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7 Things About Indonesian Culture That I’m Critical of

A few weeks ago I tweeted about everyday sexism in Indonesia, and had a little bit of chat with Mbak Yoyen and Mbak Deny. I also got a lot of replies for those tweets, and it made me think about other things in Indonesia that I didn’t like.

For the longest time, I have these pent-up frustrations about some things in Indonesia. I find these things to be an everyday occurrence, things that people barely think about because it happens too often that they’re perceived as normal. I think there’s some sort of unconscious acceptance regarding these matters as they’re shaped by the local culture, and people don’t criticize it because maybe they think it’s normal, or because it’s how it is (thanks, culture). Suffice it to say, these things irritate me no end. I wrote about some of them on my list of Things That Shouldn’t Surprise You When You Live in Indonesia, and here’s some more (apologies in advance for the long rant).

1. “Respect people who are older than you”

I’ve heard this being said for more times than I care to count. The problem with this, is that it insinuates that older people deserve more respect, and younger people deserve less. I don’t agree with this at all. You respect people, regardless of their age, religion, sexual orientation, etc. By default, I’m polite and I always respect people until they do something that proves they aren’t worthy of respect (by the way, this also makes me wonder whether this is the reason why the culture of seniority is strong here. I have a lot to say about this, but I’ll save it for another time).

2. “It’s better to get married as soon as possible, while you’re still young”

This, of course, is a very personal thing. But I see many of my peers are being pressured to get married, regardless whether they’re mentally ready or not. There’s even an unwritten age limit that people refer too, and these people would say “The clock is ticking!” and take it even further by saying it’s better to have a minimum age gap with your children. No, no, no. You don’t tell people they should get married, or when to get married. They can get married if they want to, and if not, that’s cool too. And if they want to get married, you leave them alone to decide when they are ready.

3. Wedding as a showcase of wealth and prosperity 

When I heard the stories of people selling their houses to fund their children’s weddings, I thought it was exaggerated, and there was no way it could be true. But it is. Wedding in Indonesia is such a big thing, an important affair for the big families. More and more people in my generation opt for much simpler, smaller weddings, but they’re often faced with oppositions from both sets of parents. And so, to avoid arguments and stress, they go along with their parents’ wishes. People who still think that wedding is a showcase of their wealth and prosperity often go out of their way to present themselves in the best possible light, as they know that people scrutinize weddings to form ideas of how well-endowed you are. It is quite common in Indonesia to ‘fake’ some layers of the wedding cakes using styrofoams (because bigger & taller = better, obviously). The bigger your wedding is, the wealthier you are. While it’s entirely up to people how they want to celebrate their weddings, I think it’s necessary to break the perception that the scale of a wedding is related to your wealth.

4. Everyday sexism

A girl needs to wake up early. A girl has to have a tidy room (“How is it gonna be when you’re married and you’re messy?” As if tidying up is a job for girls, and girls only). A wife has to prepare her husband’s breakfast (and any other meal, for that matter). A girl needs to be able to cook, and when they’re deemed good enough at cooking, then they’re ready to be married (isn’t it funny how cooking is designated for women, and yet high-ranking positions like chef are mostly dominated by men?). These are the examples of things that are often said to girls, too often that people have normalized it, unaware that they’re completely sexist. When I hear someone say these things, I’ll tell them that it’s sexist. They need to be made aware of the implications of the things they say. And maybe, you can tell them this quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Do not ever tell her that she should do or not do something “because you are a girl.”

‘Because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything. Ever.

5. Victim blaming

“You were harassed? What were you wearing? Don’t wear something revealing then.”

I’m so, so sick of hearing this (and trust me, living in Indonesia, you’ll hear this a lot).

In here, sexual harassment is not taken seriously. Catcalling is something most girls in Jakarta have experienced (I don’t know about other areas, but I guess it’s pretty much the same). A friend of mine was walking back from her office when someone on a motorbike groped her, then grabbed her hand and dragged her to a dark alley. She managed to break free and ran away (thank god). While this was happening, there was a lady witnessing all of this, and she did nothing. Rika wrote about her experience in Jakarta many years ago, and honestly reading that makes me so angry.

It’s so important to not stay silent when you’re experiencing this, or witnessing this. Scream, draw attention, and tell authorities if you see any. And the most important thing, don’t tell women what to wear, tell men not to harass.

On another topic, in some areas where the patriarchal culture is still strong, women will be blamed if they cannot produce any male offspring. To say that it’s ridiculous is an understatement.

