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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Me ...

I am not against marriage, if you think so. From my posts here, I just want people not to be easily carried away with fairy tales about marriage (e.g: after getting married, then Cinderella and the Prince lived happily together ever after). I just want to make my students, people around me, and others to be more critical to see the reality that to "live happily married ever after" is not as easy to turn our palm outside down. It needs big struggle, deep commitment, etc.

However, I don't like this marriage-oriented society, coz it makes many people--women especially--become not confident to live single, coz many of them don't feel secure to be besieged with questions, such as "When will you get married?" and as the result many of them do ridiculous things, like in one post I took from The Jakarta Post some weeks ago, or just like the case of Mayangsari (read => a woman steals another woman's husband). I'd prefer to spread an idea that to live single is happy too, rather than hurting other women's heart by stealing their husbands, rather than marrying an umployed man and then the woman becomes "money maker", etc.

About polygamy, well, as long as no one feel oppressed, everybody is happy, just go ahead. One thing that I don't like from this polygamy thing is that many men tend to use "Sunnah Rasul" as the weapon, while in fact, what they do is much different from what Prophet Muhammad did in his era. VERY MUCH DIFFERENT. Please stop fooling other people around.

I am not talking about having sex outside marriage, if you use that as an excuse for men to have more than one wife. Prophet Muhammad DID NOT pursue for sexual satisfaction from his wives (after Khadijah passed away).

I am more concerned to happiness for all people, whether they want to live single, or get married.
I am more concerned to betterment for women's lives, to pursue anything they want to do in their life, without any restriction, such as, "As a woman, you are not supposed to do that." => This is what I mean when I say that I believe all men and women are created equal in all facets in this life." Women can do anything men do when they want to do it.

Buddha say (2)

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Nana's comment: Be critical to whatever you see and hear. Be analytical to find the truth that is proper to your own common sense. Be intelligent.

Quote of the Day

"The lunatic is the man who lives in a small world but thinks it is a large one; he is the man who lives in a tenth of the truth, and thinks it is the whole. The madman cannot conceive any cosmos outside a certain tale or conspiracy or vision."

G. K. Chesterton

"Right is right, no matter many people are against it. Wrong is wrong, no matter many people are for it."

William Penn

The most important thing, in my opinion, is that everybody respects everybody else, and nobody forces his/her way of thinking to anybody else, try to understand why someone opines something.

And let us live together peacefully with all our differences.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pembaharuan Hukum Keluarga Islam Di Indonesia

Penekanan dari saya .
http://www.jurnalperempuan.com/yjp.jpo/?act=artikel%7C-25%7CP Januari 26, 2005

Senin, 01 November 2004
Pembaharuan Hukum Keluarga Islam Di Indonesia
Oleh KH. Husein Muhammad

