Sunday 22 March 2015 at 13-15 pm, Selasar TIM, Jakarta
Chief Editor Jurnal Perempuan & Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta
Just like the rain forest and the ozone layer, girls’ hair has been disappearing in almost all Islamic-based schools and universities. The young, fertile, and desiring bodies as the body grows aged are obligated to be hidden from the public gaze. Girls’ hair which was still visible in the 1980s is being cleared; anybody could see how the world has changed. Its disappearance tells this study something about womanhood, the state of love, the human and the relation of body and soul. Hair construct who the woman to be. When it is being concealed under a piece of cloth, then she gives particular meaning to the body, whether she loves her own body, celebrate it or simply reject it. She can love and celebrate the body as well as veil it. Any possible body construction is always possible. Ample ways of defining the self. The informal school law on girls uniform has morphed into removing all the hair. To be not veiled will certainly ruin your reputation (Abu-Lughod, 1986). Hair is a metaphor of sin and concealment of sensuality and intimacy. Hairlessness and Jilbab marks the post-girlhood. Yet it is also marks the divide between the demonic and angelic. The bare-headed and the hair are closer to demonic selling sensuality and intimacy in a cheap way. Femininity was located in the observance of veil. Rambut (the hair) signals women’s capacity to make life, the way women knows they are no longer girls and boys. It is an evolutionary relic. It also informs female genetic qualities: whether straight or curly—a magical garden where one can live forever, sign of fertility. The image of high-end Islamic fashion with no show of women hair has increasingly shaped the sexual imagination of legions of young men. A sign of safety! Meaning girls are not engaged in extra-marital sexual relationship. New definition of erotic desirability is embedded into the veil instead. Novel meaning of sensuality is now being defined by a piece of cloth.
The sexual imagination are being frozen by camera, widely tagged in Facebook. It is a visual excess of jilbab with a minimum of tradition sentiment. It is not a love story, a celebration of high-end Islamic fashion and novel sensuality validated by the religion. As hair disappeared on screen, phantasm of sensuality is changing and being newly reconstructed. Girls are being asked to wear Jilbab and girls struck the specter pose. A contemporary Islamic body is not a body that loves and celebrates, a body to which love adheres to the literal script. It is a uniform for heaven fantasy. That fantasy has a history. The timing of hairlessness photos tell a shriveling tale. Reduced and shrinking narrative of sensuality which is valid and legitimate in its own way. In the 2000s the female teen Islamic body becomes an erotic fetish. Sensual pose embedded into the Jilbab. The female teen fetish wearing jilbab went mainstreaming at present. The Jilbab might not feminist but feminine instead. They could challenge male predominance though not a feminist or understanding feminism. A mingling and fusion of horizon is vivid in those leaking categories.
It is what happened before this that is significant. It was the make-up and sophisticated hair-do on the head—specifically covering the hair. This recalls the pleasures of womanhood with high-end cosmetics and luxurious branded bags and shoes. Feminism did something to say: It sought to reproduce the sexual binary norm, the public, pleasure-seeking man versus the private, love-seeking woman. The paradox is that the young women is looking for spasmic flash on photos displaying sensuality and deploy in the vanguard of high-end Jilbab. Muslimah magazine such as Annida or other secular long-existed magazine have frequently displayed jilbab iconic fashion shows that signaled the erotic repertoire, a perpetual reminder that you are Muslimah, and Jilbab is your absolute definition. Not until the 2000s that the question of ‘You are Muslim woman right? Why don’t you wear Jilbab”? A question never existed before 1990s.
High-End Religiosity and Leaking Categories
The high-end Jilbab has also signaled new sexual readiness, not unlike lip gloss used to signal a girls' availability for kissing. Jilbab offer a pure ready sexual phantasm that is legitimate and halal to be seen. The history witnesses the showing of women legs, hair, and curves are normal. Yet history curtails and reduces those into a mere “liberal demonic appearance”. The same is now happening with the hair. Even women who are about to deliver babies still put on the head veil (Mernissi, 1991.). "Everybody is going to be in that room," one explained, "and I don't want they see my hair." Private space is becoming public space. Because women could now forthrightly demand their freedom wearing Jilbab—if she got hers, she should be acknowledged fully as dignified and they expected their community to grant her reciprocal mutual respect. In a society that has disclosed all women hair such as in Aceh Province, it is no wonders that the smell of a woman’ hair has also been erased as a baseline experience. Hairlessness, like wearing Jilbab, advertises that a Muslimah has been purified for male taste and religious favor.
Reading a visual narration of high-end Jilbab fashion show is a dynamic observation and observance. I think the disappearance of female hair marks both a nature disdain for womanly fertility—its complete look, its smell, its very nature, but also a women’s desire to look “religious”, the implication being that their natural bodies are “dirty” with the uncovering of the head. It is about becoming an instrument of pure religious pleasure—an active forgetting that one’s body is built to birth and to love basic part of it. There is a deep historical irony here: Muslimah women are pursuing sexual pleasures that were made possible by a feminism that also asserted the beauty of the natural feminine body. For these women, their sex is no longer dirty, but their hair and skin are. It is a discourse of gaze. When public gaze is not allowed, what can women do to celebrate the body if not the high-end make-up and fashion items. Secure website specialized on selling Eastern and Islamic fashion are mushrooming since 2005. Store reference jilbab for all season collections, the long jacket and rigor of cotton for the tropical Indonesia. Elegant and prestigious caftans and Indian women apparel are also available with the motto “Our broad to cover your body will look and style”.
This study has been surveying Muslimah student eroticism for several years now and one thing is clear: young women who don't love and don't feel loved tend not to wear make-up. The Jilbab contributes as gateway to academic success and holy path to Allah. Even though they have to fight the uncomfortable capitulation to Islamic fashion market as a portal to fuller affection, it is a mark of female sexual availability to men on masculine terms, a regular rite of submission in the similar mode; “secular” women may show the affection. It is conditioned by the fact that just as women are achieving academic predominance and breaking into field after field as the economic order increasingly seeks the verbal, social and emotional skills they have to offer, the terms of trade are turning against them in their own expression of bodily expressions. Educated Muslim women must increasingly submit to the sexual demands of a shrinking pool of suitable men for whom the bedroom is one of the last domains outside of a football stadium where men can be men. And reciprocally for women, it is increasingly only their bodies that set them apart. Religious look is feminine. Religious is acceptable code for pretty, like the smooth cheeks on their faces. Religious body is a form of historical forgetting on the lust sensuous function of body—a corporeal denial to be precise. Novel corporeal religiosity is at work and unconsciously channeling the libido. The disappearance of women’s corporal unit says something about the way the conservative community construct humanness, how they compose their bodies and souls. The disappearing of femaleness, of skin, of hair is a hot issue in the changing meaning of sensuality and sexuality in contemporary Muslim civilization.
