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Friday, July 28, 2006

The Patriarchal Culture

After Angie became a teenager these recent years, I recognized that she often looks uncomfortable when we are going somewhere and guys take a look at us. She often rushes me to leave a certain place when she recognizes that a guy or a group of guys take a look at us.

Some hours ago, we just had dinner in one food stall. A group of four guys sat nearby. I never give a damn to any guy looking at me. Perhaps becauseI have problems with my poor eyesight (I am very lazy to wear my glasses when I am not in front of the computer) so that I don’t have a good look at people around me. I cannot recognize then whether they look at me abusively or just curiously. Therefore, it often makes me ignorant to people around when I am in public places. However, I could feel that those four guys once in a while looked at Angie and me. I could ignore it but Angie couldn’t. After we finished our meal, she directly rushed me out of the food stall to escape.

This reminds me of one article I read in Aquarini’s book—Kajian Budaya Feminis (Feminist Culture Studies). She wrote most women undergo sexual harassment in their life; be it a very “light” harassment such as ‘whistling’ until “heavy” one such as touching or rubbing some parts of women’s bodies when they are in public places. Women are often reduced only as “a pile of flesh and bones” without soul so that women easily become victims for such sexual harassment done by men. Men “wholeheartedly” feel like they have full right to do anything they like to women because women are just “a pile of flesh and bones”; just objects. Men don’t need to feel guilty to do harassment because they are superior. On the contrary, women who get sexual harassment often feel that something wrong in them so that they deserved to be “enjoyed” by men. Perhaps they feel that they have big breasts, big ass, or oven on the way round, skinny breasts and skinny ass. Women with big “ones” get sexual harassment while women with skinny “ones” get mockery. It is always wrong to have female bodies.

Lucky Aquarini because she could overcome that feeling when she was young. She could convince herself that there was not anything wrong in her that made some boys abuse her. When I was in elementary school and got sexual abuse from the boys in the classroom next door, I could just run away and hide myself. Sometimes I complained to God why my breasts grew earlier than my classmates so that those boys nicknamed me, “mountain”, very ridiculous and annoying nick for me at that time.

I still brought that upbringing—that women’s bodies are the source of sin—until I found the answer in the feminism ideology, in 2003. I believe it was coz the very strong religious upbringing I got from my parents and teachers in elementary school, also from the patriarchal culture where I was raised.

I have told Angie to take it easy when there is a guy or a group of guys take a look at her greedily. There is nothing wrong in her. Something wrong is in those guys’ minds. However, Angie still acts the same.
I always dream to have a better world where men no longer consider women as sexual objects. That some women can do the similar thing—reduce men only as sexual objects—doesn’t guarantee that it has already made it equal.

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