6. Being nosy of people’s personal lives shows that you care

“Do you have a boyfriend? When are you getting married? I’ll be waiting for the invitation.”

“You’re not planning to have children? But why? Children are blessings, and they will bring fortunes.”

“Why do you never go to church anymore?”

Oh people, STFU. It’s none of your business. When asked about getting married, I have this really strong urge to reply “Why do you ask? It’s none of your business. And anyway, you won’t be invited to my wedding. I plan to only invite family and close friends.” When I meet these nosy people, I usually give them a tight smile and say nothing. But I’ve been trying to gather the courage to say, “That is something personal, and it’s inappropriate to ask that.” These people need to learn a lesson too.

7. Unpunctuality

This irritates me too often, as it happens almost every time. Not being punctual in Indonesia for casual meetups is acceptable, people don’t really give a fuss about it when you’re late. 15-30 minutes late is okay, no notifications needed. Sometimes 1 hour is even okay, when you live in Jakarta. Dear people, no. Even 5 minutes late is not okay. And if you’re gonna be late, have the courtesy to notify the person you’re meeting. People have their own agendas and to-do list, don’t assume they’ve got all the time in the world.


I know that not all people agree with me, but what do you think about those? Share your thoughts, I’ll very much appreciate it. :)

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47 Comments

  • Reply aggy87

    I can have a loooooong rant about all those you mentioned above too haha. Not to mention people talking about your weight “gendut banget sih kamu, kurus banget sih kamu”- all is wrong and it’s not even their body. I’m very outspoken about these things but people see me as “galak”….*sigh* it is so tiring sometimes being a woman in Indonesia. But the least we can do is write about it, so kudos to you!

    February 6, 2017 at 4:28 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Oh, that too! Sering banget ya ketemu temen yang udah lama ga ketemu, kalimat pertamanya komentar gendut/kurus. I don’t think they’re aware that it’s highly inappropriate, so maybe that’s why they see you as ‘galak’ when you speak up about that. But these people need to know that this is not okay, so kudos to you too for speaking up. I agree there’s a lot more pressure being a woman in Indonesia, compared to other places.

      February 6, 2017 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply damasdamas

    Ooh boy there’s so much I want to say about this post. But let me just comment on just a couple of things.

    4. Everyday sexism

    The notion that men are entitled to more than women is ingrained so much in our culture that even arguing against it is exhausting in and of itself. A real conversation with one of my ex (who is very religious) when I told him I am a feminist goes like this.

    Me : I think that men and women have to be treated equally. And they are entitled to the same things.
    Him : Oh you think so? Well I think that you’ve been brainwashed by America. No matter what you say, men think more logically and therefore they are more capable in every kind of work compared to women. Men have to be the breadwinner and therefore it’s logical that women will be in charge of the cooking and the cleaning. For a woman to be ambitious in her career and neglecting her family is the greatest sin because their main job was always to be a wife and a mother. That’s a woman’s sole purpose in life. (note that guys can pursue his ambitions according to him, but not girls).

    It got to a point that I don’t even want to say that things are sexist or that I am a feminist anymore because then people will challenge me about religion and accused me of being brainwashed by “Western Culture” that I just want to shut up and get out of the way.

    5. Victim blaming

    As I am the girl in your story, I can tell you that it get worse than that. My co-workers comments about the incident : “Oh that’s all your fault. You’re too busty. That’s why people want to grope you. If that was me, there will be nothing to grope!” As if that was my body’s fault for being groped. I didn’t wear anything at all revealing. But still, it was my body’s fault. It was my fault that I have a body like this. My other friend’s comments are also equally as unsupportive : “You’re too weak. Jakarta will spit you and chew you out. You wear dresses and skirts and you walk to and from work. It’s like you’re telling your harasser that you’re up for grabs. Wear pants next time. You have to get used to Jakarta”. So that was my fault again, it was the choice of outfits that was at fault and not the harasser. Being sexually harassed is normal here, and I just have to grin and bear it and get used to it.

    6. Being nosy of people’s personal lives shows that you care

    Honestly before I experienced it myself these days at my mid 20s, I never realized that this is an inappropriate things to say. My aunt married an American guy, and shortly after the wedding my dad asked the guy when are they planning to have children. My aunt ushered him to the side and told him that it was inappropriate of him to ask that because they didn’t even know whether they were planning to have children or not and regardless, it was something private between the two of them and not for public consumption. My dad got angry and pointed out that it was a “normal” and a “good” thing to ask because it was just wishing them well and giving them prayer. This kind of talk was so normalized in Indonesia and most of us just argued that it’s just “wishing them well” and they didn’t mean to be nosy.

