We’re going through a period where everything stops and slows down. We have the urge to keep moving, out of spite… To learn to breathe, to be able to hear but to stay in action. We are women who do not tolerate slowing down, who daydream, who constantly move forward, fight for their ideas and rights. Despite the stagnant pace of life, we look beyond.  To explore the unknown, to renew yourself, and to never stop dreaming… We are beyond the physical limits of progress and movement. To all the women who withstand tough times with constant productivity! No one can stop us.

Kalben, Istanbul, 34

I try to be a human every day.

Full Look: Nike, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage, Earrings: Academia, Beymen

How would you define being a woman in a patriarchal society?

I’m not a part of the patriarchal system. I’ve never fit in.  Because I am not a man, it was impossible for me to live my life the way I want to, to have equality, freedom of expression without a fight, and I am still fighting for it.  It’s like blooming in the desert with a few drops of water; over again, every day, from scratch… Yep, here we go again. Or like playing GTA. Don’t be harassed today, raped, remember that you don’t have to please a man, speak up for equal pay and equal rights, raise your voice, face your fears, don’t get hit by a car while running away from a guy that is following you, don’t get killed, don’t let your children be taken away from you, follow what happens to other women, be sensitive to the world, empathize, understand and forgive even those who harm you… It is an excellent experience, yet it is hard.  No one said it would be easy to be born a woman. My mother started teaching at the age of four, how difficult it would be, that the world was is not for me.  I thought she was pessimistic and paranoid when I was younger, but now I understand the reasons for her fear, anxiety, resentment, and personally, completely share her experiences.  I wish we can create a system for them without struggle, without discrimination, without rape. Women, men, non-binary, transgender, gay, pansexual… as whatever we are, with understanding and kindness.

What changed for you when you realized you were at peace with your own identity? Has this process been challenging? What teachings have brought you to this point?

I realized in 2017 that I did things I didn’t want to do so that others would be happy, love me, approve of me. I realized that I was making all kinds of sacrifices to give someone a chance to be a brother, father, lover, partner; to be normal, to adapt and to be a part of the traditional social structure, to feel like I belong. I saw that I prioritized other people while neglecting my dreams and desires, I acted as if my logic, intelligence, talents, and achievements were not real and someone knew better than me, I did not know how to ask, to receive, to demand, to seek my rights, to say no. I’m still learning. I’m still trying to understand the deep manipulations, interests engraved in language, behavior, approaches, teachings. I am eliminating many elements to return to my essence; from the teachings and imposition of the society in which I was born, to the household in which I grew up, from what I saw in the institutions in which I was educated, to my work and love relationships, from the stories of artists I was influenced by, to the mathematics of the universe. I can say that I am a student of life until the day I die.

 

Blazer and Pants: Jorah Closet, Bra: Nike, Sneakers Nike Blazer Mid ’77 SE, Ring: Merano Design, Belt: Belongs to EIC, Glasses: Moschino, Safilo

We’re going through hard times. Sexual inequalities, epidemics, natural disasters, social pressures… It’s a very difficult process for a person to make peace with themselves and their environment.  How do you make your way through this?

I’m constantly producing.  I take the time to explore the basis of my feelings when I am afraid, when I’m melancholic and desperate because of the news.  I pray in my own way, meditate, take walks, spend time with my friends. I stay away from social media outlets where cyberbullies cluster and organizations that spread fake news. I write down my hate and anger daily, analyze the reasons behind them, and take lessons from them to avoid being in the same situation.  I relate to nature to nurture my soul, which produces inspiration, benefit and love. I read books, listen to music, watch movies. I try to be a human every day.

Can we say that there is equal opportunity for everyone in the music industry?

I observe in my own journey that equality is a form of liberation that is achieved, not found. The most we can do is to create our own space and be equal with ourselves within that space.  We can’t be equal to each other. Because fundamentally there is no such reality.

I’m just building the connection between freedom and dreaming. Dreaming, hoping, believing in possibilities, protecting the child inside, and not being trapped in the boxed adulthood of the system…

Blazer and Pants: Jorah Closet, Bra: Nike, Sneakers Nike Blazer Mid ’77 SE, Ring: Merano Design, Belt: Belongs to EIC, Glasses: Moschino, SafiloBlazer and Pants: Jorah Closet, Bra: Nike, Sneakers Nike Blazer Mid ’77 SE, Ring: Merano Design, Belt: Belongs to EIC, Glasses: Moschino, Safilo

Is respect given or earned?

Some people are given respect, even though they never deserve it; others devote their lives to earn respect and pass away without being respected despite all the talents, wit, education, intellect.  I try to keep my respect individual and not overestimate my expectations.

What does mindfulness mean to you?

To learn how to breathe, to hear the inside and outside voices, to choose to understand people’s situations, stories and moods, to learn to be humble and carefree, to pursuit spiritual experiences that are more valuable than objects and possessions, to follow the light in life,  to stay in the harmony of everything that coexists and to let go of controlling, future anxieties, past regrets, anger and hatred to surrender to the beauty of the universe…

What has being able react out loud and avoiding self-suppression added to your life?

