Deleuzian Feminism: Becoming Woman in New Turkey Cinema

Deleuzian Feminism: Becoming Woman in New Turkey Cinema

İkbal Bozkurt Avcı (Fırat University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1774-1.ch015
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Minority refers to a distinct deviation from something of which standards and norms are clear. In this direction, “becoming-woman,” which is revealed by Deleuze as the first becoming type is quite impressive for feminist theory. Women can enter into becoming-woman by disturbing the dichotomic order with their line of flight instead of acting according to the identities imposed on them. This study is based upon the concept of becoming-woman in the context of Deleuzian feminism tries to approach the issue of “becoming-woman” in the new Turkey cinema based on the film Zephyr (2011) by Belma Baş. The film is evaluated according to the three basic elements of minor cinema.
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Western philosophy has entered a new intellectual period that began with Descartes' conceptualization of ‘cogito’ and continued for a long time. In this period which is called Modernism, Descartes' successors followed in his footsteps and almost all contemporary philosophers placed different forms of ‘cogito’ on the basis of their thoughts although they have different names such as one, monad, blank slate, transcendental subject, self, absolute spirit and ego. Modern philosophy points out a way of thinking that values the human mind above everything else and put the subject in the centre. The significative and preferential position of the subject against object was subjected to Nietzsche's criticism and after this criticism; great narrative of modernism began to fall into a decline. The great narrative or major structure generates dichotomic contradictions by making a distinction between private and public spheres. In these contradictions, the power of the strong is blessed and the powerless or the different is excluded and marginalized. As a matter of fact, the small/minor which comes to the forefront with the collapse of the great narrative allows for plurality and allows the possibility of negotiation between different thoughts.

Deleuze and Guattari explain the concept of minor through literature with their text on Kafka. These two intellectuals explained the minor or minority based upon the concept of “becoming”. In the study titled ‘Capitelisme et Schizophrénie: Mille Plateaux’, they discussed the concept of becoming from a wide perspective. According to Deleuze and Guattari, the first of all the becoming is “becoming-woman”. All becoming such as becoming-animal, becoming-child or becoming black depends on becoming-woman. Deleuze and Guattari argue that the fact that becoming-woman is the starting point of all beings is based on two reasons. The first of these reasons is the fact that women are always of secondary importance in the face of men who are positioned as determinant or major in Western society. The other reason is that desire has been considered as a gap that the subject fills through obtaining from an object and treated as a deficiency since Plato. However, Deleuze and Guattari argue that desire is not a thing which is derived or obtained from the object but it is a production or desire-production. Deleuze and Guattari's concept of “becoming-woman” which opposes the established perception of women has been adopted by many feminists and developed through criticism. This study which is based upon the concept of becoming-woman in the context of Deleuzian feminism tries to approach the issue of “becoming-woman” in the new Turkey cinema based on the film “Zephyr” (2011) by Belma Baş. The film is evaluated according to the three basic elements of minor cinema which Deleuze has listed as “deterritorialisation of the existing identities, eliminating its private-public line, and duplicating the identities.”

Key Terms in this Chapter

Becoming-Animal: A process of identity whereby the individual is returned, or returns to, the state of animal in order to achieve further self-awareness. that one is reduced to living like an animal in order to survive.

Becoming-Imperceptible: The absolute elimination of identity as a goal of self-awareness and resistance to processes and hierarchies of domination.

Becoming-Woman: The reflexive experience of femininity as a signifier of difference, in relation to man as the molar identity against which identity itself is measured. Since it is an experience of identity, rather than an essence, it can be felt by anyone—male or female—as an awakening to social structures based on difference.

Becoming: The ongoing process whereby the world is always coming into being, which we see in relation and proportionality. In terms of identity, becoming explains how identity is formed through experience and the reflexive understanding of opposition, alterity and difference.

Becoming-Minoritarian: The principle of becoming experienced through collective resistance to a dominating majority, pursued by employing the language and culture of the majority. Minor cinemas, for example, explore emergent identities (e.g., cultures affected by post-colonial nationalism) or identities problematised by society (e.g., queer cinema) through the use and subversion of mainstream cinematic storytelling.

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