    I used to just fake it to be like other people. I used to accept things as they are. I was never brave enough to speak out against things that I thought was unjust because I’m afraid to not be liked or be judged. But now I am trying to be more vocal, to voice my thought, to also fix my tendency to do all of those things you mentioned unknowingly without even thinking it. I was accused of being a liberal just because of my views on victim blaming and feminism. I tell them, I’m not being a liberal. I’m just trying to be a decent human being.

    February 6, 2017 at 8:56 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Oh wow Damas, your comment made me realize that some things are worst than I thought.
      4. Brainwashed by the western culture??? I wonder if this is why many people in Indonesia are so narrow-minded. They brutally reject everything that doesn’t fit what they believe, and refuse to see from another point of view. I’m just shocked that kind of guy still exists, I thought our generation was already doing much better than our parents’. Reading his comment on this matter really makes me mad. Wish I could meet him and tell him my piece of opinion haha (but maybe that would be pointless haha).

      5. It will always be the girl’s fault. She’s too busty, her clothes are too revealing, etc. This is so normal here that they expect us to just let it go, which is exactly the thing we shouldn’t do.

      6. I’m struggling with this on day-to-day basis, as it seems like most of the people here have little to no grasp of how inappropriate this is. I used to just smile and stay silent because arguing with them would be too much of an effort, but lately I’ve been thinking they need to know that it’s wrong so they will stop (although I doubt they will). Some of them even need scolding, haha. I think we need to tell these people that well-wishing and being noisy is mutually exclusive. Why can’t they wish us well by saying things like, “I wish you a lot of happiness” for example? It’s sincere and it’s enough.

      Like I said, I don’t want to stay silent anymore when I experience this, because I don’t want to normalize these things. That’s why I decided to speak up, and this post is one of my ways of doing that. I get the feeling you have a lot more things to say (probably more than I do), and maybe you could write a better post haha. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experiences. Glad to know people who see that this is not right, and are willing to speak up. And also, I don’t think there’s anything remotely wrong being a liberal and feminist. If those could help you be a decent human being, and a lot more open-minded, why not? Screw those people who say it’s bad.

      February 6, 2017 at 4:48 pm
  • Reply denaldd

    Nomer 1 : setuju banget!! Menghormati dan menghargai itu ga pandang umur.
    Nomer 5 : aku mengalami sendiri, sudah pakai baju gombrang, berjilbab, dan warna gelap pun tetep disuitin dan dipanggil2. Seringnya kudatangin orang yg memperlakukan aku gitu lalu aku tanya “panggil2 saya? Ada urusan apa? Tolong sopan ya, saya punya nama dan siulan Anda itu sangat tidak sopan dan melecehkan saya” temen2ku sampai bengong sendiri pas lihat dengan mata kepala aku ngedatengin yg nyuilin. Kata mereka, biarin saja. Wah aku ga bisa, musti dikasih tau orang2 itu.
    Nomer 7 : aku orangnya tepat waktu bahkan datang lebih dulu kalau ada janjian entah itu meeting atau janjian lainnya. Harapanku orang2 akan begitu juga. Kenyataannya banyak yg ga. Aku akan toleransi keterlambatan 15 menit kalau dengan pemberitahuan jauh sebelumnya. Tanpa pemberitahuan, 10 menit. Kalau ga ada ya tinggal dan aku kirim pesan bahwa aku ga bisa nungguin lagi karena telat.

    February 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Mbak Deny, salut banget Mbak Deny berani ngedatengin dan negur mereka. Emang harus digituin ya, kalo ga mereka bakal terus kayak gini. Ah, tapi pake baju apa aja ga ngaruh, mau gombrang atau ga, kalo cowoknya brengsek juga bakal tetep disuitin. Sedih deh banyak banget kejadian kayak gini di sini, dan cewek2 yang ngalamin ini rata2 ga berani buat negur, pengennya langsung cepet2 kabur aja karena ga nyaman (yang aku bisa ngertiin banget, walaupun aku tetep berharap mereka negur kalo dapet perlakuan kayak gini).

      Aku juga pengen deh mbak bisa tegas gitu kalo ada yang telat, tapi kalo ke temen deket kadang masih suka ga enakan. :( Salah sih ini, aku harus bisa lebih tegas lagi. Mungkin aku akan pake rulesnya Mbak Deny hihi. Harus mulai begini karena ku ngerasa orang2 ini karena dibiarin jadi ya mereka santai aja.