Disharmony, dissonance, of skin exposure is here and there. Given by many Jilbab wearer who showed their neck yet cover their hair; or exposing their arms and legs but close the hair; it is always impossible to define static inches how women should cover their bodies. It is at all times diverse in expression with Jilbab permanently embedded skin deep into their daily lives. Cohort of mothers, Ibu-Ibu, usually mocking and humming like chirping birds, any women, who they consider not conforming the “syar’i” normative. In turn they Jilbaber who show a bit of their neck, arm and leg turned to the social media. Social media is also prone to peer bullying, being targeted and taunted as not Islamic with their corporeal photos. They set up imaginary character who flashes a world in which they cannot materialize in real world. Sometimes, they also expose their bare-headed photos, even photos with mini-skirt! It is telling us that a particular sensuality could not be invented in the real world.
Don’t judge me wrong, even commercial sexual workers wear Jilbab—a thought that is familiar in the middle east where this cloth came from yet not for the Indonesia who still considered it as a piece of sacredness. In an unprecedented move jilbab moves a bit powerless as pressure and enforcement have made women put their own meaning to the cloth they wear. Jilbab gave up the notion after being questioned by its user, but invited everyone to gather on the discourse to debate, discuss, deconstruct the corporeal reminiscence that they able to grapple on the reach of their own horizon. Musing and fusion of horizons are received and posted in the imagery of religiosity and womenhood. Instigator of action and a turning point drove solidarity of an extraordinary sisterhood under the banner of Islam. It drove them and kept them all nights at their computers, posting images of Jilbab and their corporeal self--rejuvenating the virtual mosques. The brutal attachment of Korean style into Jilbab fashion celebrates the echoing spirit of another cultural invasion. It is being bended, twisted and adapted into the Islamic normativity.
With hindsight, this was the moment when a community of women united, and then crumbled. Arrival of Korean fever was celebrated in a surge of religious unity but it also marked the return of divisions. Without their common enemy, the Korean fashionista became political rivals. Relations were undermined by suspicion, copy-paste and defamation: “How they could copy our dress in such a cheap way,” said Danti, who has a big media profile among the youth in Solo. “We are divided now. Some girls by each other, others don’t. They blame us because we used a style which cannot being verified by Islamic codes”, continued her. She is also disillusioned: “Since Korean sinetron were being bombarded by Indosir, one of major leading national TV in Indonesia, there is such a hubbub on the social media of how are being mesmerized by those styles. It is difficult to make ourselves heard for this new passion.” Girls have had a huge influx of adapting Korean-Islamic jilbab including many new followers who understand false information and being tampered with online shopping. The result is cacophony.
A cacophony of enthusiasm in using social media, they can befriended and shop at the same time. Girls’ helplessness and confusion should be heeded; even though it contradicts with what the world they should live. They have legitimate voices of progressive forces that define the future of Indonesian Islam. Enthusiasm among the girls for the role of social media in Indonesia has overshadowed the experience of their apprehension of Islam-ness. On pilgrimigae to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, many Indonesian artists are not only carrying out haj rituals but also a pack of fashion-style paraded on television that is ready to be copied by their fans. The white satin beauty being shown with a Bilqis layered dress with a sequined high waist jacket is paraded on the airport approaching their departure to Mecca. Every TVs aired them! They have also unintentionally become real life models of Indonesian Islamic fashion, girls enthusiastically reported. In an interview with Jetti R. Hadi, editor in chief of NooR, a magazine specializing in Muslim fashion, explained that the allure of Indonesian created Islamic fashion have attracted many women in Middle East, especially in Mecca and Medina. They commented that Indonesian Muslimah is wearing such a sophisticated and up-to-dated Islamic fashion. “They are so attractive and pious at the same time. A price that we could not buy here since creativity is so being limited and restricted”. Things that Indonesia are now beginning to corrupt the legitimate freedom of expression and creativity by themselves.
There are always a growing number of Muslim women adhering to Jilbab, observing the Islamic principles of covering the skin and hair. And the blooming of the fashion industries brings with it a vibrant economic dynamic. Indonesia is stated as the “Mecca” of Islamic fashion. With imported contemporary Islamic fashion are mostly streamed from Pasar Klewer, Solo, Central Java. Muslimah wear and accessories is becoming the 20 percent of total Indonesian fashion industry which worth approximately US$ 1.7 trillion in 2008 alone, said Jetti in NooR Magazine. Compared to the Middle Eastern who are dominated by Morocco and Turkey, Indonesian Muslimah fashion styles are dominated by the intermingling of Batik and Kain Ikat. Batik and Kain Ikat is being newly reconstructed from traditional Javanese code into Islamic fashion. Transfer of intimacy and sensuality are re-imprinted into the new Islamic code of fashion. Taboo sensual more is intact in the portrait of Batik motives. The exuberance picture of animals and flowers and other perplex traditional pakem/design. Top designs are Up2date and Bilqis that promote traditional motives under the Islamic mores. Indonesia has beautified herself as the Islamic wear fashion destination for Malaysia and Brunei.
Scary image of Islam is now being downturned by such a vibrant colorful fashion wear. In the pretext of national stability on freedom of expression, Muslimah fashion show are held in an escalating numbers. Myriad of exuberant images and portrayals are displacing narrative of suicide-bombs and remorseful death of it. Islam is still at the top of selling point. The growing market and the many fashion shows that include Islamic categories have so far influenced Indonesia mainstream fashion designer who never design Muslim wear previously. Itang Yunasz, Ghea Panggabean, and Sebastian Gunawan are among the few established national designer who have produced the Muslim fashion concept. It brings lots of money, they said. From a tight Jilbab and those loose one covering the chest, vibrant diverse concepts are being created anew every year. Artists are usually the leading concepts produce who then followed, copied, re-copied by freaky fans! They could still abide the law and being fashionable at the same time. A rigorous promotion of Bandung-based Up2date and Solo-based Bilqis have an international reputation, least at the south east Asia, like Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and Thailand where Muslim resided. Bilqis is predominantly defined by elegant Batik pieces from Solo. Up2date choose a mix-match of Paris and Korea styles concepts. The communicating transfer of styles concept being exported from traditional codes to being imported from Western-Korean style is a hybrid denomination establishing Islamic fashion. A place where sensuality, intimacy, corporeality of women-ness are being transfixed and being reproduced.
Price of Banality
Of super-market, mega business, Carrefour, bank, insurance offices and other departments stores, being Muslim-friendly is cheap and good for business. In little Jakarta, a woman staff of a bank who are rejected because of her veil, who insists on wearing jilbab, tries to expose the Islamophobia of her fellow Indonesian money owner, usually Tionghoa ethnicity. A case involving BCA (Bank Central Asia) in the 1990 were notorious. But now, all banks are competing to establish Bank Syariah. They are all either tolerant or giving more spaces for expressing the Muslim wear. It is a must for all women staffs at the Bank Syariah to wear Jilbab. A force that never happens before the 1990s. This era marked the dominating discourse of establishing right wearing Jilbab which were previously being banned by Soeharto. The 2000s marked the mushrooming birth of Bank Syariah which last up to now. BNI Syariah Bank, BPD Syariah Bank, Mandiri Syariah Bank and other national banks. The corporate world is never Muslim-friendly before 2000s. Yet attitudes have changed dramatically. Some 90% of national television now ban discrimination on the basis of Jilbab, which previously banned jilbab wearer presenters, and only one TV station which does not let jilbab wearer, the famous Metro TV. Commission of Human Rights has urged any offices to accept jilbab wearer unconditionally. Progress has taken place in a wide range of textile industries which profited from jilbab wearers—women labors are required to cover their hair. Jilbab wearers who were facing difficulties in applying jobs during the Soeharto era, are now leaving a history of victory to their predecessor.
