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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dorce Show

Dorce is the name of one most popular transsexual in Indonesia. I don’t remember when he/she had operation to ‘let go of’ his/her penis and then the surgeon made a vagina for his/her genital. I don’t really know his/her private life so I don’t know whether he/she has a spouse. (Forgive me for not following the hottest gossip in Indonesia. LOL.)

He/she has become a host of one quite popular television show in Indonesia, named “Dorce Show”. This talk show has invited many people to be guests, and they come from various background. I am not one of its loyal audience of course since I don’t like watching television. However, I know this program that is aired five times a week, around 09.30-10.30. My dear Mom oftentimes watches it Therefore I once in a while know the topic of the show, especially when I am at home around that time and luckily pass the dining room where one television set is located and my Mom watches it.

Last Friday, a workmate told me the topic of this show aired one day before, September 6. A woman who has got domestic violence from her husband was interviewed. When Dorce asked her, “Will you divorce your husband?”, the woman said, “No.” The answer got a big applause from Dorce him/herself and the audience in the studio did it too. Furthermore, Dorce said, “Be patient, Bu (one greeting usually addressed to a mature woman in Indonesia, a bit similar to ‘Ma’am’ in English). God will pay you back. Just pray that your husband will realize his mistake. He will change, I am sure. And for you yourself, you will go to heaven for being patient.”

The applause and the comment from Dorce, directly or indirectly, have supported the status quo of male chauvinism in Indonesia. Besides, it will make millions women who watch the show will think that domestic violence will easily be abolished only by praying to God, no need a real action.

My friend’s story reminded me of one Dorce show I accidentally watched several months ago. There were some women as guests to be interviewed. They had the same background: their husbands were imprisoned because of doing one crime. The first woman was “interrogated”, “Will you divorce your husband?”

I knew from the way Dorce asked the question, the tone he/she used when asking that, and also from his/her facial expression, I instantly could conclude that Dorce expected the woman to answer, “No.” Unfortunately, unexpectedly, the woman answered, “Yes.” Automatically, Dorce commented, “Yes? Oh … Do you plan to get married again?”

The woman responded cheerfully, “Yes. I have got married again for several years.”

Dorce sighed, although in a tone of joking said, “In fact you are a bitch, eh?”

In Indonesian culture, it is still a common thing for a woman to be called “bitch” if she gets married again not long after getting divorced. No matter what, staying married with one man is still worshipped and the woman who undergoes it although she gets domestic violence will get a big applause from society.

FYI, as far as I know, Dorce is the only case of transsexual who got operation to “change” the genital and it was made known publicly. His/her being celebrity, his/her way to get dressed as a good Muslim woman (covering all of the body, sometimes also the head), quoting some verses from Alquran in his/her show, in my opinion, easily attracted public’s attention (seemingly, this also made people forget the fact that Dorce is a transsexual) although there are also many people who are against him/her by accusing him/her not to accept the life/sex God has chosen for him/her—a body with penis.

As a feminist, one thing that bothers my mind is that Dorce, a transsexual, where in the reality there are many other transsexual/transvestite/gay/lesbian people that are marginalized, even follows the stereotype of “good women” in this patriarchal culture. I am wondering if after the genital operation, Dorce then felt like he/she was a “real” woman, forgetting that he/she was once a transsexual so that to be accepted as a “real woman” he/she had to support the stereotype? I assume that it would be much better if Dorce joined the women’s movement, to crush the stereotype of good men and good women in the male chauvinist society.

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