Search This Blog

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Househusband (3)

Continuing talking about ‘househusband’, I realize that in many cases ‘househusband’ can generate financial oppression to women, instead of making women’s position equal or higher than man in one family. I found many cases from people living in my area where the woman is the breadwinner and the man stays at home. At first, both of them worked. Then, monetary crisis that has struck Indonesia since 1997 has made many men lose their jobs. This made many women become the breadwinner in the family. However, the culture that women do the household chores still goes on. Therefore, women even have more burden, to be the breadwinner and also do the household chores. What do those unemployed men do? Nothing. They just gamble, or worse still, even spend his wife’s money on alcohol since they think that they need to leave their depression as unemployed men for a while by making themselves drunk.

Worse again, in one ethnic group in Indonesia called SASAK living in Lombok Island. The culture there believes that it will be a prestigious thing when a woman becomes the nth wife of a man (not the only wife of the man). Although at the very beginning their ancestors decided that only rich and capable men could have more than one wife, in the process nowadays, many poor men also practice polygamy, and they even survive from their wives’ money. Those men do not need to bother themselves how to support the lives of their wives and children because even the wives work to ear money to survive by themselves and feed the husband. The promise that those women who are willing to ‘share’ their husband to go to heaven after life is so strong that those women do not complain with that. (Jurnal Perempuan number 43 published in July 2005).

It shows that the patriarchal society is very strong and that the financial independence of those women does not help much to make their position equal with men. Many Marxist feminists believe that by having financial independence will make women equal with men. However, it is not suitable to be applied in one culture where the point of view of the people is still strongly patriarchal: no matter what happens men will always have higher position than women. In the practice, the women who have role as the breadwinner even get double oppression, although oftentimes they themselves do not realize it, because they take it for granted, without questioning their destiny.

PT56 23.45 060407

No comments: