Overheard Corner: Feminism, Gender Equality (In A Book Club)

March 19, 2016

Last week, it was my birthday. I was born on March 9th, in the morning of Jakarta time while the other part of the world still 'celebrates' International Women's Day. And so last week, part of the world is dominated in pink to celebrate women and... equality.

Talking about women, nowadays, cannot be separated with equality issue. When IWD came to 2016, my friend's Book Club is taking the issue with a popular book.

It was cool. Lots of men and women attended the club and shared the POV and situations. Yet, men's old ego and conventional thoughts were in, as well. Interesting.

The first pages of Lean In is about girl being bossy at work. Oh shits like that happen. Men can be bossy, but women can't. Men deserves better salary and privilege. If women wants more, they have to face sayings like "ambitious, selfish, and forgetting birthright" thrown to their face along the way.

So, people from book club... why is it interesting?
It's book club.
Where I think, people who read books are supposed to be smarter than those who don't. More open-minded and have knowledge more than anyone else.

Don't get me wrong. I naively think people who don't read aren't just plain stupid, they're just good at something else. (((MAYBE))).

Turns out. It's a blurry thing...of being open-minded. Once again, we found ourselves back in grey area.

A male programmer came up with statements and question. Long story short, he doesn't believe that women can do programming, because it's a man thing. Well, I was a VB programmer and web programmer starting when I was 12. I created my first website when I was 13. I received the best grade in school, winning from those men. It's just a matter you're interested to do it or not.

After the club was finished, I got introduced to a boy. I don't know his age and education background... or what books he has read. But this is our conversation:

This Guy: "As this is about women, not many of men coming. Usually there are many men, too."

Me: "Oh, really? So they're not coming because the women theme?"

This Guy: "Kinda"

Me: "Ha! So this is equality, huh?"

This Guy: "Yeah, I don't believe and agree with gender equality."


---this stupidity surprised me.

Me: "What? Why?"

This Guy: "People aren't born the same..."

Me: "Yeah, everyone is always different."

This Guy: "There's rich and poor... we all can't be the same."

Me: (this guy is definitely @#$%) "Of course, but you're not born to be men or women, or rich or poor. This equality isn't just about a piece of shit. This is about more than anything you can imagine. See if you're poor, somebody says you can't receive better education. That's not fair. If you want it, you should be given a chance or people should let you try. and not stopping you. No matter what you're born to be, you should be allowed to chase what you want to do."

This Guy: "yeah, correct. Just like LPDP, the people who receive the scholarship is mostly upper middle class."

Then I started to get confused. Did he get the point? Or did he just try to runaway because he couldn't answer me back? Dragging the topic to LPDP receiver?

So yeah. Books are great stuff. But again, books are media. You have to choose what you read and believe. Or you shall be misled.

These men can say such thing like this because the so-called lame patriarchal culture. Why? On TEDx stage, Michael Kimmel ever said, 'privilege is invisible to those who have it'.

In mass media, we were given an analogy: does fish know that they live inside water?

People with power won't realize until what they have is taken away from them. Just like the fish. they won't ever thank for water they have until they live inside water. Once they are taken out from water, they will struggle to breathe and finally understand that it's actually the water that allows them to live.

Talking about equality won't be solved in a day. The change the world has for gender equality is actually like a fight with an iceberg. Too much power rooted down, so strong and unseen.

The challenge isn't just coming from the men who stands up with patriarchal. But also from lazy and brainwashed women who just gave up, who just bitch up towards other women, and who doesn't think far ahead.

What I think gender equality is.... that we shouldn't be classified of what we are. The same chances, the same respect.

I know some woman who still don't want to bring heavy stuff and saying that it's men thing. You know, even man has his own limit. It doesn't mean that you're a woman that you can't hold up heavy stuff. We all have certain limits. Every human does, not classified whether you're man or women.

I remember someone used to said, male pride only burdens and trouble man himself. He has to keep strong, not showing emotional feelings while he actually needs to. Some men are just faking up their strength to hold on their manly image. And it's exhausting.

Gender equality isn't arriving as it is the time for 'coming of age'. It's a matter of when we realize we should.

I Am Malala tells us that there are some men who oppose women for education; learn from Jane Eyre to make decisions for yourself; Living History opens up the journey to make it between love life, family, career and politics with betrayal in the middle; Entrok shows that feminism and modernity changes in each generation and yet spirit to fight conquer anything; Aku Jalak, Bukan Jablay reminds us that people see widow differently and unfairly; and, it is much more harsh for women who committed affairs? Madame Bovary shows love does should be passionate, as well.

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