My teeth and skin glow.  I replaced my lost hair with baby hair. I detoxed. My reflux got better.  My voice got better.  I sit up straight.  I had the chance to learn to value myself and my surroundings, to make affectionate acts of love, to accept, and to calm down. My relationship with my family got better. I’ve moved away from human contact that doesn’t mean anything. I have committed to write off all kinds of violence, boxes, bullying out of my life as if it’s homework, and like a hard-working student, I see every day as a new adventure. I feel consistent and whole. I was feeling like my organs are spilling out, that I will be naked in front of everybody, that I will do the same thing every day. But now I am so happy to know that I am not alone, that I am part of a huge family, and that I will be loved without being a suck-up, being friendly, well behaved, cute, and naive.  I think the boneless nature of my free tongue has added value to my life because it has brought me together with wonderful people and real stories. The more I was real, the more I spoke, the more I was not afraid, the more we opened up.  What a bliss.

Do you believe in freedom?

I believe in looking for ways to be free, to produce and to build freedom both individually and socially. For me, we need to take seriously how much space, tolerance, peace, inspiration and happiness we create for each other when defining freedom. We are free in that state of seriousness and care.

 

Blazer and Pants: Jorah Closet, Bra: Nike, Sneakers Nike Blazer Mid ’77 SE, Ring: Merano Design, Belt: Belongs to EIC, Glasses: Moschino, Safilo

What does dreaming mean to you?

I’m just building the connection between freedom and dreaming. Dreaming, hoping, believing in possibilities, protecting the child inside, and not being trapped in the boxed adulthood of the system…

What makes you happier these days?

What makes me happier these days is to sit in my house peacefully and look up at the sky.

 

Body: Şebnem Günay, Sweatshirt: GCDS, Beymen, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Infinite, Earrings: Merano Design, Tiarra: Belongs to EIC, Socks: Nike, Stockings: Penti

The first piece of advice you give to someone who’s unhappy about anything?

Before I give any advice, I want to listen, are they really unhappy, or are they unhappily hiding a dream, a desire, a fear?

The song that makes you feel the most powerful and happy on stage lately?

I love Seni Özlerim.

Anything is possible, what would you wish for?

The end of all discrimination, hatred and war created by structures such as gender, skin color, language, belief system, and class.

 

From Left to Right ; Hat: Freedom of Space, The Space, Top: Nike, Ceket ve Pants: COS, Büstiyer: H&M, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Infinite, Earrings: Merano Design, Tiarra; Belongs to EIC

Hazal Kaya, 30, Istanbul

I grew up with a working mom, but now I know how much she missed me, how much she was worried about me? I want my son to have an example of a working, producing woman in front of him.

  Blazer and Pants: Stella McCartney, Beymen, Bra: Nike, T-Shirt: Nike, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77, Socks: Nike, Necklace: Mers, Chain Necklace: Editöre Ait

How would you define being a woman in a patriarchal society?

An endless struggle in every sense.

How is the mother version of Hazal?

A super organized, cold-blooded and patient Hazal.

Which emotions are new to you that you’re trying to accept?

Actually, I don’t have a new emotion that I’m trying to accept, but I’m trying to digest the state of surrender to the flow of life that’s new to me.

What kind of future do you wish for Fikret Ali?

I wish him a life where he feels free and happy.

Blazer and Pants: Stella McCartney, Beymen, Bra: Nike, T-Shirt: Nike, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77, Socks: Nike, Necklace: Mers, Chain Necklace: Belongs to EIC, Brooch: Belongs to EIC

It’s a big responsibility to raise an individual, to be a parent. At what point did that make you more sensitive to life?

All the things I was sensitive about deepened with the birth of my son.

How did the concept of “working mom” change for you after you became a mother?

I grew up with a working mom, but now I know how much she missed me, how much she was worried about me? I want my son to have an example of a working, producing woman in front of him. On the other hand, it is an incredible motivation to have such great love in my life while working, dreaming.

What makes you happier these days?

Playing with my son.

 

Jacket, Pants, Corset: Ceren Ocak, Bra: Nike, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77, Socks: Nike, Necklace: H&M, Earrings: Merano Design, Star Earrings: Mers

What are your opinions about the environment and the preservation of nature?

Sustainability is a very important issue; I try to learn and apply it as much as I can. We have amazing young, activist people, both in the world and in our country, and I am very impressed with them and their work.

All mothers become sensitive about health. Has there been a change for you in that sense? Have you changed your view on nutrition and exercise?

I’ve been involved with nutrition and exercise for many years. That’s why I haven’t been using medication for years, I think it’s about what we eat. I actually became sensitive when I had problems with my own health, it has nothing to do with motherhood.

How did being at peace with your body, spending time on it, and getting to know it bring you spiritual changes?