Plenty of talent-driven Jilbab wearer filled the necessary jobs in banks and high echelon at the governmental ranks. Industrial giants have accepted them as well based on their professionalism. Department stores and malls are competing with each other to produce the most imaginative Muslim-friendly policies. What caused this corporate revolution? How about the film and entertainment industries? Islamic concept has usurped there as well. Artists faithful to Jilbab such as Inneke Koesherawati, Aminah Cendrawasih, Nani Wijaya, Desy Ratnasari, and an increasing number in the year to come are never stop stripping Islamic sinetron crowded the TVs. Mostly it happened because changing attitudes in society at large have reduced the cost of Muslim-friendly, and raised the rewards. A generation ago in the New Order Era, creating Muslim-friendly workplace might have upset the regime. Now it probably won’t. But failing to treat Jilbab wearer equally is very likely to drive them to seek employment elsewhere. Since they are perhaps 80% of the national talent pool, bigotry makes a firm less competitive. Nothing can never stop economic power and growth of women wearing Jilbab no matter the professions she opts.
Cacophony of skin among jilbab wearers is scandalous. The more women opting for the Muslim wear, the more women leak the way they contradict and speak against the iron law of covering. More skin are shown at the offices. Exposing branded-shoes with an original women skin instead of socks is always tempting, they said, as well as official outfit following women curves. Being fair to Jilbaber is arguably simpler than being fair to terrorist, they stated (Jones, 2002). Jilbab wearers really do not differ from other women in the amount of time, on average, that they take off to raise children. And there is no obvious answer to question such as: “How much paid maternity leave should a small firm offer?” So basically women’s access and right to it is far from being certain and secure, be she jilbaber or not. Being Jilbab-friendly can attract Muslim customers, too. The 2000s had witnessed how a secular bank created a private-banking team called Syariah Bank that focused exclusively on the Muslim market, courting Muslim non-profits and providing seminars on financial planning for domestic partners. Until now Bank Syariah had brought in more than trillions US$ of business.
The Islamic revolution is far from over. Nearly half of national film production is embedded with Islamic-theme such as Sang Pencerah, Ayat-Ayat Cinta, Mata Tertutup, etc, with established Director Hanung Bramantya as leader in this business. And even the most enlightened film production cannot make up for intolerance in Islam toward sexuality and intimacy in Islam-branded movies. Yet it reaches the box-offices. A genre of movie containing no sexuality or intimacy is at its top selling point. Sensuality, intimacy and sexuality is instead being wrapped gracefully with Jilbab. Indeed it works well as the market still buys it. Still, the Islam revolution in the workplace is remarkable. In most places, companies are more liberal than governments. In the coming years, the revolution is likely to gather pace. Younger businessmen those owning money are far more relaxed about Jilbab than their parents were. Indeed, many young businessmen whether Muslim or Tionghoa or Christian would feel uncomfortable working if failed to treat Jilbab wearer decently. Companies vying to recruit them will bear this in mind. They changed their mind that Jilbaber is connected to bigotry. They have been out from cubicle realizing the potentials jilbab wearers have compared to those who do not wear. And the jilbab wearers are out of the cubicle as well pursuing their career as jilbab is not identical with domesticity. A sensuous Jilbab wearer is absolutely legitimate. And it could be sold through movies for certain. Viewers love to see a constrained love with a jailed and restricted sexuality and intimacy (Epstein, 1967; Turner, 1989).
Fashion designer serving the Film Industries has tried to make clothes that not only serve the function to cover the body yet having sense of art and sensitivity in it. Sensuality, intimacy, and sexuality have been converted into another form of expression. Not the showing too much of the skin, the concealment of women skin instead. It is an intricate business anyhow, to provide conservativeness and sensuality at the same time. Sometimes they have to turn to be an oxymoron: a dissonance and a contradiction of needs, roles, and responsibilities when it deals with sacredness and banality. Not a simple task, anyhow. The visualization of elasticity, suppleness, and femininity are at maxim point. Representation of sensuality is put forward on the quietness and gentleness of the artists wearing Jilbab. It is basically a hard task to juxtapose the idea of sexuality on the basis of skin exposure and women curve into the contradiction of it, total bodily concealment.
Indonesia is now becoming the hub of Islamic Film production that not only sell religiosity but also sensuality which is defined by a dash of conservativeness. With the strongly buffeted personal publication of head-veiled girls onto the screen of their social media, and the changing attitude toward private life as public display instead, there is also a mounting increase of a strongly skeptical attitude toward Jilbab—formerly acknowledged as religious signature now turns to a mere meaningless piece of cloth which any woman could take on and off politically. A political iconic deed is in demand, wearing it on when entering the schools and universities and wearing it off while entering a different space. A space in-between in which they politically employed is a place where they could exercise power which they do not have in classes. It recommends strategies that included breaking the religious myth. To advocate peers to do so, they protect peers and form alignment of “click”. Click of girls in this discourse of Jilbab is strengthened with the arrival many Islamic-based militant organization that recruits students (Abuza, 2003). A vicarious yet muddy public understanding about this discourses has enliven the lurid significance of contemporary Jilbab. Militants can never allow a display of sensual Jilbab. It never comes across their mind that Jilbab wearer could show such an intimacy and sensuality. It contributes to the changing meaning of sexuality.
Given the potential impact however, Jilbab attempted to confirm the accuracy of the altered and varying meanings that are documented via the websites or personal blogs. A sterile and a serious lapse of rigid orthodoxy cannot simply be solicited based on Islamic judgment and ethics. It is a torrential force that Islam shall accommodate and confirms. The girls made changes or alterations of any kind to Quranic interpretations regarding Jilbab that was imposed on them since a child, yet the practice of sensual display simply takes place and made into public. It marks the personal room of intimacy exported into public room. A public room that is all in one is transparent and visible to their parents and teacher. Their photos leave a trail on the history of women bodies. The problem for the girls is that suspicion will only grow among peers with their brevity in displaying skin. Sakinah has admitted using deception or false names to get a space where she could post their picture without the head veil. This is simply not a deception, a practice which is very well-known by the girls of how to stay “existed”.
Sensual deception under the rite of head veil will not destroyed Islam’s credibility and harmed others—so to delve into girls’ perspective. Those documents have bearings of religious battle, and certainly not either a personal tragedy or shame, though it might be devastating representation for her colleagues, friends and family. Worst of all it will almost certainly produce a backlash against religious conservativeness that has advocated it at a politically sensitive moment. Until now, a woman has been required to observe Jilbab when entering the mosques and religious congregation—a moment that was rare during Soeharto era. It is the entire stranger given that particular feminists are speaking against it. "Everywhere we are asked to observe Jilbab. This is not imposed on men." Lies Marcoes Natsir, leading feminist of Indonesia based in Jakarta (Bush, 2002; Candraningrum, 2008). Still, proponents of Jilbab said they were wary that the movement rejecting Jilbab was only aimed at secularizing the nation. "We are not stupid; we know that Jilbab is now at a political top-selling level. Many politicians and civil servants are now observing Jilbab. So we will be vigilant to see that it is in fact been misused and abused for none of religious objectives. We have angst that our girls are corrupted by the West”, they warned.