Surat-kabar harian "al Alam allslami" terbitan 16 Agustus 2004 memuat sebuah artikel menarik meskipun sangat klasik. Artikel yang ditulis Dr Khalid Sa'ad al Najjar tersebut berjudul `Baraa-ah Jumhur al Fugaha min al,Qaul bi Jawa.Z Tawliyah al Mar-ah .. Manshab al Qadha" (mayoritas ahli fiqh tidak bertanggungjawab atas keabsahan perempuan memangku jabatan hakim pengadilan). Judul ini jelas menggambarkan kepada kita betapa pandangan fiqh klasik tentang otoritas perempuan masih tetap ingin dipertahankan atau dikokohkan sampai hari ini. Argumen-argumen yang dikemukakan penulis masih tetap argumen-argumen lama. Satu hal yang menarik dari argumen penulis adalah penolakannya yang keras terhadap logika perubahan zaman dan tempat atas hukum-hukum Allah. Katanya : "Demikianlah mereka (kaum sekularis, red) berpendapat (tentang logika perubahan sosial yang mengharuskan perubahan hukum). Pandangan ini merupakan cara dan metode mereka untuk mengubah syari'at dan agama Allah suatu pandangan yang menjadikan hukum-hukum Allah hanya untuk masa terbatas. Ini merupakan bentuk perubahan hukum syara' atas dasar hawa nafsu, kebodohan dan tanpa pengetahuan. Yang benar adalah bahwa hukum-hukum Allah berlaku sepanjang masa dan di semua tempat, tidak terikat oleh ruang dan waktu. Apa yang dihalalkan Allah adalah tetap halal sampai hari kiamat dan apa yang diharamkan-Nya adalah haram sampai hari kiamat.
Pemikiran konservatif ini kemudian menjadi landasan bagi seluruh persoalan yang menyangkut relasi laki-laki: dan perempuan. Dalil utamanya adalah surah al Nisa, 34 dengan keyakinan bahwa kelebihan laki-laki atas perempuan dari sisi al `aql 1va al ray wa ghai ihiman min muahhalat al hukm wa al riasah', (akal, nalar dan kemampuan-kemampuan mengatur dan memimpin) adalah sesuatu yang tetap tidak bisa berubah. Mengutip pendapat Syeikh Abnd Aziz bin Baz, penulis selanjutnya mengatakan bahwa ketidaklayakan perempuan menempati posisi pengambil keputusan publik tersebut menjadikan dasar pula `bagi ketidaklayakannya menempati posisi pengambil keputusan pada wilayah domestik bi al awlawi(secara apriori).
Demikianlah pandangan seorang sarjana muslim sampai hari ini. Dr Khalid dalam hal ini tidak sendirian, karena ini juga masih menjadi pandangan mainstream masyarakat muslim yang lain di seluruh dunia Islam. Pandangan fiqh tersebut menunjukkan dengan jelas bagaimana kebudayaan teks (hadharah an hash) mengutip istilah Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid, dengan pemaknaannya yang sangat literal masih menjadi acuan keberagamaan sebagian besar masyarakat muslim sampai hari ini. Teks-teks keagamaan (nushush diniyah) dalam budaya teks, dianggap sebagai kebenaran yang tidak dapat dikalahkan oleh apapun. Realitas sosial, ekonomi dan politik yang berlangsung di dunia modern hari ini sama sekali tidak menjadi dasar pertimbangan untuk menganalisis teks. Bahkan seluruh realitas harus diukur baik-buruk dan benar-salahnya berdasarkan bunyi literal teks tersebut. Meski dunia telah berubah, bunyi literal teks haruslah tetap dipertahankan sebagai kebenaran selama-lamanya. Pada sisi lain logika-logika rasional juga seakan-akan (kalau tidak benar-benar) dinafikan atau hanya menjadi pertimbangan sekunder belaka.
