Negotiating Women’s Veiling

Negotiating Women’s Veiling


96 Pages


This study will focus on the Indonesian jilbab, an ubiquitous piece of cloth that covers the hair and neck of women tightly, leaving no skin unconcealed. Achievement and role of jilbab after the authoritarian regime of Soeharto in 1998 is hardly known. The author examines women perception but also the Sharia Ordinances and the narratives of censorship. Voices of both women and sexual minorities (transgenders, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and queers) finally demonstrate awareness of the politics of representation in contemporary Indonesia, highlighting the links between religion, politics and identity.



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Negotiating Women’s Veiling Politics & Sexuality in Contemporary Indonesia
Dewi Candraningrum
DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.981 Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine Year of publication: 2013 Published on OpenEdition Books: 3 July 2018 Serie: Carnets de l’Irasec Electronic ISBN: 9782355960109
Printed version ISBN: 9786167571157 Number of pages: 96
Electronic reference CANDRANINGRUM, Dewi.Negotiating Women’s Veiling: Politics & Sexuality in Contemporary Indonesia.New edition [online]. Bangkok: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine, 2013 (generated 05 juillet 2018). Available on the Internet: . ISBN: 9782355960109. DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.981.
This text was automatically generated on 5 July 2018.
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This study will focus on the Indonesianjilbab, an ubiquitous piece of cloth that covers the hair and neck of wom en tig htly, leaving no skin unc oncealed. Achievem ent and role of jilbab after the authoritarian reg im e of Soeharto in 1998 is hardly known. The author exam ines wom en perception but also the Sharia Ordin ances and the narratives of censorship. Voices of both wom en and sexual m inorit ies (transg enders, g ays, lesbians, bisexuals and queers) finally dem onstrate awareness of the politics of representation in contem porary Indonesia, hig hlig hting the links between relig ion, politics and identity.
Dewi Candraning rum (BA, Universitas Muham m adiyah Surakarta; Master of Eng lish Education, Monash University; and PhD, Universitaet Muenster) teaches Muslim Wom en Literature and Gender Studies at the Eng lish Departm ent of the Teacher Training Faculty, Universitas Muham m m adiyah Surakarta. Her work and research in Eng lish literature deals with issues in wom en’s literature and educational innovation in the lig ht of g ender studies and sustainable developm ent. Her previous publications—The Challenge of Teaching English in Indonesian Muhammadiyah Universities (1958–2005): Mainstreaming Gender through Postcolonial Muslim Women Writers, 2008);(Berlin: Lit Verlag Swara Perempuan: Narasi Kekerasan Berbasis Gender—Tong ue of Wom en: Narratives of Gender- Based Violence (Surakarta: SPEK-HAM, 2010); andNarratives of Sustainable Development: Industry in the Global World Meeting Social Ecological Responsibilities(Surakarta: MUP, 2011)—represent her interest in the use of literature and education for sustainable developm ent, as well as ecolog ical and g ender justice. Board of Editor IJIS (Journal of Indonesian Studies) Monash University and Jurnal Perem puan.Integrating Islam & Knowledge: Social Sciences and Technology(Editor, Surakarta: Muham m adiyah University Press, 2013).