Their group and sister movement, such as Aisyiyah and Fatayat Nadhdlatul Ulama pledge to the televisions to reduce sensual advertising using women of veil. Existing advertisement using Jilbab is The Sari Wangi by Inneke Koesherawaty and Hair Shampoo product—which strangely did not show women hair. Television has sought to reduce the use of sensual Jilbab on ads in recent years, but to little avail. Kelompok Pengajian Ibu-Ibu (Religious Congregation by Mothers) notes the persistence of terms referring to Jilbab, without justification or need, to women's pious situation. It asks parents and school administrations to eliminate as much as possible such images. Young women shout loud protest in the Facebook to mark her liberty from the parents’ and school’s curb. It is once again at battle over the meaning of a piece of cloth, between the older generation and the young one. The faith, family and fundamental rights of girls are basically being contested as well. Over the past few decades, as most of the Moms and Daughters have embraced Jilbab, the majority-Muslim Family has waged war against pornography and free-sex. There, abortion is strictly prohibited and crackdown on dating are common—media and polices are adversely catching illicit lovers staying in motels or hotels, actions that did not touch any contemporary Western countries (Lewis, 2002). Abandonment of contraception and condoms are becoming widespread among militant religious groups, such as LDII (Lembaga Dakwah Islam Indonesia). Mosque officials promote what they call “natural” family planning: women are advised to track their cycle and abstain from sex on all but their least fertile days. They cast artificial contraception as an affront to God’s will, a gateway to abortion and a threat to public health. In their minds, condoms are “abortifacients” and family-planning campaigners are propagandists of a culture death”.
This type of thinking has led several Ulama and Ustadz to try to curb the use of modern contraception. It gives rise in maternal mortality, a slew of unwanted pregnancies and evidence of injury caused by clandestine abortions. The mosques’ campaign against modern contraception has led to an epidemic of unsafe abortions in the religious circle as well as over population; many PKS politicians have a group of minimally 7 children in a family like Yoyoh Kusroh (Ramage, 1996). It is obvious for the public and placid-docile for the women that a restrictive approach to reproductive rights can and has hurt women. Behind the Manichaean religious rhetoric espoused by some conservative Muslims hides plain truths about public health: access to contraception decreases maternal mortality and lowers the number of abortions. Program on birth control is becoming a vicious battle field—that was never happened during the Soeharto era (Mujani, 2003). A comprehensive study of World Health Organization confirmed that abortion rates in countries that prohibit or restrict legal abortion are no different than abortion rates in countries with liberal abortion laws; the only reliable way to reduce abortion is through the provision of affordable, accessible contraception. To cap off Muslims’ debate on contraception there has been a surge in births outside marriage, the fastest growth being among poor girls in their 18s with some high-school education. More than quarter of births to women under 30 now occur outside of marriage. Is this really a time to try to limit contraception? What about the reckoning of the reality of human lives? And there it is: reckoning with the reality of human lives, and saving them too. Even Jilbab is powerless before the raising death of mothers giving birth and the numbers of girls being sold in prostitutions (Abbot, 1974). Girls wearing Jilbab sold as prostitute!
100,000 children—predominantly girls; and women are trafficked in Indonesia per year (UNICEF, 2012). The United Nations defines child trafficking as the recruitment, transportation or receipt of children with the purpose of exploiting them. Poverty, lack of economic opportunities, poor level of social status, high demand of cheap labors and commercial sex, weak law enforcement, conflict and discrimination are prime trigger to child trafficking. Girl is sold of Rp.100,000.00 into servitude in private homes, street beggars, and factory labors, as much as prostitution. Besides drug and gun trades, trading the girls are lucrative business in many tourism hub such as Bali, Batam, and Jakarta. Girls from rural poor areas are sold in those places and other big cities in Indonesia such as Surabaya, Medan, Makassar and Semarang. Child prostitution is a clandestine if not translucent business in Bali, where many tourists secretly consumed this forbidden sex in their home-countries. There is always a underlined highlighted statement among Indonesian traditional conservatives Mothers of “the dangers of being female”—reason why girls are kept, guarded, and limited despite enjoying formal education. Girls hang-out at night are still a taboo words among Indonesian families. There is always news on the objectification of women.
The last decade was big on bad news for women. First, a family in Jakarta was convicted for killing four female relatives, then a woman was allegedly strangled by her husband in Kediri, and then a high-profile charity decides to withdraw funds to screen women for cervix cancer. There are two things that struck this study as noticeable about these events and their news coverage. The first is that in all of these cases, different as they may be, women are being punished for being women. The Jakarta killings were allegedly motivated by the girls' dating and wearing girly clothes. The woman in Kediri was supposedly killed because she had slept with her neighbors and apparently having affairs with him. And it is hard to think of a gesture that more clearly targets women for just being women than defunding screenings for cervix cancer. The second thing that is noticeable about coverage of these recent events is that many people have expressed their outrage over them, making this study feel tentatively optimistic about the future for women's rights. With that in mind, people will start caring and expressing outrage about these three very common ways in which women are being punished for being female. It justifies assumptions about female weakness that at the end should be saved by her Guardian.
Despite the fact that many women are the sole or main providers for their families, and despite women's advances as middle managers, women continue to be underrepresented in top leadership roles. A repeatedly points to assumptions about women's "nature" as key barriers to promotion has worsen the myth that women are not thought to be as assertive as men, and are seen to lack vision and strength. It is telling that many job adverts suggest that qualified women are encouraged to apply. Men, this seems to imply, are qualified just by being male. What makes situation worsens are the punitive laws related to women’s sexuality. Sexuality is succumbed to satanic and demonic allure that should be concealed, obscured and curbed. Societies have viewed and regulated women's sexuality differently than men's for as long back as we can dig up evidence about. Semitic religions, whether Christianity or Islam, expect women to be chaste and demure; and punished or ridiculed those who were not (Hitti, 1940; Epstein, 1967; Brenner, 1996; Hasyim, 2006). Today, laws to punish women for having sex with the wrong persons at the wrong time for the wrong reasons persist in almost all countries in the world, ranging from the criminalization of female adultery and of abortion over laws that punish drug use during pregnancy to social services provisions that punish poor unmarried women with more than one child. At the basis of all of these laws is one main thought: Women should not really want to have sex. As long as women are undervalued, expected to bear the entire price of reproduction, and at the same time required to be outwardly asexual, the world will see more women and girls killed, maimed and their health needs discarded. Feminists have continued to muster outrage and actually generate change. It is always a long stony tricky and deathly road to cross. And Indonesia was one of the most anticipated destinations for the objectification of asexual women because it is still rife with child trafficking issues. Heavy tourism regions such as Bali, Batam, and Jakarta are among the areas most vulnerable to child exploitation. Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bali are included in the heavily import of trafficked girls from poor rural areas of Java. There is still always a tremendous drive, energy, self-assurance and a genuinely big heart being combated by many organizations to help these girls. Child trafficking is one of humanity’s most terrible crimes and Islam probably is still in its deep slumber. The discourse of Jilbab and the changing meaning of sensuality, intimacy, and sexuality have put a milestone to the history of Islamic civilization in Indonesia.