      Makasih udah sharing pengalamannya ya Mbak :)

      February 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm
  • Reply Nazura Gulfira

    Very well said, Dix! You always know how to perfectly put your thoughts into words. I often think that some of your posts represent my thoughts better than if I write them myself :)

    February 6, 2017 at 3:25 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thank you Ozu, that’s really nice of you to say. I think we’re very much alike in a lot of things, including this :)

      February 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm
  • Reply Ditaa

    And oh oh, “Gendutan ya?” I once managed to reply with “You know what, it is disrespectful to say that. It is not polite and can hurt someone’s feeling.”

    February 6, 2017 at 5:23 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Yes, that too! Indonesians are avid weight watchers, and they could be really blunt about this. Good for you for speaking up like that, I hope he/she learned the lesson :p

      February 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm
  • Reply Jalan2Liburan

    Katanya memegang adat ketimuran? Ahh itu sekarang hanya slogan sayangnya :-)

    February 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm
  • Reply saribainbridge

    Sukakk Dixie, yang nomor 3 dari duluu banget sebelum punya pacar udah punya cita2 merid yg kecil2an aja.. karena liat merid di Jakarta tamunya ” datang, salam, makan, pulang” dan si pengantennya cuapee dari pagi ampe malem and ga happy, dan apa2 mesti woww habisnya jangan ditanya berapa..yang sebenernya itu bukan inti dari pernikahan

    February 6, 2017 at 11:55 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Betul Mbak, kayanya cape banget ya jadi pengantin, trus seringnya juga banyak tamu yang ga kenal krn kenalan ortu dll. Cuma ya gitu, masih banyak yang ga enak kalo ga ngundang si X, si Y, si Z. Takut ntar orangnya tersinggung katanya, atau takut ntar mmalah diomongin. Temen2ku ada yang nikah kecil2an, di FB-nya penuh orang2 nyelametin tapi pake embel2 “Kok nikah ga undang2 sih?” Padahal terserah pengantinnya kan ya mau ngundang siapa aja.

      February 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Arman

    hahaha udah jadi stereotype ya… tapi gua bilang belakangan udah semakin banyak yang gak gitu juga kok ya… udah banyak yang insaf.. hahaha

    February 7, 2017 at 5:18 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Iya, semakin ke sini untungnya semakin banyak yang insaf. Cuma justru orang2 tuanya yang kadang ga setuju.

      February 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply kutubuku

    Very good post! one of the main concerns when I’m visiting Indonesia. Udah ga tahan rasanya lama2 disana, don’t get me wrong – I love my family, I love the food, I love the nature, tapi orang2nya itu loh, yang kaya ditulis diatas bikin darah tinggi!!

    February 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thank you :) Bener banget, to be honest aku juga ga betah tinggal di sini, sisi positifnya Indonesia (menurutku) cuma family dan makanan yang enak2 plus murah, sama salon & pijet (ga ada yang ngalahin kalo ini), udah itu aja. Kebanyakan bikin stress :D

      February 7, 2017 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Nerissa Rahadian

    I can totally relate to every point of this post Kak Dixieee. Apalagi yang nomer dua, bahkan aku yang baru saja selesai sidang langsung dicecar pertanyaan “terus kapan nikahnya?” honestly what’s really wrong with our culture :”””)
    But in my opinion the last one, the victim blaming, is not only common here in Indonesia but also in other countries, that is why all the women out there triggered to protest about their rights as women; unlike here, it’s still a bit taboo or weird if we speak out our thought like that.

    February 8, 2017 at 5:13 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Yes, unfortunately, victim blaming also happens in other countries as well. While in some countries (e.g. US, UK, etc.) more and more people have taken a stance and speak out and protest with tremendous support, I see that in here victims don’t get much support. They get more blame than support, which is really sad.

      February 8, 2017 at 11:08 am
      • Reply Lorraine

        Victim blaming di Belanda yang aku lihat hidup di kalangan imigran. Orang Belanda asli sih ngga gitu.

        February 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm
        • Reply Dixiezetha

          Wah hebat ya orang Belanda asli. Dan emang bener victim blaming ini culture, mungkin imigran2 tsb masih kebawa culture daerah/negara asalnya. Di beberapa negara maju aku liat masih ada beberapa kejadian di mana orang nyeletuk nyalahin korban rape/harassment, misalnya korban lagi mabuk jadi mereka yang disalahin (“Makanya jangan mabuk, jadi ga bisa jaga diri” semacam itu). Untungnya orang2 yang komen kayak gini cuma segelintir, dan langsung dapet backlash dari banyak orang.

