When I was in the elementary school, the second half of 1970s, I used to find many girls getting married after graduating from elementary school. Don’t imagine that they were around 11 or 12 years old when graduating though. For some reasons, many went to school at a later age (not around 6 or 7 years), so that it was possible they were already 15 years old or older than that when graduating from elementary school. In that decade, especially in the environment where I lived, it was common for girls around 15 to get married.
I was lucky because my parents didn’t just adopt such a “culture” so that they didn’t think of marrying me to anybody after graduating from elementary school. They let me continue my study to junior high school. And as a rebel, I didn’t continue to Muhammadiyah school, I chose a state school instead. It means I did not conform to the “culture” in my family. I went to a state senior high school too.
In a narrow sense, in that decade, it was a culture for women to get married before reaching 18 years old. (According to Children’s Convention, anybody who is under 18 years old is still considered a child that needs to be protected by the parents, society, as well as the country.) Women stopped getting a higher education after elementary school was also a culture at that time.
However, the condition is not really as “bad” as like that nowadays, although there are still same cases similar to that. Mentioning this, I want to remind my blog readers that to say culture is something dead, moreover culture is created by God, instead of constructed by society, is absolutely mistaken. Nothing doesn’t change, wise people say.
Referring to my previous post, “Feminism: a western culture?” in this writing, I want to give another simple example to counter people’s accusation that feminism was just a movement from the west that was not suitable for the easterners. It is right that the term ‘feminism’ was coined for the first time in 1891 in America (Bauer, 1998:33). However, the most important thing is that the struggle behind this term—feminism. To me, feminism is to give women freedom to choose what they want to do in their lives, without any limitation only because they were born with breasts and vagina plus womb.
Not only women in the west can make decision for their lives; women in the east can do that too. Women are also human beings, as men who have enjoyed their being superior for centuries. It does not mean that I want women to be superior though. LOL. Equality is more beautiful.
In my own life, by claiming myself as a feminist (though it is not really important), I want to emphasize that I adore making decisions for myself.
Please stop abusing the term ‘culture’ only to keep the status quo of the patriarchal society.
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