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Monday, June 02, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

Several days ago, a workmate of mine told me about her friend. This friend of hers is married, and having one toddler. She works as an English teacher in one private college in my hometown while she also has some private students. In short we can say that she is busy to earn money. Besides, she also believes in ‘double roles’ of women proposed strongly in the New Order era.
Women are believed to be born as domestic creatures. In this so-called ‘modern’ era, however, many women demand that they also have rights to work outside the home. The New Order regime accommodated this idea. The then government supported the emancipation ‘discourse’ by campaigning, “women are no longer men’s companion to stand behind.” Nevertheless, the New Order regime still did oppression to women, by conveying ‘double roles’ for women: when a woman wants to work outside the home, she is still obliged to do domestic chores. A woman must be a superwoman to do the two things at the same time. In the meantime, men were still public creatures. They were not obliged to do domestic chores although they had spare time at home. Religion teachings were also ‘abused’ here. A woman would get ticket to enter heaven easily if she were willing to do these double roles. If she minded, she would rather be a full domestic creature instead. On the contrary, a man did not necessarily help his wife do household chores because he was created not to do those ‘trivial’ things. Men had bigger and nobler responsibility: to earn money. It was enough for men to get ticket to enter heaven.
Going back to my workmate’s friend. Let us give her an initial: X. X really believes in the double-role idea. (Un)luckily, her husband apparently also believes in it. Seeing his wife busily doing household chores after working outside does not move his heart to help. He even does not care to take care of their toddler because he also considers it ‘a woman’s job’. This situation has happened for several years.
One day X confided in my workmate about how exhausted she was to do the double roles. However, if she stops working, her husband’s income is not enough to make ends meet. My workmate then suggested that X ask her husband to help her do household chores. However, X did not agree with it.
“Why didn’t she agree with your idea?” I asked her.
“She strongly believes by doing the double roles, she will get a ticket heaven easily as the compensation from God.
“Tell her that to enter heaven, there are many other ways. She doesn’t need to put herself in such a harmful situation now that she is so vulnerable to diseases because she doesn’t have enough time to do exercise, moreover to rest at home.” (FYI, X is in her mid thirties, and she is suffering from rheumatism, and some other diseases.)
Furthermore, I cited what Meutia Hatta said several years ago on polygamy case. “Don’t trouble yourself to get involved in polygamous marriage only because you believe that by letting your husband marry another woman again; or by being the nth wife of a man. There are many other ways to get God’s blessings to enter heaven. Don’t hurt other women’s feelings, or your children’s.”
“The problem is,” my workmate said to me, “this friend of mine believes it so much that by dedicating her life to her husband and marriage, she will easily enter heaven.”
“So, she is very lucky then to have already found the best and nearest way to heaven: dedicating her life to her heartless husband. Tell her that she is not supposed to complain if she believes that is her stairway to heaven. She must be happy with that.”
I sounded cynical? Yes. I was also very unhappy to say that. But what else was I supposed to say if X already closed her mind on this case?
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3 comments:

johnorford said...

i totally agree with u, ppl have to want to save themselves. otherwise it's pointless.

A Feminist Blog said...

John,
thanks for supporting this idea of mine. I am still looking for my own stairway to heaven. :-D

johnorford said...

lol :)