          February 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm
  • Reply Lorraine

    Well written Dixie. Sayang ya masih ada aja yang begini. Kalau ada orang yang tanya macem-macem ingin tahu gini aku biasanya tanya balik: untuk apa tanya.

    Dan memang itu bullshit bener hormati yang tua. Yang betul hormati semua orang seperti layaknya kamu ingin dihormati, yes? :-)

    Yang gemesin juga kalau denger perempuan udah menikah mau janjian sama temen perempuannya; dia bilang harus minta ijin suaminya dulu. Waaa, once married that doesn’t mean you’re your husband’s property. Sementara si suami hangout sama temen-temennya toch ngga minta ijin ke istri. Ngga ada habisnya deh bahas ini dari semua sisi.

    February 8, 2017 at 9:20 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Wah bener ya Mbak, ditanya balik aja untuk apa tanya.

      Hihi bener banget itu, hormati orang seperti kita ingin dihormati. Tapi masih sering banget loh denger kata2 hormati yang tua, datangnya mulai dari keluarga, kenalan, guru, dan banyak lagi. Masih lumrah banget wejangan ini.

      Yang perempuan minta izin ke suaminya kalo mau pergi itu ‘wajar’ banget di sini, bikin aku geleng2 kepala juga. Soalnya di sini nganggepnya anak cewe itu selama belum nikah masih ‘punya’ orang tuanya, setelah nikah jadi ‘punya’ suaminya, jadi kalo udah nikah harus nurut suami. Kadang2 kalo denger orang bilang gini tuh kaya denger lagi ngomongin barang, ada serah terima dll. Gilaaa. Haha bener kata Mbak Yo, ga ada habisnya bahas ini.

      February 9, 2017 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply Tannya Aditya

    orang indonesia itu terlalu banyak standar, tapi mereka cuma mau kalo orang lain yang sesuai sama standarnya. sedangkan mereka gak mau ngikutin standar orang lain. “pokoknya lo hargain gue! gue! gue! gue!” gitu. sebenernya yang paling bikin sedih sih sexism. wanita terlalu banyak ditekan untuk ‘nurut’ society, sedangkan society gak cater ke wanita. gak ada terbukanya sama sekali. terlalu mengekang.

    overall, i agree with your points. really really good, girl. well written :D

    budaya antre di indo juga lumayan minta disemprot sih -___-

    February 9, 2017 at 1:49 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Betul, jadi wanita di sini banyak tekanan untuk ini itu atas dasar culture, dan orang2 banyak yang ga sadar kalo banyak aspek dari culture itu ga adil buat wanita, bahkan ada yang sampe merendahkan. Sebaliknya, posisi laki2 ditinggikan. Walaupun udah banyak orang berpikiran terbuka di generasi sekarang, sedihnya masih banyak yang nganggep culture ini yang bener & harus diikuti (termasuk wanitanya sendiri!). Duh gemes deh kalo liat yang begini.

      Budaya antre juga lumayan ngeselin kadang2, tapi aku liat orang2 udah banyak yang berani negur kalo ada yang nyelak antrian. Kalo lagi belanja di supermarket ada yang nyelak juga biasanya kasirnya negur juga. Kemajuan banget ini. Kalo yang aku liat di Jakarta sih udah lumayan teratur, tapi kalo di luar Jakarta kayanya masih parah nih. Soalnya aku pernah diselak di airport Palembang, aku tegur eh dia malah nyemprot balik. Udah gitu orang2 juga cuek ga ada yang negur. Duhhh kesel ngingetnya.

      Thank you for reading and sharing ya Tannya :)

      February 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply Fiberti

    Kalau sudah ada perbandingan memang kentara sekali ya mba perbedaan kultur yg seperti ini. Sepertinya bukan hanya Indonesia tapi Asia pada umumnya. Termasuk negara semaju Jepang. Paling minus beberapa poin. Apa itu tipikal Asia ya? Tetapi dg menjadi seorang Asia kita memang harus memeluk segala kelebihan dan kekurangannya sekaligus coba mengedukasi yg lain.