Of course,  you become self-confident. I’m talking about being in charge your own body, knowing what you need, not following beauty standards. Spending 1 hour, 5 minutes a day for yourself increases the self-worth, which I think is the most important.Left to Right: Blazer: H&M, Elbise: Les Benjamins, Brooch: H&M, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77, Jacket, Pants, Corset: Ceren Ocak, Bra: Nike, Socks: Nike, Necklaces: H&M,Earrings: Merano Design, Star Earrings: Mers

Do you feel like you’re living for two?

Living for two never sounded right, it’s like a weird state of addiction, it’s dangerous. Now there is someone else I think about as much as myself, that’s it.

If you had a chance to change one thing in our time, what would it be?

At the very beginning of the pandemic, in the early days of quarantine, I thought that humanity would have some kind of confrontation, that the brutality of the system would change. But I was wrong. I really wish it had changed.

What does dreaming mean to you?

It is a great motivation!

Is respect given or earned?

Is earned.

I’m at a point where I’m happy to be, personally, internally, I’ve worked hard for it

  Blazer: H&M, Dress: Les Benjamins, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage, Brooch and Earrings: H&M

The first piece of advice you give to someone who’s unhappy about anything?

It’s okay to experience unhappiness thoroughly but when it’s over, search for the reasons to be happy.

What makes you feel most powerful and happy right now?

I’m at a point where I’m happy to be, personally, internally, I’ve worked hard for it. That’s exactly why I feel strong and happy.

Tuluğ Özlü, İstanbul, 31

It’s great to raise your voice and be a voice for someone who is silenced!

Blazer: Attico, Beymen, Jacket with Fringes: Ceren Ocak, Bra: Nike, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage, Socks: Nike

How would you define being a woman in a patriarchal society?

 I can define being a woman in a patriarchal society as trying to stand up under unequal gaze, starting the fight with a disadvantage but also gaining strength from weaknesses.

Have you always been the one to say their opinions out loud without fear?

I’ve always hidden my opinions quietly, and at some point in my life, I’ve expressed them fearlessly.

How do you feel about the impact of the community that forms around you as you start sharing about topics that are considered taboo?

I feel powerful. If what I’m saying makes any difference, I’m extremely proud. And every topic I raise my voice to, makes me grow, makes me active until the next one.

The first thing that comes to mind about the stereotypical prejudices that our society creates in parallel with its sexist perspective?

The division of labor in the home and social life, the roles assigned to the gender by society and its reflection on language.  Every sentence that starts with “a proper lady” and “a real man.”   A father figure that only mows the lawn and makes barbecue.

“Married women don’t work. “

Putting sanitary pads in a black bag.

“Trying to do a man’s job…”

“Men don’t cry, women don’t laugh in public…”

“Big hair small mind.”

“A real man flaunts what he’s got.”

 

From Left to Right; Overalls: Nanushka, Beymen, Sneakers: Nike Blazer Mid ’77 SE, Coat: Nike

Is respect given or earned?

Respect is earned as it is given. The more respect you give, the more respect you get. How you define respect and how you live is very important.

How does this platform you’ve created affect women and young girls?

Expressing what we have experienced and what we cannot speak up about makes all these sentences we shout reach women, young girls, men trying to reach women, bisexuals, non-binary people and make them find something of themselves. In fact, we touch somewhere in everyone’s heart, in their life experiences.

Do you believe in freedom?

I think we are very free in the system and structure we are in, but we are very limited. The harder it is to defend freedom in oppression and censorship, the more pleasure it gives. I’ll be free whether you want it or not, and I won’t be silenced.

I’ll be free whether you want it or not, and I won’t be silenced.

Bra: Nike, Corset: Belongs to EIC, Pants: Ganni, Beymen, Sneakers: Nike Blazer: Mid ’77 Vintage, Socks: Nike, Oversleave: Nike, Earrings: Belongs to the Editor

What makes you happier these days?

I woke up one day and decided to record this program. Months passed. It was just me for months.  The only place I could shout and make myself heard was my podcast. It’s great to raise your voice and be a voice for someone who is silenced!

The first piece of advice you give to someone who’s unhappy about anything?

I can give you thousands of advices that will make you unhappier, but something that will make us happy is somewhere inside of us, that advice is definitely not mine.

What makes you feel most powerful and happy right now?

Right after my weakest, most mundane, and rock bottom moments, I find myself strong, upright, and running. My weaknesses and anxieties are emotions that nurture me and take me one step further. It is not possible to explain the concept of happiness in a concrete way but let me try; The ultimate happiness for me, is living my free and self-managed life in the way I want to.

Your advice for those who can’t share their opinions as freely as you?

The thousands of silent screams will surely find their place by drawing, painting, singing. The advice is somewhere inside of us.

What does dreaming mean to you?

Dreaming is like a mission I will never give up, like getting up in the morning and going to work, like a job I get paid.  Hoping to break away from the world while infinitely laying our eyes on the horizon.

Creative Direction & Interview Duygu Bengi
Photography Zeynep Özkanca
Videography Melike Mühe Şahin
Fashion Ceren Çetinoğlu
Hair Talat Kıvrak
MUA Burcu Taş
Photography Asst. Ahmet Derindere
Styling Asst. Seda Ergin
Hair Asst. Barış Aytemiz