As we enter a decade of a more open-minded society, we have witnessed the acceptance and equality of many sexualities and races. This modern environment is closely related to Martin Stokes’ journal chapter titled “The Tearful Public Sphere: Turkey’s Sun of Art,” where he writes about the theme of gender roles in the country of Turkey.

Primarily, Stokes explicitly explains the history on how the Ottoman Empire tried to reach modernity. He explained that the empire had been identified as the “Sick Man of Europe” and had given it a bad reputation to the kingdom because they were reaching points of diversity within their location. Thus, the young individuals in Turkey tried to reform this. One of the many Turks was Zeki Müren who was a homosexual singer. The fact that Müren was homosexual had clearly caused multiple hardships in his life such as being criticized. His lack of masculinity allowed many to bash on his liking for men. Stoke explained that there was a culture norm in Turkey that if an individual did not fit in what society wanted, he or she would be unaccepted. This also made it difficult fro Müren to be able to perform as a singer because he needed a permit like the majority of women who performed publicly. This not only had Müren be identified as a female but also highlighted the idea that women had the least participation in being engaged in musical performance due to the fact that they needed to gain permission with a permit.

This theme of women have little to none musical impact in a society reminds me of the role of women in the book, Sardinia Chronicles by Bernard Lortat-Jacob. Jacob writes in his book on how women had the role of being a homemaker. In other words, women had the traditional life of staying at home to provide for the husband when he arrived and having little to none involvement with men responsibilities. One of the major “responsibilities” that men had in the book was to play music and make a living out of playing music. Therefore, the fact that men were more probable to play music allowed this to be a gender custom. Jacob explains that the majority of people who made music in Sardinia. Specifically, one explain of this is how the men would usually gather together and play music while the women would not interfere with the men gathered together.

So the theme that Stokes presents us about gender roles has been a large impact throughout music history. The gender roles that have been established in society have not only been identified with employment opportunities but also hobbies such as music.


Sources: “Zeki Müren.” Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music The Republic of Love (2010): 35-72. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.