‘Mustang’: a look into oppression and female empowerment


Promotional photo for the movie. Photo courtesy of the Official Facebook page for “Mustang.”

“Mustang” is a foreign film illustrating the lives of five sisters living in a world of oppression in rural Turkey. After being accused of debauchery, the girls are jailed inside their house under the strict supervision of their uncle and grandmother. After seeing her sisters married off one by one, the bond of sisterhood ignites the youngest one, Lale, to devise a plan to escape to Istanbul and be freed from the corrupt societal sexism.

The film was entirely in Turkish and with the help of subtitles, provided a glimpse into the lives of women in a country so different from our own. “Mustang” dives deep into the taboo of the oppression of young women that is connected to the shaming of sexuality in their immensely religious and strict society. This film is about challenging social norms and standing up against what has been engraved into the mind of those surrounding them.

Promotional photo for the movie. Photo courtesy of the Official Facebook page for “Mustang.”

The idea of purity is stressed in this movie. If a woman were to be impure, it was likely she would not gain a husband, something that was rooted in the expectations of their society. In the beginning of the movie, when the girls’ grandmother heard they were at the beach playing with boys, the sisters were immediately taken to the hospital to check that they were still virgins. If the results would have said otherwise, it is likely they would have brought serious dishonor upon their family.

“Mustang” was a film that revealed serious societal issues in this world in the most immaculate way possible. Being able to experience it in a different language put the message in a perspective that shot into the viewers’ eyes. Watching this movie had me leaving The Pageant Theatre differently than when I initially walked in, and that is a feeling everyone should experience when leaving a theater.

I would give “Mustang” a rating of 5/5. The beautiful landscapes of Turkey and the way the film was able to convey a glimpse of systematic hardship and female empowerment in a country foreign to us, made this a movie I would recommend to anyone.

“Mustang” will be showing Feb. 1 through Feb. 4 at The Pageant Theatre for $6.50 with your student ID.

Carly Plemons can be reached at [email protected] or @plemnz on Twitter.