“No’, might make them angry, but it will make you free. If no one has ever told you, your freedom is more important than their anger” -Nayyirah Waheed-
What does “freedom” mean to you?
Everyone might have their own definition of “free” or “freedom”.
But, no matter it is, we agree that “freedom” means we are free from subjection. In a nations or country’s case, subjection might appear in various types.
The most important and always be mentioned in our history book is colonialism by other country. Now, there’re modern subjection in economics, ideology–even what we’re facing today–pandemic.
Indonesian Founding Fathers, Bung Karno, has ever said that our struggle might be harder in the future because we have to fight against the internal enemies. Like a prophecy, what he said becomes reality today. Corruption, poverty, radicalism, hoax spreading and hate speech, are some types of subjection that we’re fighting of.
The most dangerous enemy comes from the internal. From them, who are the closest to us. Even we can be enemies for ourselves.
Well, let me ask you something. Do you realize that your life is surrounded by people’s expectations?
If you said “yes”, then you’re not alone.
Annoyed? Tired? Stress? Absolutely, yes.
Who’s not tired of fulfilling people’s expectations and be a people pleaser?
First, you have to be realistic and realize that you can’t please everyone. You also can’t force everyone to like you.
In the haters eyes, you’re always be a bad person. No matter how nice, kind or well manner you are, their perception about you won’t ever change.
You don’t need to always agree or say “yes” to their requests. Cause you’re just a human, not Aladdin’s genie or Cinderella’s fairy godmother.
If you want to express your disagree and rejection, make sure that you have valid reasons and strong argument. Then, express it in a respectful way.
If people don’t like of what or how you do, it’s not your business.
Your life is your responsibility. Their life are their responsibilities.
Everyone has an authority to rule and control themselves. Your mindset, your words, your attitude and behavior are things that under yourcontrol. Because you’re a leader of yourself.
Other’s mindset, words, attitude and behavior are things that out of your control. So, why are you worrying a lot of the things that you can’t control?
You have right to choose what’s the best for you. You have power to rule and control yourself without always fulfilling people’s expectations. If you can do it all, then, you’ll gain your own freedom.
*) This post is written as a reflection on 76th Independence Day of Indonesia. Hope our homeland will recover soon from its “illness“.
Someone who gives birth and takes care of life? Someone who can do and be whatever she wants? Someone with tenderness and power at the same time?
Someone who has lower status than men? Victims of patriarchal system? or just sexual objects for men’s satisfaction?
Hundred years ago, we rarely found well-educated young women in our society here, especially in Javanese Land. The tradition forced young women to be secluded at home (pingitan) and waiting for the wedlock.
Many young women lost their youth too early. They lost their dreams, freedoms, rights to get better and higher education. They really had no power to refuse.
The same thing happened to a 12 year old Kartini. Luckily, she was born into a noble family with strong intellectual tradition. That’s why, her family allowed her to attend school before her seclusion.
Among other subjects she got from school, she learned Dutch (and fluent in it), an unusual accomplishment for Javanese woman at that time.
During seclusion, girls weren’t allowed to leave their parents house until they were married. But, Kartini’s father was more lenient. He gave his daughter privilege to attend special events in public with him and took embroidery lessons.
Kartini also self-educated herself during seclusion by read many books, newspapers and European magazines. She had deep interests in European feminist thinking and desired to strive an education for women so that they could be equal with men.
She also discussed her ideas a lot to her several Dutch pen pals, such as Rosa Abendanon, Stella Zeehandelaar, Mrs.Ovink Soer, through her letters. Later, after Kartini’s died on September 17th, 1904 (at the age of 25), Mr. J.H. Abendanon, Minister of Culture, Religion and Industry for East Indies, collected and published her letters that she had sent to her friends in Europe.
Hundred years after Kartini’s died, we commemorate her birthday every April 21st. If it’s not in pandemic, we would see every female, in schools, offices, public services wears kebaya (an upper garment opened at the front traditionally, made from lightweight fabrics, such as brocade, cotton, gauze, lace or voile) and completed with “sarong kebaya”(jarik) as a bottom.
We would see parades in the street and held events to enliven the commemoration.
So, how do we commemorate Kartini’s Day without those fanfares?
