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My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

Switzerland
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My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

This will seem very obvious but I have never seen it as a tip anywhere...

I am currently visiting Istanbul, and have found that wearing a scarf over my hair brings the number of people hassling me down to almost zero. Invest a few lira in a scarf and enjoy the peace!

San Francisco...
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1. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

I do that when I am in a mosque,never thought about wearing one to walk outside. good tip and thanks!

Istanbul, Turkey
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2. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

I have a feeling your recommendation could be the start of rather a contentious thread.Whilst covering your head may have seemingly produced a positive effect for you it does rather enforce the stereotype belief held by a section of Turkish society that any woman with her head open is of 'looser morals'and is 'fair game' or 'not so worthy of respect' as her covered sisters.There are so many female visitors,both solo and in couples/groups who have had hassle free,problem free holidays in Istanbul.It seems a pity to use negative subterfuge to achieve a few days positive outcome

I also find it highly ironic that you choose to imitate a Muslim woman coming ,as you do, from Switzerland-the country that showed it's feelings on Islam when it recently voted against the building of minarets on mosques.

Istanbul
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3. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

I totally agree with Sarikanarya. Obviously the poster Kiriel has not seen the numerous Turkish women who do not wear headscarves. Head scarf is mostly a religious issue and those who are not very conservative followers of Islam, which apparently the poster is not, should not adopt such symbols of Islamic conservatism (unless you are in a mosque). Turkey is not Iran and is a secular society, and symbols of religious conservatism, especially if it is not your religion, should not be adopted for perceptional personal convenience.

enigma...

Gocek, Turkey
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4. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

It's an interesting conundrum.

A Spanish forumite told me that she thought that she had no hassle in Istanbul whatsoever because she had covered her head a lot of the time with a long pashmina-type scarf as it was drizzling with rain - she certainly wouldn't have covered her head otherwise.

I don't believe that wearing a scarf is something that should be recommended, Turkey is a secular country, whatever the current government would like to change, millions of Turkish women don't wear scarves, so why should foreign visitors? It's a mild form of concession to a philosophy of life that is in many ways quite abhorrent.

Ruhr Area, Germany
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5. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

I totally agree with the former posters.

If you are wearing a scarf during all the stay at Istanbul or Turkey you will support this ambivalent discussed custom.

You are no muslim, so it can not be a sign of religious respect. IMO you would support the very contentious custom or duty of woman who have to wear a scarf by any reasons.

Of course it might be comfortable for you but I think it will be a wrong sign for all those very traditional and reactionary people.

And Sari, I don´t believe (and hope) that all people from Switzerland are supporting the mindset towards muslim religion and buildings:-))

Tschüss

patara01

Edited: 01 January 2010, 10:50
Mount Dora, Florida
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6. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

I am sure that there are some Swiss citizens who did not agree with the absolutely appalling ban of minerets, but clearly there was a majority. I am not eating any more Swiss chocolate and have moved all my savings accounts to other nations lol.

I personally do not think that draping a scarf over one's head will cause Turkish people to believe one is Turkish or Moslem. In the meantime it sends a plethora of messages which I would never elect to communicate by the language of my attire.

I have great reverence for the Moslem faith, just as I do for all major religions of the world. I appreciate the dedication, commitment and good works of these people. I respect those people who elect to practice their faith by covering their heads. I do not, however, delude myself into believing that Turkey would be the same place had Ataturk never created a secular government. I very much appreciate that I can visit Turkey without covering my head. I also appreciate that I can walk outside without a male escort, and I like to think that if I wanted to do so I could drive a car. I very much appreciate that Turkey is not Iran or Saudia Arabia. For most intents and purposes Turkey provides equality for women.

While I am firm about always covering my head in a mosque I visit (even if I have to borrow Enigma's scarf to do so) I am equally firm about keeping my head uncovered at all other times.I do that as a statement that I believe women should be treated equally, but I also do it out of respect for those who live with their hair covered. It seems somehow wrong to pretend to be a person who I am not merely to avoid a bit of attention and disrespectful to those people who cover their heads for their own legitimate religious reasons.

Switzerland
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7. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

Let me start by saying that I live in Switzerland, I am not Swiss.

I consider it polite when in another persons country to confirm to their customs. In the UAE women are expected to cover their shoulders and knees. I could walk around in a skimpy top and mini skirt but that would be considered a) offensive and b) a comeon. When I go to Italy and I go into a church I cover my shoulders because it is polite.

Many Turkish women walk parts of Istanbul with their heads uncovered, and they are able to tell the men who might accost them on the street where exactly to stick their unwanted attention. I am not able to do so.

So to posters who feel that I should have to suffer being pinched, prodded, hassled, harrassed and followed home by strangers all in the name of standing up for the fact that I CAN go bareheaded, Gee thanks.

I noted today that in Taksim square almost all the young women are bareheaded. I noted too however today that in Tahtakale 100% of women were wearing headscarves.

My post was not intended to raise a fuss or be political but is simply a tip and a tip that works.

istanbul
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8. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

I doubt that just a scarf will stop the male denizens of istanbul from pinching

Istanbul, Turkey
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9. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

It is nice that you are polite enough to wish to be polite in you host country but had you done even a little research on this forum you would have learned that your perception of conformation was quite unnecessary in western Turkey at least and especially in cosmopolitan Istanbul.Taktakale is a heartland of religious conservatism and not representative of the vast majority of Istanbul,in much the same way as Fatih isn't.

Why are you unable to defend yourself against any unwanted attention?A fierce scowl and a sharp loud NO! are understandable and unmistakeable in any language and culture.

Incidently Turkish women(even bareheaded ones) would not suffer that type of behaviour anyway because of their demeanour which is far more assertive and no nonense than that of European women who often,albeit unintentionally,attract adverse behaviour by their own behaviour which can send out the wrong signals.What to us is a matter of being polite/friendly/cheerful is often miscontrued as a possible green light to continue a conversation and 'who knows maybe more'.

As has often been recommended on this forum;if a woman wants to know how to feel safe alone in Istanbul just watch how the Turkish women handle themselves.Had you been better informed before your visit I feel sure this negative dressing would have been unnecessary.Should you ever consider going to Egypt I recommend you do your homework far more!

istanbul
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10. Re: My big tip for women alone in Istanbul

accosting, prodding, harassing and following home.

you should have chain mail and preferably body guards.

i know of quite a few women who will now go to Tahtakale bareheaded with the hope of being found attractive, or at least pinchable.

My wife goes there many times every year, and her only problem was some stall holders trying to sell her pornographic DVDs and Viagra. (especially if i am with her)

Actually, my recommendation for the searching woman is to go to a football match at a stadium which has small exits anywhere in the world.

Just heard on the news that thirteen harassers were detained on NYE in Taksim, among maybe hundred thousand. You should also realize that most of the groups of young men at Taksim on NYE were those who came from among the more conservative areas of Istanbul whose mothers, sisters, and girl friends wear the turban (the politically acceptable head covering for religiously and politically active women)