Foreword Rémy Madinier
Introduction 1 - Politics of a Piece of Cloth 2 - Prophetic Jilbab 3 - Chapter Outline
Chapter 1. Narratives ofTudung,KerudungandJilbab 1 - Historical Account 2 - The Price of Interg enerational Freedom
Chapter 2. Contemporary Veiling and Political Gimmickry 1 - Celebrating Identity Politics: Cosmetic and Political Gimmickry 2 - Neg otiating Women’s Multiple Burdens 3 - Servility and Obedience: The Ug ly Side of Polyg amy 4 - Plastic Surg ery and Hysteria
Chapter 3. Corporeal Market and Discourse of the Private 1 - Corporeal Market: Solemnity versus Banality 2 - Under the Shadow of the Male Governor 3 - The Personal is Political: New Social Media and the Discourse of the Private 4 - Narrative of Manipulation of a Piece of Cloth 5 - CanWariaWear the Jilbab? Under the Rites of Heteronormativity
Chapter 4. Cacophony of Sensuality and the Changing Meaning of Sexuality 1 - Chang ing Notions of Sensuality 2 - Sexuality and Women’s Skin 3 - Intimate Photos and Adulation of Self 4 - Lust and Ang st
Rémy Madinier
Beyond the tum ult of an essentially political and u nfinishedReformasi, several transform ations of Indonesian society, althoug h les s publicized, deserve our attention. Am ong them , thejilbabutations, related tostands at the crossroads of several m  question relig ion and to wom en’s status of course, but also to the econom y, culture, and politics. As a scientific work enriched with her very personal exp erience, Dewi Candraning run’s study constitutes a valuable contribution to the field. It shows the com plex m otivations and also the frequent disappointm ent of Indonesian wom en who , like the author, chose to veil them selves a few years ag o. Far from the sim plistic explanations often proposed in the West, this paper draws from a broad rang e of social sciences and a wide variety of sources, especially interviews and social networks analyses. To be understood, thejilbab issue in Indonesia should be placed in a broad his torical perspective. Islam ic identity had long been perceived as secondary, but since the 1970s it has occupied a m ore visible place in society. This developm ent is of course linked to a relig ious revival, but it was fueled with m oral im perative and political criticism toward the New Order reg im e. In the early 1990s, veiling was o ften a free and m ilitant action, and was part of a dem and for reform that culm inated at the tim e of Suharto’s fall in 1998. This aspect of social rebellion was then exploited by a new Islam ist elite who instituted them selves as censors in a society wrapped in the v irtue of relig ion. The rebellious and unconventional dim ension of veiling was thus totall y overthrown and ironically laid the foundations for a new conform ism . The study shows h ow m any wom en were deprived of their own choice whether to wearjilbabh at e, and were forced to do so throug an early ag various reg ulations (schools, perda sharia, etc.) a nd especially by social pressure. Here, as elsewhere in the Muslim world, the onus is prim aril y on wom en to m aintain public m orality. In what seem s to be a very Mediterranean trend, m en are infantilized and reg arded as being unable to restrain their sexual drives. But this paper also shows how som e wom en were able to divert the subordination conveyed by this injunction. In a still-very-corrupt Indones ia, the m oral values that are alleg edly conveyed byjilbabinent politicians, breaking the g lass allowed wom en to em erg e as prom ceiling of a traditional Asian society which, despi te a m ore liberal appearance, confined wom en to subordinates positions. With thejilbabseem s  Indonesia to have renounced its claim of “Far-Eastern” specificity to m obilize Middle Eastern values. The sem antic shift of the termketimuranthehig hlig hted htening . Interesting ly, by Dewi Candraning rum is enlig paradox is that this evolution g oes along with an u nprecedented Westernization of lifestyles. The veiling issue here takes on a cultural dim ension in which the m arket plays a fundam ental part. The veil issue, and beyond it all visible sym bols of Islam ic affiliation, throug h a new kind of consum erism , constitutes a pa tent sig n of the process of sym bolic reappropriation of Western capitalism in a g lobalized society.
This book was m ade possible by a research g rant fro m Irasec. Particular acknowledg m ent should be m ade of the fem ale activists who have ins pired m y work and those who have perm itted m e to share their wonderful im ag es: Zilla h Eisenstein (Ithaca Colleg e), Gadis Arivia (Universitas Indonesia-UI), Ayu Utam i (Salih ara), Bettina David (University of Ham burg ), Soe Tjen Marching (SOAS London), Nong Mah m ada (Freedom Institute), Mariana Am iruddin (Jurnal Perem puan), Ahm ad Badawi (YLSKAR), Vera Kartika Giantari (SPEK-HAM), Chika Noya (WPF), Yulia Sug andi (Univ M uenster), Tia Pam ung kas (UGM), Yayah Khisbiyah and M Thoyibi (UMS), and Tri Hastut i Nur (Aisyiyah). Writing a book requires different kinds of stim ulation and support, and there have been tales of woe but also of inspiration. I would like to acknowledg e m y debt to m y thoug htful friends. It is clear from the title that this study