Pandemic that makes us to stay at our homes, should be our contemplation of how the ideas can make a change even though our bodies are trapped in a seclusion.
People can imprison our bodies, but not our minds. Not our ideas.
Kartini proved to us that woman can use her potentials to empower herself and others.
She proved to us how a woman can have such thought that’s beyond its times and being the inspiration to the next generations.
We should be thankful of her ideas of emancipation even though we still have long run to fight for gender equality. Because it’s not easy to change an old tradition that passed down from generations to generations.
We need more women who aren’t afraid of expressing their thoughts. We need more women who aren’t afraid to break the old beliefs that have no relevance to our lives today.
I’m glad that many forums give us chances to talk about women and the issues around them this month. And I hope that in the future we can see more women speak through her works.
-Waiting for iftar (ngabuburit) in the end of April 2021-
The use of social media for various purposes has become a part of people’s life from around the world. Young, old, men, women, office workers, housewives, almost everyone has social media account. The trend of using social media continues to change. When I was in Primary School, many people used Friendster. In Middle School, Facebook began to be loved. Not long after Facebook era, Twitter appeared. And now, Instagram seems to be a new trend in the world of social media.
Have you ever thought how could some people not have any social media account in this modern world? Doesn’t it help you to promote your idea, project or product? Doesn’t it help to connect and communicate with people? Doesn’t it help you to make you more popular?
I don’t say that social media aren’t important. But, there are people who refuse to have any social media. George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Benedict Cumberbatch, Reza Rahadian are the example of some celebrities that do not have social media. But, people know them for their acting and films.
So, why are there people who don’t want to have social media account?
Keeping up the privacy Social media allows you to post or share everything you want. Whether it’s good or bad. Some people lack of caution and can’t control themselves to post something that shouldn’t be posted or shared on social media. Finally, everyone knows. And it can be used by bad people to invade your privacy.
Keeping up the productivities Scrolling the timeline, checking notification, liking or leaving comment on someone’s photo when you’re working on something at the same time, really waste your time and energy. It will distract your focus. So, your works will be non optimal.
Maintaining mental health United Kingdom’s Royal Society of Public Health published their result of research about the difference of the use of social media on physical and mental health effect, conducted on 1.479 people with an age range 14-25 years old from some region in Great Britain. The results from this survey taken from National Geographic showed that Instagram is potentially giving the worst effect on mental health, compared to other social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat even YouTube. Instagram can be the best place to do cyber bullying, body shaming, creating jealousy, insecurity and anxiety. It doesn’t mean that other social media is free from toxic and annoying people, but, instagram is crazy.
They might be people who have great self esteem and confidence Some people use social media for gaining popularity, recognition and applause. But, people with great self esteem and confidence might not need all of them. They have thoughts if they’re being themselves, doing good things to others, then people will know them for who they are. People will know them for what they’re doing without show it off on social media. They’re happy and grateful of what they have and haven’t. They’re happy and grateful of what they do and don’t. Happiness is simple, right?
They might be people who prefer interaction in real life rather than in virtual world Sometimes people act differently in real life and virtual world. In vitual world, they appear as nice guy/girl, but being totally bastard in real life. It might happen cause in social media we don’t meet people face to face. So, it’s really possible if we’re being two-faced person. Well, I’m one of those who believe that if you want to know someone is nice or bastard, you need to know how they behave in real life. If you know nothing, don’t trust people you only know from social media easily.
Not good enough in operating technology (In Bahasa, we called it “gaptek”)
The debate between pros and cons, controversy and criticism about social media would be longer if I explain it too in this article. So, I’ll stop here and let me explain it on another post.
Wearinglonghijab (for Muslim women) : *being labeled as more religious rather than women who wear shorter hijab*
Wearingniqab (for Muslim women) : *being labeled as terrorist
Wearingrevealingclothes : *being labeled as a bitch* -___-
(For this part, I take an example of what have happened (usually) in Indonesia. So, it might be different from your country)
Thick : “youlookugly! youshoulddiet!” (I have a close friend. She has big body. But, her friends, including me, hope that she won’t do (extreme) diet cause she’s already beautiful even with her thick body)
Thin : “doyoureallyhaveboobsandbutt?” (If you ask me this kind of question, let me slap your face with clog)
Loves pink, wears skirt/dress, plays barbie doll, watches romance movie, wears high heels, loves shopping etc : “ew..toogirly! notcool” (Tomboy girl feels more superior than girly girl)
Loves black (dark colours), wears jeans, wears sneakers, football lovers, listens to dead metal/punk/rock music etc : “areyoureallyawoman?”
