I have always been interested in social issues such as inequality, gender, racism, and social change. Growing up in a culture that still considers women as “complementary” where I don’t have much room to stand alone makes me feel insecure.
I have been meeting many people from different cultures and perspectives and see social relations between humans more broadly. The bitter fact is that space for a movement is still relatively limited for a woman with a career even though lately, gender and inequality awareness is getting better.
One of the exciting sociology theories I read is about the functionalist approach to gender put forward by Herbert Spencer, which states that males and females should be equal, but, hence they have a few biological variations; there is the subordination of women with the aid of men. But the burden of being a woman still doesn’t feel fair. The topics of women still being discussed, and I don’t think there will ever be an end, are the issues of arranged marriage and even virginity.
Recently, I watched a film in Indonesia entitled YUNI, one of the films officially selected to participate in TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) 2021. The movie discusses women whose lives are regulated, where the main character is forced to marry a man of her family’s choice. There is also an issue that a complete woman means that a woman needs to be a virgin until she gets married.
My journey and life experiences so far have made me realize that I am still in a situation where as a woman, I cannot grab my rights fully just because I am constantly compared to men. In my opinion, parents should be responsible for sending their children–regardless of gender to school, not to the aisle for marriage (as the message is trying to convey in the YUNI film).
I grew up in a society that said if women dress the way patriarchy wants, we will be fine. If we behave the way patriarchy wants, we will be safe. The society making patriarchy thrives every minute, every day. Unfortunately, in Indonesia, women are still seen as objects where. There is a narrative that we will be fine if we are “good women.” What does “good” here means, to be exact? Being religious? It is too shallow to judge someone based on their religion. I think the matter of faith, and even one’s divinity is a personal area that is difficult to measure. Does it mean that people who have no religion or God can then deserve to be called bad people? Let each individual have the right to interpret their faith and divinity without environmental pressure. Shouldn’t that be the case? I feel that there is a severe issue regarding this matter.
Furthermore, I’m still questioning the relationship between being a successful woman and their decision to marry or not. Because I believe success is so relative, it might be money for some people, popularity, career development, or anything else. It is not only about having a whole family–marrying and having children.
I might not have sufficient knowledge currently, yet I still believe that educate-women will always have a significant impact later on, not only on their families but also on society, not only for having rich knowledge but also, most importantly, not being filled with fear and insecurity. Everyone has the right to get a lot of knowledge as a provision for life and make the world better in the future. So why force every woman on this earth to marry to avoid being considered a spinster or even “unsold”? That is an inappropriate thought and tends to be rude.
Let everyone live their life, and achieve their goals without discriminating and bringing down each other. Just live in peace…