In patriarchal traditional family sex-segregated relationship is portrayed as a norm. Father-son and mother-daughter relationship is seen more prevalent pattern of family relationship. The mother-daughter relationship is arguably the closest and most important parent-child relationship, particularly with regarding to interactions between generations, communication and interpersonal empowerment throughout their lifetimes. The kin-keeping task of women, the centrality of the maternal role in women’s identity, and the common sense of femininity probably makes the mother-daughter relationship more stable and immune or comprehensible to changing life conditions and events than most other close relationships (fingerman 2001; Nydegger 1991; Rossi and Rossi 1990). Supporting this idea, 16 out of 20 interviewees had a very close, friend-alike relationship with their mothers. Psychological studies indicates that high affectionate mother’s care and attention toward girls, it positively affects to the girls, their psychological health , and building self-confidence. Furthermore, Fisek’s (1991) study shows that parent specific relation has different meaning. Father-child, a child who is closer to her dad is more likely sharing decisions and self, while mother-child, who is more closer to her mother, shares more emotional feelings (Diane Sunar, Guler Okman Fisek, 2005).
Remaining 4 interviewees do not have a closer relationship with their mothers because they consider their moms generally to generational gap, different visionary, different education level, and lack of similar vision toward life and being too judgemental. However, interviewees almost all answered similar about their mother’s impact on their personal growth. 20 out of 20, all students stated that their mothers are extremely supportive in terms of achieving higher education and having successful career in the future. And one of the interesting trait was that mothers tend to focus on their girls private life, and they more likely encourage them to get married after they finish their higher education. On the contrary fathers more likely focus on their daughters academic fulfillment, according to Zeynep who is 19, her father considers that it is mother’s job to teach daughters how to live or behave, thus fathers do not involve their private sphere. Thus, there is a clear-cut responsibilities defined by gender. The number of interviewers share a similar response about their parents. Hilal, 25, ‘both my parents are supportive most of the times, but sometimes, they are not. Too much closeness, too much sharing informations give them an anxiety. How much they know, that much they feel responsible, so it is hard for me to get approval or to figure out the acceptable way. That is why, I personally prefer to keep my mother informed what I am up for these days, without sharing too much information of personal life’. She further said that getting an approval from her father is more difficult than her mother.
As I prior mentioned, daughters are expected to carry on the responsibility to take care of household and their parents. According to my interview, majority of them (18 out of 20) will take care of their parents when they grow old. For instance, one of my interviewer Feyzan, who is 20 responded:
“My mother took care of their parents for almost 25 years, and when I grew up seeing that, I had a opposite vision of this because it is hard. Even though, I was hurt by my parents because of our misunderstanding, I think I will take care of them sooner or later. Because that is what we do. That is life”.
The daughters are puzzled between their parents and their career or personal interest, which produced conflicts between their ideals and reality, and many experienced internal and interpersonal conflicts. Similarly, all interviewees gave importance to both children, daughter and son must take care of parents. The common expression was that they believe this is not child duty but it is more likely pay-back situation because they feel extremely gratitude that they dedicated and sacrificed themselves for their well-beings. Only 3 interviewees expressed that they do not think it is girls duty to inherit household duty. They claim that their fathers are the caretakers of the family, not their aunts. According to them, their family especially grandparents expect more from sons because daughters often get marry and leave their birth home. Furthermore, one of the reason is that Turkish parents assume it is shameful to go and live with their daughters. Assuming the meaning is that daughter’s home is another man’s (son-in-law) acquisition. Even though, the family’s autocratic control over individuals has steadily declined in Turkey last twenty years, the nurturing, protective and supportive, highly detached roles and control of parents and elders remained to be a strong influence (Fisek, 2002). Unlike religious or Middle Easterners, girls have a same mentality toward the decision is being made without their consent. To illustrate, girls expressed that they would react differently depending on the decision and also on the situation, if it is directly involved in their private lives, they would oppose and there is none of them expressed their obedience. In short, girls have a great urge to be their own decision maker of life, and not allowing others to make decision behalf of them or control them.
The issue of what composes an appropriate role behaviour is currently legitimate, and future trends maybe decided by tomorrow’s young women (Judy Rollins, 1982).