Mempertahankan cara berfikir seperti Dr. Khalid di atas sama saja artinya dengan mengingkari kenyataan-kenyataan yang terjadi dalam masyarakat negara bangsa dewasa ini dan mengingkari perubahan-perubahan alamiah yang niscaya. Maka akan sulit dihindari jika kemudian hukum Islam dalam banyak pandangan masyarakat dikesankan sebagai hukum. yang eksklusif. Keadaan ini pada gilirannya bisa mengalami proses sejarah di mana hukum Islam teralienasi dari kehidupan masyarakatnya. Teks-teks hukum tersebut hanya ada dalam tulisan dan pikiran, sementara sejarah akan berjalan menurut logikanya sendiri yang terus bergulir dan tidak akan berhenti.
Satu hal yang perlu dikemukakan adalah bahwa apa yang dinyatakan sebagai hukum Islam dalam realitasnya sekarang' sesungguhnya tidak lain dari fiqh itu sendiri. Apa yang diamalkan adalah keputusan-keputusan fiqh. Dan fiqh sebagaimana dirumuskan para ahli fiqh adalah keputusan-keputusan hukum yang dihasilkan para ahli fiqh (mujtahid) setelah melalui analisis dan penelitian mendalam terhadap teks-teks keagamaan otoritatif yaitu al Qur-an dan hadits Nabi (al sunnah) dan dasar-dasar, yang lain melalui cara-cara (metodologi) tertentu yang dikenal dengan ushul fiqh. Dan karena fiqh merupakan produk nalar ijtihad, maka keberadaannya memungkinkan bagi sejumlah interpretasi dan berbeda-beda. Fiqh pada sisi lain adalah pendapat-pendapat pribadi. Ia tidak mengikat masyarakat secara nasional, meskipun mengikat secara moral dan personal, kecuali ketika sudah menjadi hukum positif menjadi, menjadi undang-undang atau menjadi 'qanun' atau atas dasar keputusan pengadilan.
Fiqh al Ahwal al Syakhshiyyah
Hukum Keluarga Islam dewasa ini populer disebut Fiqh al Ahwal al Syakhshiyyah. Ini adalah istilah baru dan tidak dikenal dalam kitab-kitab fiqh klasik. Di dalamnya dibicarakan hukum-hukum pernikahan, perceraian, rujuk waris dan hal-hal lain yang terkait. Membaca warisan intelektual muslim (kitab-kitab klasik) yang menjadi rujukan utama dalam pengambilan keputusan dalam sikap, pandangan dan tingkahlaku keberagamaan masyarakat muslim, tampak jelas bahwa masalah-masalah perempuan dalam al ahwal al yakhshiyyah diposisikan sebagai makhluk subordinat (makhluk kelas dua) di bawah laki-laki. Penempatan perempuan dalam posisi ini merupakan bagian dari sistem sosial- budaya patriarki. Dalam sistem seperti ini semua keputusan final berkaitan dengan relasi laki-laki-perempuan baik dalam wilayah kerja domestik maupun publik/politik berada di tangan laki-laki. Dan karena relasi yang tidak setara ini, maka tingkat bergaining (daya tawar) perempuan dalam hal ini secara hukum sangat lemah kalau tidak boleh dikatakan tidak berdaya.
Perkawinan
Di dalam masalah perkawinan, bangunan budaya patriarkhis ini tampak nyata.Ini misalnya terlihat dalam definisi perkawinan yang dirumuskan oleh mayoritas ulama fiqh terkemuka. Dari sejumlah besar pandangan para ahli fiqh empat mazhab, Abd al Rahman Al Jaziri kemudian menyimpulkan bahwa nikah adalah akad yang memberikan hak (keabsahan) kepada laki-laki untuk memanfaatkan tubuh perempuan demi kenikmatan seksualnya.(al fqh `ala mazahib al arba’ah, IV/2-4). Al Jaziri mengatakan ini merupakan pengertian yang disepakati para ulama meski diungkapkan dengan bahasa yang berbeda-beda. Hal yang perlu dicatat dari definisi tersebut adalah bahwa perkawinan tampak hanya dimaksudkan sebagai wahana kenikmatan seksual (min haitsu al taladzdzudz/rekreasi) , atau paling tidak ia (rekreasi, kesenangan seksual) sebagai tujuan utama. Tujuan lain sebagaimana disebutkan al Qur-an bahwa perkawinan dimaksudkan untuk sebuah kehidupan bersama yang sehat dan penuh cinta-kasih tidak dikemukakan secara eksplisit.(Q.S. al Rum, 21). Ayat al Qur-an ini agaknya merupakan kritik Tuhan terhadap perkawinan yang semata-mata untuk tujuan rekreasi sebagaimana tradisi masyarakat selama itu “Inna fi dzalika la aayaat li Qaum Yatafakkarun”" (Sesungguhnya dalam hal itu benar-benar ada tanda-tanda bagi orang-orang yang berfikir).
