The Purple Series
You can click the links below to watch The Purple Series:
- 1. Human Rights and Women′s Human Rights
- 2. Constitutional and Civil Rights
- 3. Women′s Economic Rights Part 1 (With English subtitles)
- 4. Women′s Economic Rights Part 2 (With English subtitles)
- 5. Violence against Women Part 1
- 6. Violence against Women Part 2
- 7. Reproductive Rights
- 8. Sexual Rights (With English subtitles)
- 9. Women and Politics
- 10. Gender Sensitive Parenting and Rights of the Child
- 11. Feminism and the Women′s Movement
- 12. Women′s Grassroots Organising
Purple Series, a 12 episode documentary TV series produced by WWHR-New Ways and NTV is the first such comprehensive documentary series on women’s human rights in Turkey. After two years of preparation, the series was launched on national television in February 2006 with great success.
Currently, the dominant trend in Turkish television is discriminatory women’s programs and reality shows which brutalize and victimize women; thus reinforcing existent gender roles. These programs depict women as incapable beings with no agency and no right to self-determination. As appropriate to their genre, they portray women as victims of violence, sexual objects inferior to men. While reaffirming traditional patriarchal gender roles, they often go as far to legitimize women’s human rights violations and discrimination against women. We realized that the only way to challenge these depictions and misconceptions would be once again through the use of media, as it remains to be the most popular and powerful medium through which social attitudes and opinions are shaped. It is within this framework we decided to undertake the production of a documentary series on women’s human rights in Turkey entitled Purple Series in 2004. The lack of any informative and empowering programs on the issue served as a further driving force in the undertaking of this project. We decided to create an alternative program for women, making use of television as the most popular public medium, to develop an accessible and empowering visual resource. Unlike other women’s TV programs, which only depict discrimination and re-victimize women, we decided to feature real life stories of women who faced discrimination, but were able to overcome it, and devise strategies to stand up for their rights, to reverse the disempowering tone.
In conceptualizing the documentary series, we had the ideal resource through our Human Rights Education Program for Women (HREP) and our nationwide HREP network of trainers and participants. Women who have participated in our human rights training for over a decade throughout Turkey have thousands of real life stories of overcoming discrimination, violations, and gender inequality. Therefore, the HREP network of women, both participants and trainers, along with the wide range of training materials we have developed over the years, constituted an extensive resource and served the basis for such a documentary from the outset. The original premise of HREP is that if women have access to the necessary knowledge of their rights as foreseen in international documents and national legislation and are equipped with the skills and strategies, they will be able to realize these rights and overcome the violence, rights violations and discrimination they face. Considering the striking and alarming gap between women′s human rights as foreseen on paper in Turkey and women′s everyday lives, HREP aims to provide women at the local level with tools and strategies to realize their rights. This concept was parallel to the framework of the documentary series we wanted to create.
Through stories of HREP participants, workshop discussions and interviews with the trainers, we would be able to create a documentary in which women’s human rights issues could be conveyed in an understandable and empowering tone, through women’s own experiences. We decided to base the episodes on the modules of the training program, focusing on our legal rights in that particular domain; violations of these rights and strategies to overcome these violations. The 12 episodes of the television series are: women’s human rights, constitutional and civil rights, economic rights (2 episodes), violence against women, strategies against violence, reproductive health and rights, gender sensitive parenting and children’s rights, sexuality and sexual rights, political rights and women’s participation in politics, women’s grassroots organizing, feminism and the women’s movement. The stories of transformation and empowerment women share range from women overcoming violence in the family, to women standing up for their sexual rights; from women who start their own business or organize to set up a women’s cooperative towards economic independence; from women who run and win in local elections to become district officials, to women claiming their reproductive and bodily rights.
The documentary series is the first such comprehensive visual resource material on women’s human rights in Turkey, which we hope will set a precedent. In order to increase public interest, we used opening and closing statements on women’s human rights by different women celebrities (popular women actors, writers, musicians etc.) in each episode. We aim for the series to be a very effective visual training resource, as it depicts real life empowerment stories of women our target groups can identify with, and is a particularly accessible for women of lower literacy levels. We also intend to expand the outreach of the through broadcasts on local television channels, which are widely watched by women throughout different parts of Turkey and as a visual training material. We hope the Purple Series will also become an international outreach material towards the human rights community, as a tool for extensive awareness raising.