Gender-Bending Social Media
Gender-bending photos in the social media is not a very vague idea that at its core the mixing of gender stereotypes was something that made a stab on every teachers’ perception of the meaning of the self—selfhood of their students in the class which are potentially directed toward a more decent imagery of Muslimah. A teacher, Ibu Atiqa, one day just struck by a sensual photo of her student, of what she expected simple poses of classis pin-up imagery of a head-veiled student which is Islam culturally recognizable, especially in terms of her immediate association with the guise of femininity instead of adulation of the self. From the portrayal Ibu Atiqa began to construct characters against a twist that could both allure and confound. A societal brainwashing has drawn the question of “why is it considered sexy for a girl to pose in such ways”—a jarring nature of the unfamiliar called “too sexy and demonic”. A question that never expounded for boys posing similar photos on facebook. Sensuality and sexiness in Indonesia is not belong to man unfortunately. And this myth has curbed women and girls from restraining the self to judged in that way. As society implies and community dictates, gender is not naturally born for it is a naturally continuum-based materialization (Ahmed, 1992.). It is thus not a matter of black and white—shunned from suggesting feminine versus masculine. Girls and boys expression cannot be so rigidly defined, into which particular cubicle is belong to certain gender, because those definitions built on a frozen myth that enliven the discrimination and misunderstanding. A freer, open-minded approach can allow such an untainted gender-bending conception of the complexity of sexuality— tampering with and re-inserting the sexual-minority into the black-and-white phenomenon.
Meanwhile a protest against pressure on women’s expression is getting excessively reproduced in the social media, where sense of liberation has driven women to wage war against male’s control. Such an apocryphal story has upset and many are cringed and deleted the email shunning away from war on words. A never-ending barrage of fear is mongering and over-the-top rhetoric being blasted from both militant groups—those by religious militants and its counterparts. Actually there is no need to be anti-men to be pro-women. There are millions of good people among the conservative who simply have genuine differences of opinion about what is best for their daughters. Demonizing girls’ sexuality is not helpful in finding solutions to vexing problems of trafficking and prostitution. Hating the opposite sex and hating the religious script only breeds more hate. Speaking the language of war or participating in war-like gatherings whether in its conservative circle or its enemies are also propagating more hostilities and repugnance. The sexual snag exhibit a severely repressed desire on groups of young schoolgirls. Dressed in white blouses over long blue skirt with matching white scarves covering their heads, the girls looked like a flocks of lovely little blue birds flitting from one part of the class to another. Each class was monochromatic—a flock in robin's egg blue outfits, another flock in flamingo pink, still another in canary yellow—so sweet and pretty, talking quietly among themselves as they took notes. The visual anachronism of these young, innocent girls touring the schools is an exhibit of pressure youth sexual nature in which dating or sitting next to boys is forbidden.
The history of school uniform for girls represents a terrific well-researched timeline, an archaeological artifacts, artistic renderings and scientific contribution to the history of sexual desire among the youth that has gain no attention from even school curriculum. It should be hidden! Throughout human history, men have always had a vested interest in controlling women's sexuality. Many are exhibiting such a frozen yet living account—from mechanical devices such as metal chastity belts, to modesty clothing like burqas, hijabs and abayas, to laws proscribing what women were allowed to do, be and have. In myriad ways men have exercised control over women's sexuality and reproduction throughout the entire course of human history. This study surmise that part of the answer can be found in biology: perpetuating his genes, the human male wants to sire his own children, and he is worried about unwittingly raising any offspring sired by someone else. His biological imperative is to perpetuate his own genes in the human species. This instinct is hardwired into the human animal. Another part of the answer can be found in sociology and psychology: a misfortune that can befall a human male is to be cuckolded by an unfaithful mate. What men want and need most is respect. And an unfaithful wife means that the man is pitied, ridiculed, disrespected and diminished in the eyes of society. Such a threat to his masculinity and self-esteem must be prevented at all costs. It produces many men who are hyper-vigilant in protecting their women and their self-respect from potential foes. Beside that economic dimension is fueling men urging to control women’s sexuality. A control toward the economical investment he has made in the family embedded into the control toward his daughters’ sexuality—protecting his own breed—granddaughters/sons. As a primary breadwinner recorded in the history, women are still regarded the contributing and supplement to major role played by her husband. A family is a relation and investment of money, time and energy—so to say, despite major psychological trigger such as the name of “love”. Indeed under the rite of love, sexuality is interpreted as a vested interest on another form of psychological possessions.
Schoolgirls’ uniforms and their Jilbab validate a complex and multi-faceted human sexuality, instead of war between the sexes. A more thoughtful, rational, contextual look at gender differences has established the why and how sexual control taken place. Ethnobiology, zoology, sociology, history, psychology, economics, anthropology, political science, theology, and the arts have helped human sexual behavior. It expounded a comprehensive answer to the world most vexing sexual problem on trafficking, abortion, and child prostitution. A more thoughtful approach has diminished that no one is waging war on women. Men are probably simply acting out an instinctive biological imperative that was being reinforced by thousands of years of history and tradition that led to any lengths to control women's sexuality (Stowasser, 1994). The bottom line is that men feel the need to exert control over women’s sexuality due to dreadful outlook of his sexual existence. Facebook page has justified previous myth. And a full search of anatomically-accurate maleness is not as exuberant as girls. Google recognizes a female face more frequent than male’s. Men are just shown brief stats and simple photos, if not football, or sport, or vehicles. Thus females’ photos are vulnerable being abused that men’s. Facial recognition intensifies the process of abuses as well as violence. Click of photos download in FB has added as well to the dramatic of missing girls in Jakarta—which are apparently being landed in the Bordil house—into the thousands rapes in the prostitution industries.
The question in my mind that I wanted to answer here in Indonesia was “What does sexuality look like to young Muslim women wearing head veil?” In order to answer previous question, I retour and am doing virtual travelling through photos displayed in students’ FB and twitter. This was to further understand the relationship between these girls’ own perception of sexuality. Interviews are becoming major output despite their photos. They are going to reflect the messages through society, school, media, and fore mostly family. Education on sexuality and reproductive health is of prime importance globally, yet is still frozen under the taboo word of traditional Indonesia. A family ethos which usually based on traditional female and male segregate roles, punctuated by conservative attitudes, toward gender sexuality, are reinforced through religious education and thus characterizing the very patriarchal base Indonesia has to inherit. It is a dominant conception. Of these that influence how sexuality is viewed the role of Masjid is primary. During the 2000’s there were revivals of ethnonational Muslimah identities. Islam as historic national religion is one of the core ingredients of ethnonational identity. It is a marker and vehicles of social mobilization. The raise of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono regime directly served to strengthen the role of Masjid in the society. Gentrification and localization of the norms and mores from the community into the mosques implicated the rise of religiosity among Indonesian since 2000’s. The influence of the Masjid as the ultimate moral authority strengthened conservative viewpoints and policy initiatives on abortion, sex education, homosexuality, gender roles, woman leadership and violence against women. Interviews and photos with jilbab have consolidated these forces beyond their control. With the installation of a more liberal medias at the same time as the rise of conservatives Pengajian and news on medias. Indonesia never comes to attitudes about tolerance on sexual freedom until now. And thus the adulation of the self through social media becomes the sole sources for expressions.