Hilangnya perkawinan sebagai interaksi yang secara sosial memiliki makna kemanusiaan, cinta dan kebersamaan akan dapat memunculkan sejumlah masalah. Lebih dari itu adalah bahwa penikmatan seksual tersebut tampak hanya diberikan kepada laki-laki (suami) bukan kepada perempuan. Mazhab Syafi'i yang terkuat menyatakan : "al ma'qud 'alaib huwa al intifa' bi al mar'ah dung al rajul" Hal yang sama juga dikemukakan golongan Hanafiyah : "inna al haq fi al tamattu' li al rajul la li al mar'ah" Pandangan-pandangan ini membawa konsekuensi bahwa laki-laki dapat memaksa isterinya dan tidak sebaliknya untuk berhubungan seksual. Kalaupun ada kewajiban maka is hanya sekali saja dan dalam rangka menjaga moralitas isteri (anna Ii al rajul anyujbira al mar'ah `ala al istimta' biha bi khilaftba.fa laisa laha jabruhu illa marrab wahidab wayajibu `alaibi diyanatan). (Ibid).
Definisi nikah tersebut tampaknya merupakan rumusan konseptual dari prinsip otoritas dan superioritas laki-laki yang dibakukan atau dinormatifkan. Hal ini tentu saja akan membawa konsekuensi-konsekuensi lain secara lebih luas dalam relasi perempuan dan laki-laki, dan lebih khusus dalam hubungan seksual dan hak-hak reproduksi perempuan yang boleh dikatakan sebagai hubungan yang timpang. Laki-laki (suami) memiliki hak utama atas hubungan seksual kapan saja dan di mana saja dan perempuan (isteri) wajib mengabulkannya tanpa boleh menolak. Tetapi hak ini tidak berlaku bagi perempuan (isteri). Hasrat seksual perempuan hanya dapat terpenuhi sepanjang suami mengabulkannya. Kewajiban suami melayani kebutuhan seksual isterinya dipandang sebagai kewajiban moral (diyanatan) belaka dan bukan kewajiban hukum (lahukman). Paling tidak ini adalah pendapat mazhab Syafi'i yang dianut oleh mayoritas masyarakat Indonesia. Para ulama dalam hal ini memang menekankan pentingnya suami melayani keinginan seksual isterinya sepanjang tidak ada halangan (udzur). Di samping didasarkan atas argumen teks yang ditafsirkan secara bias gender, pandangan ini pada sisi lain dilandasi pula oleh asumsi-asumsi dominan yang menyatakan bahwa gairah seksual laki-laki jauh' lebih tinggi daripada gairah seksual perempuan, Ibnu al Qayyim al Jauziyah menyatakan bahwa kekuatan (energi) dan gaira''-i libido yang diberikan Tuhan kepada laki adalah lebih banyak atau lebih besar daripada yang diberikan kepada perempuan. (I'lam al Muwaggi'in 11/105). Syeikh Athiyah Shaqar, ulama besar al Azhar kontemporer, sambil menyetujui pendapat ini mengatakan : "Saya berpendapat bahwa dalam banyak keadaan, tidak untuk semua keadaan, laki-laki lebih membutuhkan perempuan daripada sebaliknya".(Mausu'ah al Usrab tabta Ri'ayah al Isla. 11/9). Argumen ini tampak sangat bias gender dan merupakan definisi yang dibuat laki-laki. Hal ini karena kebutuhan seks pada dasarnya merupakan kebutuhan yang sangat manusiawi dan hakiki dalam kehidupan seorang manusia. baik laki-laki maupun perempuan. Bahkan kita menyaksikan terdapat banyak perempuan yang memiliki hasrat seksual lebih tinggi dari laki-laki. Akan tetapi konstruksi sosial yang patriarkis telah membenamkan hasrat-hasrat seksual yang tersembunyi dari perempuan, karena itu lalu tidak muncul kepermukaan.Ada hal lain yang lebih penting tetapi kurang mendapatkan apresiasi masyarakat ketika