Re-crafting the culture: Crafting the gender statements through circumcision and belly dancer dresses
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KünyeAyyıldız Hocaoğlu, D., Akbulut, D., & Himam Er, D. (2013). Re-crafting the culture: Crafting the gender statements through circumcision and belly dancer dresses. In 10th European Academy of Design Conference (pp. 1-19.). İsveç: Göteborgs Universitet.
Craft often carries an ideology suggesting a particular look. Craft is not simply about making, but about making political statement since the Industrial Revolution. It is often perceived inferior to art with its sensual, skill based, pastoral qualities used to introduce amateur forms. Although craft is taken to mean an object having a high degree of handmade input, it does not necessarily require being produced or designed using traditional materials, produced as a one-off or as part of a small batch. The culture’s unification with market and consumption in Turkey brought certain changes and resulted in a struggle between signs in the domain of craft and production. Much of the craft work has followed social, cultural and ideological stereotypes exploring the relationship between gender and national identity. The craft tradition which has a rooted past in Turkey is abundantly fed from these cultural meanings. The paper aims to investigate the projections of social changes on Turkish craft tradition through circumcision and belly dancer costumes for children. Circumcision is a rite of passage in which the boy is dressed in embroidered caftans with a crown-like cap and a baton. The boy becomes an Ottoman prince (shahzadah) with belt of “maşallah” worn to avert the evil eye. On the other hand, the belly dancer costumes turn into a souvenir item produced for children and sold in touristic sites. Since commoditization changes the meaning of cultural products, craftwork and local culture is often destroyed by the treatment of it as a touristic attraction. In the case of belly dancer costumes, the handcrafted item transforms into an item of orientalist gender manifestation decorated to look authentic for children. Within the framework of the study, the gender codes and orientalist statements will be elaborated with the transformation and production of the craftwork on these costumes with the observations and interviews conducted with the producers and retailers.