    February 10, 2017 at 10:22 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Iya, negara2 di Asia kebanyakan mengalami ini. Menurutku menjadi seorang Asia ga berarti harus memeluk kekurangannya, justru kalo memang negatif harus diubah, dan salah satu caranya dengan edukasi yang lain, speak up, dll :)

      February 16, 2017 at 9:17 am
      • Reply Fiberti

        Memeluk itu maksudku menerima dulu apa adanya kondisi dan keadaannya mba, supaya hati kita juga lebih damai. Kalau nggak nanti kita capek sendiri. Semua butuh proses. Edukasi bisa2 pelan-pelan…😁 Tapi ya masing2 org punya kasus dan tekanan sendiri2 dlm kehidupan pribadi …semoga bisa sabar ya mba

        February 17, 2017 at 3:27 am
  • Reply Elisa

    I live in Indonesia and i’ve lived here for years. i appreciate you for writing this post. this post speaks to me as i have the same problems with living in this country. as much as i don’t like sounding racist, sometimes i also have issues with the locals here but that’s another story for another time. though i’m not indonesian by blood (as in, i’m not javanese or anything like that), i’m chinese and i experienced those filthy, inappropriate cat callings by locals here most of the time. it’s disgusting. for e.g: “cina mau kemana?” or they’d whistle me even though i was wearing baggy shirt and normal pants. and you thought they only do this to non-indonesians / javanese but nope, a friend of mine was physically touched – groped, even – by a tukang parkir when she was walking from her office to the nearest circle K. it was traumatizing for my friend and everybody around her was laughing instead. it’s so sick and filthy and urgh, it’s why i get so scared and anxious walking alone in this country. i don’t even like boarding on public transportation because it kickstarts my anxiety so so much.

    there are soooo many other points on why i hate residing in indonesia and why i have issues with the locals here (not all of them of course, but most) but your post have summed up the major critical negative points of indonesia and i appreciate that. some points in here are not really because they’re indonesians but it’s more of an asian thing (e.g. victim blaming), at least that’s what i think. the baby boomers / Gen X generation looooves doing this too (at least the Gen X adults that I know) and they always demand respect just because they’re older. geez. i don’t know what adjective to use so i’ll just go and say how there are so many stupids in this country.

    February 15, 2017 at 3:21 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thank you for sharing your experience & thoughts on these matters. I really get your feeling about walking alone and using the public transportation, I feel the same way. Insecure, paranoid, and constantly on edge. Victim blaming is a problem that’s experienced not only in Indonesia, but from what I see it’s so much worse here. The older generation are usually unaware of these matters, or how inappropriate they’re being, and many of them refuse to open their mind. That’s sad, really, but that’s the more reason to speak up and educate the society.

      February 16, 2017 at 9:24 am
  • Reply Sasha

    Paling sebel kalo udah di komen “kok gendutan sih? Kurusin dong biar ada jodohnya” oh my… Apa coba hubungan berat badan sama jodoh?? Itu dua kali sebelnya sih… Ya di komen gendut sama nyindir belom ada pasangan. Tapi kalau diperhatikan lagi sih orang Indonesia generasi senior memang suka komentar hal hal yang sebenernya “rude” karena itu bisa jadi bahan percakapan panjang ke arah lain (alias basa basi) karena biasanya dengan komen “kok gendutan sih?” itu bisa jadi topik tentang diet, gym, oplas, makanan yang dipantang. Jadi mereka merasa ‘dekat’ sama kita karena bisa kasih tips dengan memulai percakapan yang ‘rude’ itu. Itu sih yang aku cermati. Jadi sebenernya mau tau urusan orang itu emang sudah mendarah daging di kalangan senior.

    Untuk poin masalah sexist atau victim blaming aku setuju tapiiiii…. Aku rasa bakal butuh proses yang sangat lama untuk bisa berubah. Budaya patriakal kita sangat kuat, it means walaupun sekarang banyak juga laki2 yang sudah ‘open minded’ tapi dalam otaknya tertanam bahwa wanita di bawah pria. Selain dari faktor budaya, agama juga berpengaruh sih.. Dan juga faktor edukasi. :)

    Aku gak bilang ‘deal with it!’ karena akupun stress banget begitu bertemu orang macam narrow minded kayak poin di atas. Rasanya pengen guncang2 badan mereka gitu… Tapi untuk merubah pemikiran mereka pun gak gampang toh… So, kadang aku cuma diem dan berharap gak ngobrol banyak2 dengan orang modelan begini.

    Btw, salam kenal yaaa….:)

    February 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Bener banget, di sini orang masih gampang banget ya komen berat badan, dan masih berasumsi kalo ga kurus = susah dapet jodoh (say what?!). Tapi aku setuju kalo kalangan senior memang banyak yang ga aware kalo ini sesuatu yang inappropriate buat dikomentarin. Untungnya yang lebih muda udah lebih aware ya dengan masalah ini.