perempuan tidak memiliki hak untuk menolak hubungan seksual. Yaitu bahwa hal ini bisa melahirkan sistem reproduksi perempuan yang tidak sehat, misalnya, manakala dia terpaksa (ditakdirkan) hamil dan melahirkan dalam jarak waktu yang pendek dan tanpa pengaturan yang baik. Dibanding dengan laki-laki, sistem reproduksi perempuan jauh lebih rentan terutama ketika hamil. Data terakhir menunjukkan bahwa risiko kematian pada perempuan hamil di Indonesia menduduki peringkat pertama di Asia Tenggara. Saat ini kematian ibu hamil di Indonesia mencapai 425 per 100.000 kelahiran hidup.(Ford Foundation-YLKI, ' Perempuan dan Hak Kesehatan Reproduksi, 89).
Atas dasar itu semua, maka perlu ada rumusan nikah yang lain yang lebih memberikan kepada perempuan memperoleh hak-hak seksualnya secara seimbang. Ini harus dimulai dari upaya kita merevisi definisi perkawinan ke arah kesetaraan hak antara laki-laki dan perempuan. Dalam hal ini pendapat minoritas Syafi'iyah yang menyatakan bahwa pernikahan merupakan akad ibahab dan bukan akad tamlik seharusnya dapat diapresiasi (Al Jaziri, Al Fiqh, IV/2).
Perceraian
Dalam masalah putusnya hubungan perkawinan (perceraian, talak) keputusan untuk bercerai atau tidak sangat tergantung kepada laki-laki (suami). Suami dapat menjatuhkan kata-kata cerai kepada isterinya kapan saja dan di mana saja. Argumen yang dikemukakan untuk masalah ini tetap menggunakan argumen tafsir ayat tentang "keunggulan laki-laki" (afdbaliyah al rajul) dan kekuasaan ekonomi ; laki-laki rasional dan penuh pertimbangan, sementara perempuan cepat emosional, laki-laki menafkahi, perempuan dinafkahi, laki-laki membayar maskawin - dan kebutuhan ekonomi lainnya, perempuan menerima semuanya, dan seterusnya. Ini benar-benar bias gender. Jika relasi suami isteri adalah relasi privacy, maka perlindungan hukum bagi perempuan menjadi sangat sulit dan tertutup. Dengan begitu, keselamatan perempuan dari tindakan suami untuk suatu perceraian sangat tergantung pada tingkat moralitas suaminya yang tentu saja sangat subyektif. Dengan bahasa yang provokatif ; nasib perempuan memang berada di tangan laki-laki.
Bagaimana jika perempuan (isteri) ingin bercerai dari suaminya karena alasan-alasan yang dibenarkan? Para ahli fiqh menyatakan bahwa perempuan dapat mengajukan. perceraian melalui apa yang disebut "khulu". la adalah perceraian yang diajukan isteri kepada suami; dengan `iwadh/fidyah (uang pengganti atau tebusan) kepada suami. Dalam bahasa yang umum `khulu' sering dikatakan sebagai gugatan cerai. Keputusan kata cerai dalam hal ini tetap diucapkan oleh suami. Dengan demikian perbedaan antara talak dengan khulu' hanya terjadi dalam proses, sementara keputusan tetap berada di tangan laki-laki (suami).
Dalam rangka menghindarkan terjadinya perceraian sepihak yang tidak terkontrol, subyektif dan sering merugikan perempuan, sejumlah negara Islam telah melakukan pembaharuan hukum melalui proses perceraian di pengadilan termasuk dalam hal ini adalah rumusan dalam Kompilasi Hukum Islam (KHI) Indonesia. KHI ini berbunyi : `la yaga' al thalaq illa amam al qadhi ".