modern woman versus the women of the past and discussions on what makes a modern woman. Articles in newspapers and political magazines of the era debated the equality of the new woman in the public sphere. In contrast to them, popular almanacs brought the discussion of womanhood into the domestic space. Turkish-language almanacs contained effectual narratives of the culture of domesticity that helped to imagine and establish multiple modes of new womanhood interwoven with the notion of the home. This article attempts to trace the ideas of the "new woman" and the culture of domesticity that were used particularly in the illustrations found in three different Turkish-language almanacs specifically aimed at female readers in the 1920s, by discussing them as visual narratives.