      Emang butuh waktu yang lama nih buat mengedukasi masyarakat buat melawan sexism & victim blaming. Aku juga ngerasa ini bakal butuh waktu yang lama banget krn seperti yang kamu bilang, ada faktor budaya dan agama, dan beberapa orang nganggep equality untul pria & wanita itu melawan kodrat lah, ga sesuai ajaran agama, dll. Bingung jawabnya gimana kalo udah gini.

      Kadang2 frustrating banget ya ketemu orang yang narrow minded, apalagi yang menolak untuk nerima opini yang berbeda (bahkan untuk agree to disagree aja kadang ga bisa, pake urat mulu bok kalo argumen). Aku lagi berusaha untuk ngasi opini mengenai hal ini, apalagi ke orang2 semacam itu. Males banget sih kadang tapi gemesss ngeliat orang yang pikirannya sempit banget (walaupun kalo males debat aku juga kadang2 diem aja, cape ngeladenin orang kayak gitu huhu).

      Salam kenal juga ya Sasha. Thank you for reading this and sharing your experience :)

      February 21, 2017 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Prisanti Putri

    Dixie, aku sudah beberapa lama baca post ini. Tapi aku belum berani komentar karena aku sendiri bingung bagaimana harus bereaksi terutama dengan poin cat calling. Di satu sisi aku nggak setuju dengan yang namanya cat calling dan sesekali memang aku speak up ke orangnya langsung. Kebanyakan dari mereka memang nggak tahu itu inappropriate karena seperti yang kamu bilang, mereka terbiasa dengan itu. Jadi satu-satunya cara memang dengan ngasih tahu mereka kalau itu salah. Di satu sisi, aku sedikit miris karena aku merupakan bagian dari lingkungan yang seperti itu dan kadang membiarkan mereka melakukan hal tersebut. Kadang aku diam saja kalau ada orang lain yang diperlakukan seperti itu padahal harusnya aku bisa membantu mereka untuk keluar dari situasi itu sekaligus memberi pelajaran ke pelaku cat calling.

    Membaca post kamu dan komentar orang-orang di atas, aku malah merasa instead of tired of these Indonesian cultures, I want to find something to change these. Aku jadi malah tergugah untuk lebih speak up kalau mengalami hal-hal di atas, mulai dari cat calling atau inappropriate comment dari orang di sekitar kita. Thanks for writing this post dan aku bener-bener seneng baca komentar-komentarnya karena membuka wawasan aku banget.

    February 22, 2017 at 3:58 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Cupris, aku seneng banget baca komennya. Aku juga sempet ngalamin itu, diem aja ngeliat sesuatu yang sebenernya ngebikin aku ngerasa ga nyaman (dan akhirnya ngerasa bersalah karena aku diem aja di saat aku harusnya speak up). Tapi kadang2 emang susah banget ya untuk speak up, walaupun untungnya sekarang aku ga ngerasa sesusah dulu (mungkin krn udah mulai terbiasa jadi tambah berani kali ya hehe).

      Aku juga seneng banget baca komen orang2 di post ini, aku jadi ngerasa hopeful karena ternyata banyak yang berpikiran sama, mau speak up dan berusaha ngubah ini. Thank you for sharing your experience ya Cup, hope we can help in our own ways to change things for the better :)

      February 24, 2017 at 2:18 pm
  • Reply The Constant Struggles to Fight Like a Girl

    […] ngeluh, terus ngomel marah-marah tanpa berbuat apa-apa. Dixie pernah menuliskan tentang hal-hal yang kadang dianggap normal di Indonesia seperti cat calling di blognya. Di bagian kolom komentar, banyak yang menceritakan pengalamannya dengan reaksi […]

    February 23, 2017 at 12:34 am
  • Reply Maisya

    It’s been a while I am away from Twitter and all its ‘crowd’ hehe..
    Agree to most of the points you mentioned while trying not to be drawn in the environment which consider those things as normal.
    Mengenai sexism, emang banyak banget ditemukan di kehidupan sehari-hari. Aku dan suamiku memulai untuk terbuka sejak awal sih mengenai ini. Di rumah misalnya, pekerjaan domestik ya dikerjakan bersama. Aku sebagai istri nggak berkewajiban masak karena aku perempuan, tapi ya karena kebutuhan aja dan itu pun kalau pas sibuk (atau malas :p) ya nggak harus. Hehe. Suami juga suka bantuin di dapur. Setidaknya kalau punya anak nanti, bisa memberi contoh dari kami sendiri dulu. Anak laki-laki maupun perempuan ya harus terbiasa mandiri, bisa merapikan barang-barang sendiri, bisa cuci piring, dll. Mungkin dari hal-hal ‘kecil’ seperti itu. :)