Being gentle, innocent, lady-like, elegant : *being labeled as weak, not independent, cry-baby, inferior, submissive, can’t stand up for herself*
Being bold, fierce, brave, independent : “men will be afraid of you. so, please, act like a lady” (Sir/Ma’am, I don’t behave to attract men’s impression cause I’m not an attention seeker)
Workingmom : “You’resoselfishandmaterialistic“
Stay–at–HomeMom : “Youwasteyourdegreeandachievementjusttostayathome” (Although you have good carreer, you still have responsibilty to take care of your husband and children)
Single : “Whenwillyougetmarried?” (Fyi :If you’re Indonesian woman, at least 25 years old, but you haven’t introduced anyone yet as your boyfriend or future husband to your family, then this question will haunt you like a nightmare)
Married : “whenwillyouhaveachild?”
Married + 1child : “whenwillyourson/daughterhassibling?” (Meanwhile their baby is still a month)
Conclusion : Honestly, we live in society which everything is rated based on men’s point of view. Meanwhile, we also live in society which women ‘kill’ each other. We can’t please everyone. So, no need to think that much about what they’re saying. You can disagree of others opinion, but, don’t throw a hate comment. You can have your own standard, but, don’t push others to follow your standard. You can have your own preference, but, don’t push others to follow your preference. Because it might not fit in/doesn’t work on someone who has different culture, habit, social status, religion and so on.
*) notes :
Hijab : a veil worn by Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immadiate family, which usually covers the head and chest
Niqab : a garment of clothing that covers the face, except eyes, worn by some Muslim women as a part of particular interpretation of hijab.
Allofyouarebeautiful. Nomatterwhat’syourskincolor, hairstyle, shortortall, thinorthick. Don’tlettheothersdictateyouabouthowthebeautylookslike. Youbetterdefine your own beauty. Don’ttrustthebeautystandardthatmuch. Ifyou’remorethankful, you’llstarttoloveyourself. Later, you’llrealizethateveryoneisspecialontheirownway.
You aren’t only about your face and body. You have brain. You have talent. You have beautiful heart and soul. You have the right to grow up. You have the right to have your choices. You have the right to learn anything you want. You have the right to be respected. You have the right to be treated equally. You have the right to speak up your mind. Don’t let them underestimate you! Keep your head up and show them who you truly are!
You might have high academic degree. You might have high salary. You might have high position. But, you need to know your position in your household. Control your ego. Be humble. Respect and obey your husband. Be a good mother to your children.
Doing chores, cooking, giving the best service to your husband, doesn’t mean you’re his maid. It doesn’t mean that he’s your boss. That’s your responsibilty as a wife. That’s a kind of how you express your gratitude of his sacrifice toward you. Instead of complaining how hard your chores, why don’t you discuss it with your husband? Remember, I said DISCUSS! Not ARGUING! Not FIGHTING! So, please talk to him heart to heart and control your emotions.
You shouldn’t attack each other just to catch men’s attention. You shouldn’t offend and judge another women who have different opinion, value, choices with you. “Girls compete each other, women empower one another”. So, can you see the difference?
Don’t hide yourself behind the statement, “lady’s first” when you see an an old man doesn’t get a seat on a public transportation! Cause the one who must be prioritized more is him, not you. How if he’s sick? How if he’s so exhausted and can’t stand up for a long time? How if he’s your own father and he’s treated like that?Just because you’re women, doesn’t mean you must always be prioritized first. There’s time or situation that you should succumb for the common good.
It’s okay if you hate patriarchy. It’s okay if you hate toxic masculinity. It’s okay if you hate gender inequality. But, if you hate men, I think you should fix your mind. Cause men and women aren’t rival. They’re partner. So,they should be together to make the world a better place to stay.
I wrote this letter not only for you. It’s my self-reminder too. In this world where women haven’t free from sexual harassment, objectification and discrimination yet, I hope women can fight for their rights, but also knowing and taking their responsibilities without too much excuses.
Ironically, those statements are spoken by women too (mostly).
