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Figen Şakacı

Figen Şakacı

First feminist stand-up artist in Turkey
"My audacity was disturbing"

Date of Birth: 30/06/1971 1971

Place of Birth: Istanbul

Date of Death:

Place of Death:

Burial Site:



Figen Şakacı Figen Şakacı

Field of Activity

"One day I stood on the stage and told a story. The story began with an 18-year-old girl running away from home in the early hours of the morning in order to fulfil her own personal rebellion. What could happen to this girl, in our society, if she leaves the house in which she was born and the warmth of her parents and goes out alone on to the streets? Although we are still looking for an answer to this question, it was asked out loud for the first time towards the end of the 90s in the milieu of a bar and not backed up by the setting of a stage-play. I accepted the fact that I would be considered not only the teller but also the subject of the story and "stood up" and asked the men and women around me this question, and looked them direct in the eye.
The title of my story was "Whatever" so that the audience could work out the end for themselves. My real aim was to look at women and their role in this country from all angles, together with the women in the audience and to throw light on the way to achieving this aim. It was certainly not a stage-play nor was it a "show".
The question stood firmly on the stage and some possible (as I thought) tragi-comic answers. What I actually did was only to do away with all male-orientated official versions, points of view and sympathies, one after another. A young girl tells simply about growing up, about the fine line between the fact of being born as a woman and to become a woman.
My audacity was disturbing, the language I used was firm - by nonetheless warm. In fact I was telling the story of all women, but here I put myself in the foreground. I held up a mirror to people's clumsiness, naivity and absent-mindedness. I didn't keep to a definite text, but took my bearings from the audience's willingness to cooperate.
I began every programme by coming on to the stage singing what was then a popular pop song "Tombul tombul memeler" (Big, big, breasts) and immediately silenced those who wanted to applaud and dance. I made fun of the fact that breasts were the subject of a song and that men sing about them.
I talked about my nighttime wanderings, the jobs I had had, the men I had loved and the traps I had fallen into. In all my stories there was this man, twirling his moustaches, trying to teach us who we are, who hurt us - and himself - by feigning, playing with love. I was perfectly aware that it was a never-ending story. So I later took up my pen and started to write down the story of the woman who, years ago, went on to the stage to tell about her childhood to thunderous applause.
(Figen Şakacı)
Figen Şakacı as Authoress

"I called my first long story "Bitirgen" ... Since then I have written other stories. I am still absolutely convinced that if only a woman changes her life, she can change the whole world."
(Figen Şakacı)

Figen Şakacı, Bitirgen, Everest Yayınları, 2011.

Figen Şakacı (söyleşi), Mizah Zekânın Zekatıdır- Tarık Minkari Kitabı, İstanbul, 2007.

Figen Şakacı (söyleşi), Her Doğum Bir Mucizedir - Aykut Kazancıgil Kitabı, İstanbul, 2005.

Figen Şakacı as Screenplay Writer
  • 2011- 2012 Bir Çocuk Sevdim
  • 2010 Kahve Bahane
  • 2003 Eleman Aranıyor/Kabare
  • 1996-1997 Yasemin
  • 1993-1994 Son Söz Sevginin
  • 1998-1999 Kalbimi Kıra Kıra


(No information available)


Senaryo ve Diyalog Yazarı Sinema Eseri Sahipleri Meslek Birliği Senaristbir üyesi


  • Ataköy Grammar School, Istanbul
  • Istanbul University, Communications department, study focused: Public Relations

Contributions to Society

(No information available)

Family and Friends

Projects in her Honour

Further Reading


Quoted Sources:
  • See the "Further Reading" section
  • Figen Şakacı's private archives
  • Correspondence with Figen Şakacı
Source of Visual Images:
  • Figen Şakacı's private archives


The Women's Museum Istanbul is grateful to Figen Şakacı for her support in producing this introductory page.

Translation into English: Faruk Kural, Istanbul, Turkey
Editing: Editing: Lyndall von Dewitz, Oberasbach, Bavaria, Germany

©2012 Meral Akkent
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