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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Women's Voice

“Suara kaum minoritas elite juga bisa dengan mudah kita jumpai di media semacam Jurnal Perempuan. Meskipun namanya menggunakan perempuan, justru terjadi dekonstruksi makna perempuan oleh Jurnal Perempuan.”

(The voice of elite minority community can be easily found in some media such as Jurnal Perempuan – Journal for Women. Although there is the word ‘women’ in it, in fact Jurnal Perempuan even deconstructed the significant meaning of the word “women”.)

I got the above statement from one article forwarded to Jurnal Perempuan mailing list some weeks ago. It was stated by a woman who was on the other (or even contradictory) boat of women “warriors” labelled as feminists. I remembered the first time I read Jurnal Perempuan (JP) around 2003; the first time I learned there was another ‘voice’ uttered by “women” that was different from “women’s voices” I read/heard from some other medias I had known for decades. I bet I recognized the ‘voice’ expressed by JP as the “real” voice of women – free from patriarchal culture – because at that time I was assigned to read Gilligan’s book “In a Different Voice” by one lecturer of American Studies Gadjah Mada University.

The “voice” expressed by JP was in fact the answer of so many questions having crowded my mind since I was a kid; such as women were not the weaker sex, Islam – the religion I have adhered since I was born – was not the religion that discriminated women because in fact the people – you can label them ulema or Islamic scholars – behind the religion were the ones who discriminated women by producing gender biased interpretation of Alquran and hadiths, etc.

Therefore I do agree if someone says that articles published at JP ‘deconstruct’ what patriarchal culture believes, especially on women’s ‘destiny’. Is it to corner women? The answer is a big NO. It is even to lift women’s position!!


Several days ago I had a long talk with a good friend of mine who just went back from Kansas University. She claimed that she has believed in an equal relationship between husband and wife because her parents gave a good example towards the children. I told her that my parents also didn’t differentiate the treatments towards the children. My late father recognized the intelligence in me more than my big brother, that’s why he supported my education very highly because he didn’t want to see me end up as an exclusive cook for the husband and children. (So I ‘read’ the attention he gave me.) The way my parents divided household chores among the children also without gender stereotypes.

“So, where did you get the idea that a woman had to dedicate all her life for the husband as well as children and be submissive with whatever the husband does? Be the only one who takes care of all household chores, serve the husband, etc to provide ‘heaven’ on earth for the family? Therefore you felt like finding a very precious jewellery after you got to know the perspective conveyed by JP?” She shot me.

I could not answer that killing question.

That made me keep thinking about it and keep trying to find the ‘traces’ that resulted in a deep pain in my heart.

The first possibility was the indoctrination I got when I was at Islamic elementary school. I believe my teachers at that time cited many misogynist interpretations to indoctrinate the students. Besides, they also said there were no dialectics in religion. So? “Take it or leave it.” Read it as “take it if you want to enter heaven. Leave it if you want to accompany Satans in hell.” And usually the teachers frightened the young kids about hell.

I got the second possibility after for a few days trying hard to remember again my childhood and teenage years. I assume it was the beginning moment I shaped myself to be one victim in this patriarchal society because I wanted to fulfil the requirements to be a “true” woman. I remembered at that time my mom subscribed – or at least bought regularly – one magazine claimed for women. Since my reading was my hobby, I also often read some articles or stories – short stories or novella – in the magazine. I still remembered many articles and stories gave illustration of how to be a “true” and “good” woman, how to attract men, etc. The indoctrination of how to be a pious woman I got from my elementary school education plus the shaping of how to be a “true” and “good” woman viewed from patriarchal perspective amazingly shaped me to be a perfect example of Cinderella complex sufferer.

However, it was ruined by choosing a wrong guy to be my Lovely Star’s father.

The perfect example was broken into pieces.

Therefore when finding out my own “voice” I collected from scratch by my own readings – one of them is absolutely JP – I was like a woman warrior who “woke up late”. However, I do believe in an axiom saying that it is better late than never.

I still have to celebrate my awakening: by writing in my blog.

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1 comment:

johnorford said...

i am sure this blog will help many others, like JP helped u!