Ok, let me tell you something.
Womenmustbesmartandwell–educated. A well-educated person is different from a person who’s attended school and got academic degree. Degree and diploma are just signal that you’ve attended, then graduated from school or university. But, they’re not necessarily show how well-educated you are.
Have you ever known someone who’s not attended school or university, but, her/his knowledge is no joke? Have you ever known someone who’s decided to drop out of school/university, but being successful at very young age? Well, I don’t tell you that school isn’t important. I just want to emphasize that one of characteristics every well-educated people have, are never stop learning from anyone or anything. School, university or whatever you said, is not the only place to study. Every place in this whole world is our school and everyone is our teacher.
Let’s back to the topic!
Smart women always know how to handle and overcome the problem. They know how to put themselves in every place, time and situation. Being smart women have nothing to do with their life choices as a working mom or stay at home mom.
Now, imagine if your husband asks you for your consideration or advice on important and serious thing, then what’d you say to him? Please, don’t say that you’d answer, “up to you”. Becausemenwillbeannoyedifyoualwaysanswer “uptoyou” oneverythingtheyask.
Imagine if your children come to you with their innocent yet unpredictable questions, then, how could you explain to them (especially if your children are still underage)? In Islamic beliefs, a mother is the first madrasa for her children. So, howcouldamothereducateherchildren, ifshehasnoknowledgeatall?
There’snothingwrongwithsmartwomenaslongastheystayhumblewiththeirsmartness. So, women should care about their brain and attitude too. Not only their beauty, make up or fashion. And if you have a boyfriend or crush who can’t appreciate your smartness (for example), I’dsaythatit’stimetofindanothermancausehedoesn’tdeserveyou.
In Indonesia, we always celebrate Kartini’s Day every April 21st. I know it’s so late, but, it’s okay to write this topic today. As long as there’re women who are discriminated, labelled or stigmatized, I have the right to speak up anything about it. Anytime, anywhere.
First, Idon’twanttoclaimmyselfasafeminist. Because I think I can speak up anything I care/interest/know about without labelling myself. And I won’t force you to agree with what I write here.
Ok, then. Back to the title.
Womanis amulti–rolecreature. They can be daughter, sister, wife, mother, member of society, citizen of country even a leader of the group/organization/institution/country. Womanisamulti–taskingpersontoo. Have you ever seen a woman who’s doing chores while holding her baby? That’s one of a proof.
Today, women have the same opportunity to get better education and pursue their career. Then, the debate between working mom vs stay at home mom appears on public.
Working mom often assume that stay at home mom waste their knowledges, talents, degrees, achievements, opportunities etc. Meanwhile stay at home mom assume that working mom are too ambitious, selfish and not taking care of their families well. Sometimes, stay at home mom use religious dogma (Iwon’tmention certainreligionherecauseIdon’twanttostereotypingthem) to offend working mom. Meanwhile working mom, sometimes, use feminism issues to strike back.
Like I said before, woman is a multi-role creature. Women have the right to choose what’s the best for their life and future. Whether they choose to be working mom or stay at home mom, they could have gone through an uneasy inner conflict. We might not know how hard the pressure they’re received from family or society.
So, if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive people and enviroment (parents, siblings, partner, friends, etc), that’s great. But, how about them, who are raised in very conservative family and society?
The workplace or office is full of adults from different background, knowledge, skill, experience and personality. Actually, as an adult, they can think and act like adult. Because they’re adults, they should understand the reponsibilty. Adults should know how to distinguish between right and wrong. Their mindset has built up, so, they can take an action and make their own decision.
But, in reality, I always find people (both of employees and bosses) who do not understand their responsibilities, unable to respect others (treated others like robot or machine, not human), put forward their own egos etc.
I have had a boss in my previous workplace that do not understand the rules and procedures. She never wanted to be blamed even though what she actually did was wrong. She’d rather trust the flatterers than those who tell the truth and show her the fact.
And you know, she fired 2 employees from production division and 1 accounting SPV. What surprised me was that the reason for their dismissal wasn’t a logical cause. Not long after they fired, one of my coworker in the same division with me, resigned cause she couldn’t deal with the boss attitude anymore.
When I wanted to resign, the company was looking for my successor. The company asked me to taught her anything that she’d do as her job desc.