What does this mean for young woman in Indonesia? Does the influence of Masjid act as lens through which they view sexuality? Or does the more global trend of freedom on sexuality? Does women who are chaste and under the command of absolute male Imam is sexy? Findings are leading me to acknowledge that there is no such of general or one answer on sexuality. The notion of sexuality within this broader idea of conservativeness and the pretext of religion is playing vital roles. The hyper-sexualization of media industries are both influential forces in forming the sexual scripts for both male and female adolescent in Muslim families in Indonesia. Yet the lack of sexual education has resulted in an incomplete understanding of sexual behavior, underdeveloped communication skills and fragmented knowledge on sexual issues. It means greater exposure to abortion, risky sexual behavior, sexual infectious diseases, as well as unrealistic expectations and distorted view of one’s own sexuality and to sexuality itself. Photography and social media has given these young men and women the opportunity to express their worldviews on their own fractured understanding.
Youth have been thinking a lot about marriage when it comes to sexuality. It is a huge unthinkable issue the western scientists could take consideration. All Indonesians need to finish high school or university and then get married. Indonesia is no different, however, when it comes to the images and portrayals that bombard the young with hyper-sexualized movies. Perspective of male is major click in the photography system. Female sexuality is defined and reproduced to sell and manipulate viewers on the meaning of “sexuality, beauty, and sexiness”. Those three are reconstructed and reframed within private photo display in FB and Twitter that honor particular histories, cultures, and individual psyches of the owner. Indeed, their photos have deepened their own way of seeing the body and the meaning of self-image in front of the public. Body images and self-adulations are widespread. Human sexuality is a conception going with life stages, and it continually influences human experiences: sensuality, intimacy, and the more economic dimension of body sexualization, as well as the latest commoditization of hyper-sexualized media. Self-discovery is always genuine within the concept of human instinct. Questions of: Who am I? How my body is seen? How powerful is the act of seeing? The act of being seen? How naked I am? Am I going beyond the boundaries? Or within the normative mores? How the environments react to my body? How I act upon my own body? What are the functions of eyes? All those questions are hovering across every girl’s mind when they would like to display their photos!
They have all the control yet the subversive latent underground norms are still calling for more polite expressions. Ghosts of control are ubiquitous. The superego, ego and id are working very well in controlling the body, in particular women’s bodies. Sense of insecurity is also being felt and disclosed when they have to pose in a sexy way. It is simply inappropriate, they acclaimed. Re-evaluating the self and notion of sexuality are walking hand in hand with the pre-text of religion. A dwindling echo on sexual education has worsened the cases on abortion and spread of HIV-Aids. The most obvious challenge was language to converse, the signposting of the genitalia, and the experience they have. It is almost impossible to unveil. The cultural significance of the context of talking sexuality brings with it connotations of huge difference in meanings variations. The masculine and feminine archetype of sexuality and intimacy are intact. The Kantian golden rule of sexual segregation is there very much unreformed and unreconstructed. Question of “are you the man or the woman in sexuality” is a question being extrapolated most of the time. A socially defined gender role has constructed the very sexual identity.
The lack and loss of its cultural significance is laid basically not on its cultural practices instead on the openness and the breaking myth of sexual taboos. Very few of reflection upon the model has begged an exploration of the role of feminine and masculine archetypes and how it construct complement and conflict in the terrestrial meaning of sexuality. So when it comes to the notion of man, then man is physical, a formulation of physical creature, hunter and associated with muscles, measure and proximity of sensual male body. It is translucent, vibrant, and tangible with no real magic or mystery. Vice versa women are depicted as contemplative creatures, mysterious figures, and embedded with ghostly beauty. Masculine and feminine beauty is the thread that holds the fabric of society together. Feminine sexuality should be invisible, timid and not exaggerate while at the same time hyper-sexualized female’s body has driven girls into the media market in an unprecedented ways. Too much exposure, too much money, too much skin, too much beauty product, too much fashion, all is contributing to cultural relocation of the novel meaning of sexuality.
The gender roles and the manifestation of the masculine and feminine archetypes in terms of sexuality negotiate social presentation of girlhood and boyhood. This study found a grey area. It is no longer that men are linear and women are circular or that women are contemplative and men physical. What arises is an awareness of the delicate balance of social roles, gender roles and archetypal tendencies strongly influenced by the economic and political dimensions that entrenched into meaning formation. To put it into term and a better idiom under the rite of heteronormativity, androgynous. Feminine qualities are gendered constructed as formulation of compassion, creativity, sensitivity, a manner that is both gentle and gentile. Diminution of emotional investment has a fragile subtle consequences a girl could possibly be affected. Female’s frustration does this in a psycho-energetic attempt to balance her own meta-personality structure. Very much a woman, the depth and breadth of her masculine archetype and its evidence and manifestation prompts her to be the "man" in a relationship. She is roundly emotionally unavailable, greatly lacks an understanding of intimacy and intimate expression, generally unexpressive and her sex play is very "male", genitally focused and narcissistic. Consequently, she will maintain a relationship and investment in that relationship despite her frustration with what she perceives to be her sexual possession. There is a distinct and demonstrable difference in the way that men and women approach issues of intimacy, sexuality and emotionality that is clearly the engine for much of the conflict and tension in transgender interpersonal relationship. Previous phenomenon is not so cut and dried as it seems on the surface. Indeed it lubricates a much complex subtle understanding.
Girls with a lot of really flamboyant things they utter on intimacy are cute. Linguistic significance celebrating sexuality are being employed in some kind of interactional and stylistic intimacy end. The language of sensuality emerge from the culture gained from a hyper-sexualized media in which male are doing all the potential click—decision making. A burst of public recognition and economic ratings are decided based on the measure of skin and curviness. It is a linguistic curiosity of the parents and teachers indeed!—a guttural fluttering of the vocal cords they called vocal sexual intimate fry. A classic example of vocal fry expression is best described as Jilbab and Arabic language embedded into a raspy or croaking sound injected. A sensual picture is displayed with a “bismillah, alhamdulillah, and other Arabic expressions” captions. It makes all those photos legitimate, they expressed.
