Between oversexualization and motherhood: divorced mothers' narratives on womanhood, motherhood, and sexuality
Uygun, Çiçek Aycan (2016) Between oversexualization and motherhood: divorced mothers' narratives on womanhood, motherhood, and sexuality. [Thesis]
The term oversexualization, as I call it, refers to the stigmatization of divorced women as ‘seductresses’ who are ‘in need of sex’ and thus as ‘dangerous’ to other couples. This thesis explores how divorced mothers experience and define womanhood, motherhood, empowerment, and happiness within a context of oversexualization. Semi-structured indepth interviews with thirteen middle class divorced mothers were conducted in Muğla and Istanbul through the snowball sampling method. The thesis reveals that for middle class divorced women in Turkey (1) oversexualization leads to a negotiation between the stigma and one’s self image, (2) the culturally and linguistically specific notion of güç renders the performance of gender and empowerment ambivalent, and (3) motherhood provides one of the most intimate sources of moral support despite that fact that it simultaneously exacerbates women’s gendered tasks. While the constructions of womanhood, motherhood, and sexuality are all similarly instrumentalized by dominant public discourses to reproduce the oppression of women and the marginalization of divorce, within the prevalent feminist literature, motherhood remains less reclaimed in comparison to womanhood and sexuality. Moreover, oversexualization is almost entirely overlooked. This thesis thus emphasizes the political significance of the nuances between conflicting and/or similar narratives of struggle, intimacy, emancipation, and oppression, while questioning how the existing feminist and academic literatures correspond or fail to correspond to these nuances.
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