After 3 days I accompanied her, I tried to let go of my assistance. And the next day I was forced to come to the office after she had told me that she had been intimidated by the boss. I remembered that she told me while crying back then. Finally, she only worked in the company for 1 week then decided to left.
The workplace should be an arena for healthy competition and collaboration. Not a battlefield between parties who have ‘certain interests’. Not a place for character assassination.
The adult world should not be too much drama. But, in reality, there’re many people who love to create ‘the office dramas’. And I really hate this situation. That’s why I always avoid it. I don’t care if they consider me as indifferent, cold, apathetic and so on. Well, I also don’t like and have no time for those kind of dramas.
Have a great day, everyone! Don’t forget to be happy
There’s a romance novelist I knew on blogging community
shared her thought and concern about sex and violence scenes in popular romance
stories, especially on platform, like wattpad and fanfiction.net. In her
opinion, that scene is too vulgar and she worried if it’d damage the
youngster’s moral and mentalities, especially underage readers. Okay, I don’t
want to talk about “eastern culture” or “moral and ethic”
here, because the explanation will be longer and kinda risky in rising a heated
argument. But, yeah I know what she feels cause I have the same worries. As a
romance novelist, she regretted the creativity of romance story writers whom
she considered to be limited only to sex and violence scenes.
She also regretted why romance stories with the nuances of
sex and violence became more popular and loved by many people. When she shared
her opinion, one of her friend called her as “moralist” (in a mocking tone).
Moralist (n) is a person who has strong ideas about moral principles, especially one who tells people how they should behave (Oxford Advanved Learner’s Dictionary) I wonder what’s wrong if someone is considered as moralist? Please, tell me if it’s good or bad!
Have Your Own Principles and Idealism
Every writer must have uniqueness and writing style. Our
writing style usually almost similar with the way we talk. If you try to copy
others writing style, even he/she is your role model, your writing seems has no
soul. Because you write like others, not yourself.
Principles and idealism in writing are also important owned by
every writer. My blogger friend
that I’ve told you about at the beginning, has the principle and idealism not to include sex and violence scene in her works (even drugs and alcoholic drinks are shown only
a little as an explanatory, not a major element).
There’s another blogger friend who’s more senior (both age
and experience) , always
including his personal experiences as real examples
of what he wrote. His writings are rich in life wisdom and very characterized
(he’s already three quarters of a century old, so his life experiences are
I have principles and idealism in writing, which is not only able to entertain but also educate, both myself and others. I also maintain the principles of simplicity, honesty and sincerity in writing. I don’t want my writing is only about bundle of
words, but also has
meaning and able to touch others heart or make others brain work to think, even though only 1 or 2 people.
Idealism vs Market Taste
An idealist writer often find dilemma between maintain the
idealism or follow the market taste. If you’re an Indonesian, I’m sure you know
how’s the quality of our TV programs today, especially shitnetron (I mean sinetron)
and FTV. I have ever read an article that contained interviews with some
sinetron and FTV script writers. They claimed to the media that their scripts
often have to be revised because the scripts were considered as “too
intelectual” so people will find it difficult to understand.
“People” referred to here is the lower middle class and uneducated
For me, there’re 2 things I want to criticize. First, this
country actually never
lack of smart and creative script writers. But they’re forced to meet market tastes and pursue
ratings, that’s why they’re being forced to sacrifice their principles and
idealism. Secondly, if the target is lower middle class and uneducated people,
can’t they produce entertainment programs with “better
quality” but still
better quality” doesn’t mean it must be “too intelectual”. Got the point?
Okay, back to the topic. Honestly, I’m sad yet embarassed to
know how pitiful the readers tastes (and TV viewers) in this +62 country. I’m
sorry, I do not intended to humiliate my country itself. Like a TV programs, can’t romance writers write love stories that aren’t
vulgar but still romantic? Love is universal
language besides music, so, don’t
narrow the meaning of love with such ragged romance stories like that. And love
must not only be shown by sexual desire. Only narrow minded
people who think that sex is the only way to show how you love someone.
Writing love stories that fit in market tastes (applies to
any type and genre of writing) will probably bring more popularity and money. So, should our principles and idealism be
traded with those kind of things?
Have a great
day everyone! Don’t forget to be happy.