Mother and daughter relationship is very a remarkable affiliation in the male dominant patriarchal family. The general understanding of patriarchy is seen as the male dominance over other family members such as wife and children. The term patriarchy invites lots of criticism from feminist groups and female right activists. As Walby (1990) defined as ‘the system of social structure and culture where men dominate, more likely they repress and exploit women. Patriarchy is not just only understood in domestic sphere, in fact, it is more societal top down structure. Thus, women, specifically mothers are often face challenge to fit in this ongoing, historically and psychologically rooted structural space. Women’s role has always been in the domestic level.the reason behind that was family’s integrity and the existence primarily dependent on women’s reproductive ability. Also, the sex-segregated labor division creates the gender-specific responsibilities, thus it further creates the male dominance in every field political to domestic level. After the establishment of Republic of Turkey, one of the greatest achievements was that women gained the right to participate in the suffrage, later women allowed to attain higher education and have a career. It was the turning point for emancipation of women who have always been repressed by the men, turned out to be equal in societal level. Nevertheless,women’s traditional role become challenge in the neoliberal context a result of rapidly transforming society through intraregional migration and urbanization as a result of which women’s traditional roles are open to challenges in the urban context. Turkey has been undergone number of transformations since 1950, there were big movement from rural to urban, therefore society is turned to the combination of secular and traditional.
Many educated women pursue careers and achieve economic independence, delaying the importance of marriage and the role of the family. Even though, the traditional norm have not been decreased, there are big shift regarding to women’s empowerment and their demand for equal right and equal opportunity. Within symbolic interaction framework, parents are recognized as significant others in regards of transmitting social norms to the young children (Cooly 1902/1976). In this vein, interviewees were asked a question about the family honor, chastity and preserving virginity. Almost 60 percent of them expressed that ‘family honor’ is important only for their family, but not themselves. In case of breaking family honor, it is considered shame of the family because of the social pressure. One of my interviewee Naz (19) emphasized that ‘honor is outdated and meaningless in 21 century. It is maybe historically or traditionally used to be important to marry your daughter off as pure, virgin. I would say it is men’s expectations these days. I don’t see the importance now. It is only my decision.’.
Even though girls express their sentiment toward their mothers, and they have warm and close relationship, interviewees told that there are certain things they hesitant to discuss. For instance, relationship, virginity, family honor etc. There are clear barrier that mother-daughter relationship do not want to cross. According to one of my interviewee Ozge, who is 24 years old, she does not want to open up her true feelings and intentions. They have a generational gap, also she afraid of being judged. One of the reasons that hold things back from their mothers is the family atmosphere. As I prior mentioned parents feel burdened when they get know detailed information of their children, it further creates the tension or trying to control. Thus, according to her it is better to have a close relationship with certain boundaries. Therefore, the honor crime is considered ‘taboo’ topic in domestic area in central and west Anatolia.
The honor crime is more prevalent in the Southeastern Region , where economically poor, rural and influenced by the conservative Islam. During the attempt of accessing to the European Union, Turkey made several constitutional change, such as Civil and Penal Code. Within the Penal code change, the person who convicted who is found guilty of honor crime, criminal will receive a life-time imprisonment. Unfortunately, the honor crime still exists and practiced in the shadow.
The last question of the interview asked about their personal opinion about patriarchy and traditional family. 95 percent of interviewees shared their view that patriarchy needs to be changed, and it should be more moderate and family’s power relation must be equal. I would like to emphasize interviewee Feyzan’s answer:
‘ I think it is (patriarchy) unchangeable in Turkey at least in ten years from now, it will definitely take time because of the current government. My family for example is not patriarchal, in fact, it quite opposite, its matriarchal. My mother is a very strong and educated woman. She controls our households. My father works and gives her all money, so that she has responsible to take care of all financial matters. She even influences my father’s decision. What i want to say is, instead of trying to break the outdated patriarchy, we, women should focus on ourselves. Let’s get well education, let’s encourage and empower each other. That we can do!’.
Even though this study was not big-scaled survey, it was randomly picked 20 students from the Middle East Technical University. However, it was worth to analyze that young students are confident enough that they oppose the traditional practice that hundreds of hundreds of years existed. To wrap up the mother and daughter relation, first of all, it was clear that the generational gap gives them to different lifetime opportunities. The mothers grew up more restricted environment, external and internal control (family and society), however, the daughters have more freedom, they are gaining education one of the best university of Turkey. Many previous studies show that higher educated young females earn more money than average women (turkstat, 2017).
In the end, as I prior mentioned that parents shape their children’s behaviour and their family. In order to change patriarchy gradually, parents should start treat their children equally, teach their girls how to become powerful and professional women, and teach their boys how to treat women correctly. The society is consist of the people, if each person tries to change the existing norm and structure, society can be changed. But the question is, men are ready for change?