Minggu, 20 September 2015

Woman Position and Role in Indonesia : Why Culture Teach Woman to be Submissive?

I bet you ever heard people saying this : “Woman should waiting for a man, don’t chase them”. I think it’s a culture. As an Indonesian, it’s stated as an informal rules. Woman should wait. Woman should never say all of her feelings to a man. Nice woman is those who calm, obedient or submissive. If somebody break rules, she would be judge by others. People would say her as a lame, slut, crazy or somekind like that. Then, mostly man would stay away from her. The question is...why woman?

As a woman, I thought it’s unfair, a discriminating rules made by a stupid-sexist-people. Why social-rules (in Indonesia) push us to shut up? And, what makes me more confused is...a lot of woman agree with that rules. They didn’t even feel being pushed, pressed and discriminated. They just agree with “woman should do domestic works” “don’t do inappriorate stuffs like speak up your feeling” etc, etc. They didn’t even asking or wonder why. My sociology lecture, Mr. Sudarso ever said that : “Indonesian women (mostly) is very submissive. They are easily accept things, even it would make her lose.”
I know it’s based on reality.
I have an experience about “saying-feelings” to a man. It happened a year ago. I’ve been in love with a guy in highschool. For three years in highschool I’m trying to hide my feeling. But, it’s not entirely hiding because all of the school already know what I feel. Yeah, you won’t believe this, but rumors is very fast to spread. And I bet he knows. He responed with making a distance from me. As I ever said, it’s true that a guy will stay away. Ha!
Then, I decided to saying what I feel to him. I don’t care with anything, I just want to make him know that I’m serious. I don’t playing around. So, I told him from texting. My message was sent and received. Technically, it sent and he read it. And the response is a little surprise. I know he rejected me, but he’s not explicit saying “NO”. It’s like he avoided to saying NO, but he want to rejected. The answer is very non-assertive, blurry and wide-range interpretation.
And I think it’s culture too.
First, I want to talk about sexism. Parks and Roberton (2004) said that sexism is disconfirm members of one gender, usually woman. Let say it’s like woman is a back-up player in football games. Sexism is exist in Asia and Africa, more than any other continents in the world. And Indonesia still one of the sexist country, like other Asia’s countries look at woman. In Indonesia, woman have a lower position towards man.
I give you an example. If a man left his marriage life for other woman, people are less care and judging, but...if you are woman and left your marriage life for other man...people would judge and bully you. People would call you as a “slut” “marriage-destroyer” or other. Have you ever heard a man called and labeled as a slut? No, it’s only labeled for woman. Man only labeled as an “asshole” or “jerk”.
Other example is what would people say if a woman can’t cook, cleaning or doing domestic stuffs. People would judge you and say, “If you can’t do that, how can you please your husband?” “A stupid lazy woman” “Man would never marry you” etc, etc. Now, let’s compare with man. Do people would ever saying that? No.
Another example is about making decisions. In some culture, man are decisions makers. I’ve read a memoar about a child from Yemen, Nujood, whose married at 9 years old and divorce at 10. So young. And it’s not her decision. It’s her father and old brother, who pushed her to marry a man she didn’t love. A thirty years old man! And Nujood, as a woman and part of culture, only can accept. There’s no place for saying “NO”. There’s no chance to runaway. You can only accept that. In Indonesia, cases like Nujood is still exist till today, even it’s less than Yemen or other Middle-East country
Culture comes from past-experience. In stone age, it’s true that woman are only working on domestic area. Keeping house, cook, raise kids, cleaning. Man, in that age, hunting for food and protect their family from wild animal and other dangerous things. Culture also coming from religion and local beliefs, which is different with others. One religion stated that woman have a lower position, while in others are equal, even more worthy. If it’s linked with Indonesia, with Islam as major religion, we can say that it’s related. I know it’s not my portion to say about religion, but in Islam, sometimes woman have a lower position and roles in life (you can marry more than one woman/polygamy or woman thoughts are not acceptable for making decisions), but sometimes it’s equal (seeing woman as a partner to go to Jannah/heaven, work together to build family).
In Indonesia, woman’s role are very clear: after marriage, you can working, but you also have to doing domestic stuff. It’s different if you have a housemaid. Or you came from egaliter-family. You can choose to working or not. But you can’t choose not to have a children because in Indonesia, having a children after married is a must. You can’t runaway. Even it’s you and your husband decision, your family will pushed you to have a children for them.
Now we can see that marriage in Indonesia is all about family, not between the individuals whose fell in love. Sometimes it’s acceptable and sometimes it’s not.
Payne (2001) ever said that gender is considered a cultural variable, largery because cultures teach boys and girl different attitudes, beliefs, values and ways to communicating. Now see yourself. Why man act agressively or dominant and woman are the opposite? Ever wonder why? It’s happened because culture has taught you about how man and woman should act. But, you can related with genetics, which is simply said that in DNA or braincells, man has more testosteron than woman. Testosteron makes human more agressive, dominant, competitive, and violent (researcher said) and male have more testosteron than woman. This is the answer why man are easily speak up their mind and look dominant while woman are more submissive.
If somethings came from DNA or biological, I can accept that. It’s genetic, like we knew only woman who can born a baby and man are not. Or only man goes for a sperm.
One thing that I disagree is what people said if the woman are more dominant or speak up their mind. People will judge woman, and said that she is out of control. She is wild. We should punish her. Her family should feel ashamed for her. She shouldn’t act like that. It’s not woman portion. Woman should be nice and submissive.
What we must do are just keep her doing whatever she wants. You can’t control her life. It’s her decision. If something happens to her, let her solve by herself. We can see that as a responsibility and maturity. And you don’t have a portion to ruin her life. Come on.
What I should underline is : don’t judging if a woman speak up their minds and feelings. Please respect and don’t running if a woman says that she likes you. Don’t make her feel bad. If you like her, just accept her being your girlfriend and if you’re not, says it clearly and never make it as a jokes through her. In many cases, people will laugh at her because that story being public. Everyone will knows. And it’s very mean.
If woman  want to act submissive, let her.
If woman want to dominant and speak up, let her.
If woman want to making own decision, let her.
Let her choose by herself.

With love,

*Note: Bibliography soon writed and updated

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