It is devastating whenever I read some comments on social media, the patriarchal culture in Indonesia is very obvious. It is closer to sexism sometimes. As an Indonesian, I am familiar with a lot of saying that belittling a woman, whether or not the speaker realize it. If you’re an Indonesian woman, you will agree, that you must have at least one relatives or neighbours, who said that even you have a Master of PhD, in the end you will be back to the kitchen. Right? Right. Or you will be familiar with people commenting “So she hasn’t married yet in her 30? No wonder, she’s being too ambitious with her career. What’s the point of those money without a husband and children anyway?” Or people who comments that if your age is more than 29 and unmarried, it is your fault of being picky. When you leave your ex for a better off man, you will be blamed of not being faithful and being a materialistic gold digger. When you choose to marry a not too good looking guy, well, people will questioned how rich is he.
And when you’re married, and haven’t had a child yet, they will say “It’s not good to be in contraception that early, it’s your first child!”, or if you have had your first child, they will say when will you give your child a sibling? Your children must be lonely, and it’s not good to have only one child. When you’re experiencing a miscarriage, it’s your fault of not eating a right food, of doing too much carrying heavy things. When you can’t cook a delicious food or you can’t do some house chores well, you have to question if you have passed the standard of being a housewife. When you choose to be a working mom, you’re not a good mother because you neglect your children. When you’re staying at home mom, well, a woman can’t be that lazy! When your kids are being naughty, people said the mother doesn’t take care of them much, too busy with her work, or too busy with her friends. When your son do drugs, when your daughter being a young mother, it is your fault of not educating and protecting the children well so they trapped into such a misery!
When a woman file a divorce, people says that you’re not a good woman. You’re not good because you can’t protect your household. When a man file a divorce, people will get suspicious, questioning if you’re a nice woman – you know, that woman who never get home late, stays at home, never meet any other man, never go to some parties with friend, never waste your husband’s money, never to be ambitious with your career, have a nice kid and so on that define a nice woman. If it’s crystal clear that your husband fault that your marriage fall apart, you gotta be patient a little! Don’t you pity the children? They said. So whether the man or the woman fill a divorce, who to blame? Woman of course! When the husband cheats, it’s your fault because you can’t provide enough so he has to look for it in another woman. When you cheat, well, all hell broke loose.
When a politician do corruption, people will said “Of course, his wife’s shopping appetite must lead him to a corruption!” When a woman get raped, it’s her fault of wearing revealing clothes, being in particular place, doing some particular things. It is your fault of being stupid of saying yes to someone that you trust in the first place. This is the most disgusting, blaming the victim of receiving something that she never wanted to?
I refuse to admit that I am a feminist. I love the idea of equality between men and women, but to declare myself as a feminist, it is still long way to go. However, I like the idea of humanizing woman at its best. They have human rights as equal as men do. They have options, they have decision. They can drive their life wherever they want to. They have thoughts, they have consideration. They have wish and dream. They have things they like, things they don’t. They have things they want to do, and thing they don’t. They can say yes, and they can say no. They’re not just a mere child labourer, house cleaner, foods maker, or anything that objectifies them.
Happy International Women's Day!