    March 4, 2017 at 11:06 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Iyaa, sayang banget masalah sexism ini masih sering banget ditemukan di sini. Dan emang kayanya di Indonesia kebanyakan orang ga sadar itu dimulai dari rumah/keluarga, misalnya anak cewe disuruh bersih2 atau masak, intinya ngasih kerjaan yang gender specific. Good for you and your husband for not doing gender specific roles, mudah2an nanti jadi contoh yang bagus buat anak2 ya :)

      March 6, 2017 at 9:21 am
  • Reply mrspassionfruit

    Love this post so much! I myself have experienced many, but what hurt the most is actually victim blaming. Go you for writing this in such an eloquent way xx

    March 6, 2017 at 9:07 am
  • Reply geraldinetitarina

    I absolutely agree with this post. The most annoying thing is when people keep asking about personal lives. But I must say my partner already get used to this Indonesian culture, which actually he is not comfort with. :(

    August 8, 2017 at 1:06 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Yes, it makes me uncomfortable as well when people ask about my personal life. It sometimes comes as a part of the small talk, but oftentimes they’re just plain nosy. I still find this a bit hard to deal with, especially with the old people.

      August 18, 2017 at 10:26 pm
  • Reply Irus

    Dixie…some of these are not necessarily among Indonesians loh…#4 and #5 happen in western world as well.
    I was bit shock too when I found out #4 is also a perception within westerners.

    About #1, I think it’s not to interpret that ‘it is ok to be disrespectful to younger generation, as I have seen many younger genre here does act as they have no respect to the elderly, which is a sad thing. Maybe it’s simply to remind us..we’re going to be old too someday…so hold your tongue harder? ;-)

    September 19, 2017 at 8:28 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Hi, yes I agree #4 & #5 happen in the western world as well, but I see that the majority of people are quick to defend the victims and condemn the perpetrators. While in Indonesia, the majority of people still blame the victims.

      My point about #1 is, instead of teaching ‘respect older people’, why not teach ‘respect everyone’? When you’re ingrained with that value, the younger will respect the elderly and the elderly will respect the younger people, as you respect everyone. While teaching to respect older people doesn’t mean it’s okay to disrespect younger people, it DOES encourage condescending behavior toward the younger people, something I have seen far too many times in Indonesia. Like I said, by default, I’ll always be respectful to people unless they’ve proven they don’t deserve it, regardless of their age.

      September 21, 2017 at 11:09 pm
      • Reply Irus

        I think it is because there is a notion here (in US as I can’t speak at other places), how we kind of disregard the age thing (for instance we can call anyone by their name instead of Mr/Mrs/Ms), that habit/custom, in very subtle way, noticeable or not, somehow take away the ‘respect to elderly’ part.

        we tend to ‘forget’ whom we talk to just cause we are so used in using just names to address any one any age.

        of course we need to respect everybody regarding their age, but I also can’t help but notice that the younger genre treat their older genre with less respect.

        October 15, 2017 at 8:42 pm
  • Reply Miss Mae

    I know this is an old post, but your points are timeless and still relevant (and unfortunately will be relevant for a looong time yet).

    I agree completely, especially on the topic of marriage. Just marriage in general, not even at a young age. The assumption is that everyone *wants* to get married, and everyone who is married *wants* to have children.
    So the question is never “do you want to get married?”, it’s always “When will you get married?” and afterwards, “When will you have children?”

    And if you, God forbid, don’t want to get married and/or have children, people look at you like you’re an abomination and the most sinful thing on the planet since Hitler (heck, people here glorify Hitler more than they respect people with harmlessly different life choices).

    October 12, 2017 at 3:08 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Yes, many people still marriage is what EVERYBODY wants, and that you’re weird if you think otherwise. These people assume when you reach a certain age, you automatically want to get married, because who doesn’t? (reality check: lots of people!). Sadly, being married and having children is still a measurement of success in Indonesia. Glad that our generation is getting more open-minded about this, but the older people, well, I can’t deal. Their inability to grasp any concept different to what they believe in is frustrating, to put it mildly.

      October 12, 2017 at 6:19 pm

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