Re-Narrating Lust and Disgust
The conservative notions about restricting body expressions and limiting sex education are the way to bolster Indonesian values. The causalities of marriage and the ways in which Muslim capture its economic benefits are as it turns out not as as complex as the relationship itself. Marriage is indeed becoming a luxury ticket to sexuality: not necessarily well-educated or well-off people are more likely than others to be getting and staying married, the poor are getting married even much younger (Stern, 1939.). Meanwhile, divorce rates for much of the rest of the population have increased in the past five years nearly doubled 500 percent. The point about volatility of sexuality is very important because there is increasing evidence showing that sexuality is just as correlated with marriage volatility from the perspective of the conservative. The correlation between volatility and sexuality, say that pushing young people who are not ready into marriage is not the solution. There is one other crucial point about the sexuality of the youth that is not getting enough play in the primary debates in school curriculum. It is being tabooed and denied all the time. Reopening the debate of sexuality is never possible, less in school curricula.
Girl’s body is representing a monstrous symbol as a moral corruption, whose embezzlement of Indonesian values could flame the revolution of free-sex. It is the curbing of girls’ sexuality rather than boys to keep the so-called Indonesian values. In rape crime, girl was being investigated and scrutinized and judged unfairly by performing zina—illegal sexual intercourse deemed to be sinful lee she was married to the rapist. Indeed it is a tale of woe! While grassroots feminist democracy campaigners saw government’s corruption caused all the miseries among the poor, the poor saw that it is women bodies has caused all the troubles. Wives, mothers and girls were then being heavily repressed sexually. Younger finer girls generation of glossy magazine-style, however, are freely walking on the economic base of sexuality—having a total different fate with their fellow girls in schools in which the new cold and calculating conservative girls are emerged.
Interlacing religion and sexuality will always end up in the locked-terminology of taboo. Gender hierarchy is long created to control a mother to a daughter to a sister to a friend. Intra-sexual hierarchy are created to prison the power-leveling advised by legion forces of age, race and ethnicity, as well as class of social, political and economy. Religious tradition, in this sketch is precisely Islam, has been mediated through physical aspect of our bodies. A personal discovery is always in the intersection of the spiritual and the physical. Physical journey of orgasm blamed by purified spiritual ritual. As small children, girls learn about who they are in the physical world by discovering the boundaries between their bodies and the sacredness of religion. Thus to proclaim very briefly, talk of none of it. It is taboo. Anyone teaching in any Indonesian schools will hardly find any sex education since it is overtly valued as dangerous! Angst is everywhere then. Narratives of sexual intercourses or abortions are whispered. Many sayings are in metaphors. Girls are silenced. She cannot tell her abortion. She cannot tell her divorce, her slavery, her fight for freedom. She can hardly remember, and she speaks in whispers. As girl becomes socialized, she is raised on the understandings and critiques of gender, and physical relationships with others form women identities, a vessel for relating to the world, and also a spiritual puzzle: which is body, which is spirit, and how does her faith inform the understanding of both. Though they are still educated under the popular media, from style magazine to newspaper articles extolling advances in understanding sexuality and intimacy—deal in corporeality and sexuality are religion which has a great deal to say, to dictate, to ordain, to be precise.
Sacred images of womanhood are now widely disseminated to pronounce how to dress properly allowing no space for engagement, less criticism. Aspects of sexuality, gender and corporeality are never a dialogue. Girls’ perspective and conversation are shared online via socmed. Secret erotic oases are recreated and reproduced under disguise and in a subversive ways since visibility is impossible, otherwise it will be promptly banned by conservative religious officials. Thrashed condoms on the beach are to be burned, and the illicit lovers, depraved and as shameless sinners, will be roasted in hell! Couple with Jilbab could even steal a few clandestine kisses with lust and angst. Jepara coast, every morning, will be the stage of such drama. A hidden little dead-end street in Solo Balapan railway station, cars begin arriving at sunset, some evenings bringing as many as teens amorous couples. Quarter of the girls wear Jilbab, but that does not prevent them from wearing skin-tight, long-sleeved tops and heavy make-up, as well as bright cherry-red lipstick. Boys are like boys everywhere, placing their arms around their girlfriends’ shoulders and even sliding hands into girls’ blouses. Much lust are displayed, road to visibility.
Suggested strategy is to wear a fake wedding ring, an approach that believed not to be deceitful, paternalistic and preachy—bending the angst and a lie is sometimes good safety technique for unmarried couple under such a repressive regime of taboo legion. Public scrutiny is never less in disseminating angst in Aceh. The way youth are being sexually curbed and physically abandoned. Homosexuality is verboten. Yet their lives are tolerated. Stoning and lashing are being introduced in 2010s, but are massively rejected. It is too tangible to be called as barbarous under the banner of Islam stoning a person’s sexual orientation based on hetero-normativity. Much debate still goes on in the legislative level—and a law passing on stoning gays or lesbians to death might possible in the future. The radar is sensitive and they should conceal their activities from public inspection. The plight to be homosexual could be overcome by fake marriage, and sometimes the hetero couple misunderstood the message.
Lust and passion are being performed in prudence and discretion. That is the sole option when tangibility viewed endangering pillars of religious beliefs. Tons of anger are expressed via socmed. Secret spots are everywhere when state hypes and hides corruption under the vessel of woman body. Prohibitions have been successful at suppressing everyday sexuality. Religious censors in Aceh are desperately trying to put a stop on what they call as corrupted morality. Little is being done to curb corruption. Corruption is halal! Any failures government performed are trashed away into the dust-bin of western excess and woman body. A counterforce to feminism is said to be legitimate. And those cohort of women are said to be whores! Any illegal illicit sexual intercourse end up in the hail, and they are forced to get married in a few months. It is a sexually frustrating zone, an interviewee reported. How they denied they own bodies under the banner of politicians’ extreme bully. Many youth are suffered from a disabled broken heart if not frigidity—living in a perfect angst to intimacy. Even for sitting girl next to boy is being failed (separation of sexes in classes!), less holding hand in hand. Eyes to eyes, stiff inspection, those are the task of Sharia polices—being much hated.
It then creates sort of sexual frustration. Sins for sins are visibly avoided, if not being displaced from the community, labeled as degraded sinner. While for the middle-east tourists living for a couple of month in Indonesia could enjoy nikah sirri, a temporary and pleasure marriage based on short-contract. Everyone knows it is an intimate sins being labeled as halal, and feminists are speaking boldly against it since it appears lurking the doom and fate of the temporary wives. Anything smells Arab though related to sexuality is given permission, while anything Western is verboten, such as the banning of Valentine Day. Though Allah has been described in Quran as al Wadud (the Loving) in Surah Al Buruf, Muslim youth are verboten to celebrate so called pagan satanic celebration. They associated it with illicit lovers performing affection between sexes mostly unmarried and fornicator who will be burned in hell. The western is Christian, it an enough credo to ban it. The innocent and harmless celebration is regarded as too dangerous as well as too satanic. It is understood to be a festival of sexual license harming the youth morality. So to speak “do not celebrate that pagan festival!” Everyone will agree that now a woman wearing a headscarf is not a symbol of oppression but to proclaim female self-confidence. They wear scarf to celebrate their independence, and no wonder, I am witnessing many women wearing Jilbab celebrating Valentine Day independently out of the Ulama’s sights! It is the tainted soul, they valued.