was a collaborative effort. Indeed, this paper reached fruition only throug h the collective energ y of m any, starting from the tim e I createdJejer Wadonen’ in Javanese), a com m unity  (‘Narrative of Wom inists andof local artists, fem activists residing in Solo, Srag en, Karang anyar, Bo yolali, Klaten and Wonog iri on 8 March 2012. I am g rateful to the m any individuals who sup ported this effort, especially the students, m others and activists who helped with the interviews. These interviews are noteworthy in their selectivity and correct im plem entation of effective assum ptions of the m eaning of the jilbab. It is our hope that this boo k will help everyone to understand the m ultivocal m eaning s of jilbab and m ake apparent the futility of im posing one sing le definition of this piece of cloth. I sincerely thank Irasec for its support of and wor k on this project, and I m ust publicly acknowledg e the invaluable work of Aan Rukm ana and Najam udin, both from Universitas Param adina Jakarta, whose tireless interviews m ade this book a reality. All m y g ratitude too to Rém y Madinier for encourag ing m e to delve in to the m ystery of jilbab am ong Javanese wom en politicians and for providing invalu able insig ht from a political science perspective. I am also indebted to Benoît de Trég lo dé and Jérém y Jam m es for their help with perm issions and publication. With characteristic g enerosity, Irasec took the tim e to read and com m ent on several sections, and this atte ntiveness and editorial support is g reatly appreciated. Finally, m y deepest thanks g o to Ivan Ufuq Isfahan, m y autistic son, now twelve years old and still too young to appreciate what his Mum is doing . Despite every effort to trace or conceal nam es of interviewees prior to publication, this has not always been easy. I apolog ize for any apparent infring em ent of nam es and if notified, I will be pleased to rectify any errors or om issions at the earliest opportunity. It g oes without saying that any rem aining errors are m y own. Solo, May 2012 DC
1 - Politics of a Piece of Cloth
That the wonderful narratives ofjilbab in this study should have been produced by m any brilliant, elite and well-educated young Muslim wom en, quotidian thoug h this piece of cloth m ig ht be, is cause for celebration for us all as Muslim wom en. It was our decision, our ag ency, following the Surah preaching during the 1980s, to wear the jilbab, a novel version of thekerudungs the hair loosely, the. While the kerudung is a piece of cloth that cover jilbab covers the hair and neck tig htly, leaving no skin unconcealed. It was som ething our m others used to wear in the 1960s. This book will f ocus on the Indonesian jilbab, this extraordinary piece of cloth whose achievem ent and role in toppling the authoritarian dictator Soeharto in 1998 is less well known. I too am a g reat adm irer of Islam as represented by this novel jilbab. I decided to wear the jilbab in 1993. Since m y personal trajectory — birt h in the late years of the Old Order, beg inning of m y schooling under the New Order, atte nding of Muham m adiyah University from 1993–1997, witnessing the effects of corruptio n in the Soeharto era and the birth of the Reform ation Era in 1998, reassessing the Indone sian Islam ic identity and nationalism , and attraction to the dynam ic m ix of chang e and ref orm ism in Islam and Indonesia — coincided with that of the jilbab, I will try to recapture just how im pressive its evolution has been. Let m e first return to the portentous decision by t his Muslim g irl and cosm opolitan Muham m adiyah g raduate to wear the jilbab and in 199 8 to study Rohis (Rohani Islam or Islam ic Spirituality) at m y senior hig h school year and, in g eneral, to study Islam — not at any faculty of Islam ic Studies but throug h deep sou l-searching . What m otivated these decisions of m ine was in part the failure of secularism under Soeharto and the alienation I felt. Thoug h he was President of Indonesia, it was not difficult to im ag ine him as a Javanese king . He had his spectacles sm acked off his face by a loutish g roup sing ing the Indonesia Raya, and so he led the nation with ever m ore Javanese political jarg ons. The m ove towards Islam and the jilbab felt like an exhilarating brea k from the authoritarian Soeharto years. Muslim wom en scholarship cham pioning the nascent ji lbab, flourishing in sociocultural, political and econom ic dim ensions, and m aking inroa ds into the m arvels of Middle-East culture, proved irresistible. The first tim e I was struck by the lucidity of the spirituality of the jilbab was in 1993, when I was in senior hig h school. I had been taug ht to wear the jilbab by an ITB (Institut Teknolog i Bandung ) student, who happened to be an alum nus of our state-owned senior hig h school. On returning from Rohis with a dazzling affirm ation of the jilbab, I urg ed m y m other to wear it as well — at that tim e she was still wearin g short skirts, the form al uniform of school teachers during the Soeharto years. Then the jilbab provided for m e a clear-eyed analysis of the ideolog ical conflicts of being a Muslim wom an. Its incisive revisionism of the