Reframing Modern Girls in Japan and Turkey: Desire and Self-Representation in Women Authors’ Literary Works (81066)

Session Information: Sexuality and Gender in the Arts
Session Chair: Lisa Sandlos

Saturday, 25 May 2024 11:25
Session: Session 2
Room: Room 708
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

In the 1920s, Modern girls emerged in both Turkey and Japan, capturing attention with their Westernised appearance and liberal lifestyles. These figures became popular subjects among authors and media outlets. However, portrayals of modern girls by male authors and in media predominantly relied on stereotypes, such as fashion icons, femmes fatales, materialistic party girls and so on. The discourse on the Japanese modern girl focuses on describing her characteristics and her role within society and mostly tends to overgeneralise her or undermine the figure by highlighting the ‘passivity’ that comes with being a part of the rising consumer culture in the 1920s. Most scholars use newspaper articles or advertisements as primary sources, mostly mentioning the modern girls’ descriptions in literary works only briefly. My paper challenges the limited representations of modern girls by exploring themes of desire and self-representation in women authors’ selected short stories and novels. In this study, I explore the literary works of Japanese authors Uno Chiyo (1897-1996) and Osaki Midori (1896-1971), as well as Turkish authors Suat Derviş (1905-1972) and Güzide Sabri (1886–1946), to illustrate the diverse desires of modern girls and contrast their portrayals with those found in works by male authors. My project supports the idea that examining the experiences of modern girls in Turkish and Japanese contexts offers valuable perspectives on the impact of Westernisation on non-Western societies. It presents an innovative approach to understanding the modern girl figure by drawing comparisons between these two cultures.

Aslı Kaynar, University of Queensland, Australia

About the Presenter(s)
Aslı İdil Kaynar is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, Australia. Her research is concerned with the representations of the modern girl in Japanese and Turkish women authors’ literary works. She is also an experienced book translator.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00