Those behind the veil, the cloth, the scarves, is lust, a feeling of intense desire which stands in contradiction with purification. Lust is heavily tightened up with sins that need to be pleased, to be delighted with full of vigor and compassion. The body is used in performing Sholat, and part of it also used in sexual intercourse, in the middle, everyone shall perform the wudlu, to purify the body with holy water. Intense unbridled sexual desire shall be controlled while performing fasting as well. Enthusiasm and eagerness for sex and for food shall be heavily controlled. Thus the body is a battle field where problematic question in philosophy always arisen, from pain to pleasure, from redemption to purification. Sentiments of shame and sadness are being reproduced by sinners. Human existence shall be described with the value of purity instead of sinned-body. A Muslim shall consider culmination of lust as last wall of avoidance. Orgasm is the horror of every drama in ritual, and shall be washed out by water. That is why woman shall dress modestly and not to be attractive because it is endangering the faith, so to speak, male’s eyes will be haunted and hurt most of the time. Libido is excessive and it is the domain of Lucifer, the Satan. And women bodies resemble that perilous libido. Do not talk of male body; it is woman body which is chosen to represent the harmful part. Girls shall be taught to decrease their attractiveness as well as sexual desire. Sort of lust shall be demeaning to create a balance society—putting the lies to girls, solely. Bodies are degraded, not both sexes, yet a mere sex: femaleness. It is a medieval angst ever reborn in the 21st century, hatred to the sight of female corporeal. The corporal hatred turns to mental angst, among girls.
“I cover my hair, yes, but I maintained the curve, to be well-versed in fashion, well, I shall not be out-mode, at least”, a student of Universitas Paramadina told me in an interview. Karina has a boyfriend, and clandestine kisses are visible, yet not sexual intercourse. The limit is on the vaginal penetration. She believed herself not to be sanctified or polluted or tainted or even sinned to hell. That is the way she bends religious values and modernity at the similar pace. Discourse of lust and angst are driven competitively in a unfair race where she and her boyfriend shall control any penetration. They create the limit of the hell, limit of the sin. A creative hybridity of authority toward lust, intimacy and sexuality—not necessarily informing this to the consent of their parent, less teachers! That is how the youth in Indonesia are now dealing with love and lust under the banner of religious affirmation they received from dogmas. They did not consider it as sinful longing, less the inward sin which leads to the falling away from Allah, nor lust as the origin of sin. Though the dogma has place lust in the heart, because it is the centre of all moral forces and impulses and of spiritual activity, so lust must be wiped out and erased. Karina unmask her tabooed femaleness in confidence while still embracing Islam passionately—performing five times Sholat in discipline.
The memory explores the tabooed body in social media photos display as a performative medium capable of penetrating the public sphere. It is a form of writing against. Representation and expressions of the body, of the lust, of the love, have swept away the conservativeness with conflictive results. Historical experiences and cultural production are crucial to consider, a reflection of continual thread allowing more space for visible sexuality. Internet has been used to resist power structure, to explore the individual body’s claiming in popular culture and observance of Islam and Jilbab. By violating traditional taboos such as sexuality, lust, cross-dressing, intimacy, and adulation of self, women’s voices often empower the sexed body while redefining family structure and values, as well as conceptualization of angst inside the gender hierarchy—angst of a daughter to her mother or her peers. The abundance of intimate and sensual photos wearing Jilbab weave a connective thread throughout cultural production of recent decades as a legitimate part of cultural Indonesian Islam in the 21st century.
Aspects of taboos and euphemisms in cultural production are still leading the way on the most outer layer, yet inside the fabric; everyone will find the rich, radiant and lustrous expressions of lust and love being expressed without fear. Apprehension and trepidation are tangible among faces in schools, but they will change soon after reaching the internet. Panic room is staying in-between when parents or teachers are catching it, but out of these all business, they are safe upon the cloud. The linguistic devices that women employ to express lust and love are usually euphemisms. Euphemisms are exploring the motives of intimacy, lust and freedom, yet should undercover them all from perceptible torment. Angst is becoming fertile ground where euphemisms and metaphor of intimacy and sexuality being reproduced and rejoiced. Undoubtedly it represents a wealth of vocabulary in oral culture, as well as, the waning power of religiosity.
Women’s bodies have been reproduced as source of leisure, pleasure as well as disgust. Women’s fats in literature, art and popular culture have been seen as monstrous and defiled and disgusting. Vulnerable to stigma is closely related to femaleness, either thin or fat, both are disadvantageous. This framing has led to the stigmatization of aspects of women’s bodies: lines in the skin that indicate aging, lumps of fat, fairness of skin, and shape of nose. Those are considered as threatening for women themselves which then being reproduced, and forcibly stigmatized in later phases. Ways of resisting, reframing, and coping the stigmas are rarely discussed. Debunking stigma and demystifying physical beauty are ways to be honest to femaleness. Air-brushed femaleness onto the bill-board—mostly cosmetic and fashion products—is being debunked to satisfy lurid and vivid honesty of being female. This study rejects the way women stigmatized other women using the weapon of body proportion. It is massive and ubiquitous in the public.
The stigma attached to lust and sexuality by the dogmas has created suffering indeed. The pervasiveness of morality views toward lust and sexuality are undeniable in mainstream Indonesian Muslim society, situated both institutionally and interpersonally. The youth perceives it as torture. It creates angst. Previous angst has amplified the personal experience of stigma, and that is why the youth should ameliorate their expression of lust: either hetero or homo relationship shall remodel its sensitivity and interactions under public gaze. The cultural bubble simply could not let they go. While much of the discussion surrounding body image and appearance revolved around the current orthodoxy, this study wants to take a moment to reflect on how this double-standard often creates certain stigma for women. How they are being sold, and then being nullified as amoral, almost happens at the same time. Vagina is sold in the porno industry, functioned as cash-cow, while at the same time, being cursed for tainting morality. It is the community double-standard putting such a multi-burden to femaleness. How horrified and petrified having breast or vagina then! Beauty is then of over-burdened consequence, since happiness is denied woman. Women’s tales of woes are narrative of anguish, despair, and misery—lurking from marriage, divorce, abortion and plastic surgery. Thus, the moral of the story is tale of petrified body—unhappy narrative. How women negotiate Jilbab, interpret body and access to justice is no longer stand equally. Women’s bodies are devalued, revived and reread as part of the religious memory. Speaking of women’s special responsibility, their duty and their obligation as a woman to retain high standard of appearance, of one’s femininity, self-respect and pride; while at the same time sanctioned by religion not to reveal the skin and the hair to emit signal of sexual interest and availability since the sole right is in the hand of patriarch. All those burdens are pathetic.
Femaleness is valued as commodities and stigmatized heavily at the arena of religiosity. Corporeality finds it suffocating and wretched in dismal. Stigma on lust attached solely to femaleness has undermined possible causes of the ample diverse experiences facing by women around the globe to hail against. Women shall define beauty based on their own horizon, one which fair and equal—sweeping away derogating stigma. Fantasy of love, of lust, of intimacy, and of sexuality are legitimate in its own way—being experienced and undergone by women of bare-headed or women of Jilbab. It is a source of liberation in which memory of religiosity is no longer suffocating, petrifying, or killing.
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