(perceraian hanya jatuh setelah melalui proses di pengadilan). Walaupun demikian, tradisi perceraian sepihak (oleh suami) sebagaimana ketentuan dalam kitab-kitab filth masih terus berlangsung di masyarakat. Kitab ensiklopedi fiqh kontemporer "al Fiqh al Islami wa Adillatuhu" karya Wahbah al Zuhaili, misalnya, bahkan tetap mempertahankan keabsahan ini sambil menolak keputusan perceraian di tangan lembaga peradilan. "Ini tidak ada gunanya dan bertentangan dengan syara"'. Wahbah selanjutnya menyatakan bahwa perceraian oleh laki-laki tetap sah tanpa harus menunggu keputusan hakim. Proses perceraian di pengadilan menurutnya justeru akan membongkar atau menelanjangi rahasia rumah tangga di hadapan publik (Wahbah, al.Figh, IX/6878). Pandangan dan dengan argumen yang sama sebelumnya telah dikemukakan oleh Dr. Musthafa al Siba'i. (Baca Siba'i, Al Mar-ah baina al Figh wa al Qanun, 128). Argumen terakhir ini memperlihatkan bahwa wilayah domestik adalah wilayah privat. yang tidak bisa diintervensi pihak luar, bahkan pihak negara, meski di dalamnya mengandung kemungkinan terjadinya pelanggaran terhadap kemanusiaan.
Baik pernikahan maupun perceraian menurut kitab-kitab fiqh dinyatakan sah sepanjang memenuhi persyaratan dan rukun-rukunnya. Pencatatan perkawinan di kantor urusan agama (KUA) bukanlah merupakan kewajiban dan bukan pula bagian dari rukun perkawinan. Pertanggungjawaban dan pembuktian hukum atas berlangsungnya perkawinan sudah dianggap cukup memadai melalui kesaksian dua orang yang "adil" (jujur). Dalam hal perceraian keadaannya jauh lebih sederhana lagi yaitu bukan hanya tidak diperlukan pencatatan bahkan juga tidak wajib adanya kesaksian. Kesaksian dapat dipenuhi sebagai anjuran belaka (mustahab). Ketentuan-ketentuan fiqh seperti itu sesungguhnya dapat difahami ketika kejujuran sudah merupakan tradisi masyarakat. Dengan kata lain is bisa diterima hanya untuk masyarakat yang menjungjung tinggi kejujuran sedemikian rupa sehingga kesaksian dua orang yang jujur dipercaya sebagai dasar pembuktian perkawinan. Konteks sosial-budaya masyarakat hari ini tampaknya telah berubah. Kesaksian dua orang tidak lagi cukup sebagai dasar pembuktian yang kuat dan menentukan. Dalam sistem hukum modern di manapun pembuktian selain keterangan saksi diperlukan pembuktian tertulis. Maka ketika pencatatan oleh negara tidak dilakukan, manipulasi pernikahan sangat mungkin terjadi. Dan dalam keadaan seperti ini perempuan (isteri) seringkali menjadi korban berikut akibat-akibat yang ditimbulkannya.
Uraian di atas memperlihatkan kepada kita bahwa hukum perkawinan dan perceraian yang berjalan di Indonesia menganut dua sistem hukum; yaitu menurut UU No. 1/1974 berikut KHI dan menurut kitab-kitab fiqh. Sebagian masyarakat menyebut yang pertama sebagai hukum negara atau dirgama atau sekuler, sementara yang kedua disebut sebagai hukum agama. Pembedaan ini memiliki akibat psikologis masing-masing yang pertama dianggap profan sedangkan yang kedua sakral. Kenyatan ini menunjukkan pula bahwa UU perkawinan belum diakui sebagai hukum agatna.
Waris
Problem yang sama juga berlaku dalam.masalah hukum waris. Sampai hari ini hukum waris sebagaimana yang tertulis di dalam kitab-kitab fiqh klasik masih tetap belum mengalami perubahan. Pembagian waris antara laki-laki dan perempuan adalah 2 : 1. Upaya ke arah reformasi, reinterpretasi dan kontekstualisasi hukum waris seperti yang pernah dikemukakan oleh Munawir Syadzali telah menimbulkan kontroversi dan resistensi yang besar dan kritik yang sangat tajam dari sebagian besar masyarakat. Mereka belum bisa menerima reformasi tersebut karena dipandang menentang teks-teks (nushush) gath'i (pasti). Nasb Qathi' adalah teks yang memiliki makna yang jelas dan tegas atau teks yang hanya mengandung satu makna. Ketentuan pembagian waris termasuk dalam katagori ini, karena dikemukakan dalam bahasa matematis. Teks-teks hukum seperti ini menurut para ahli hukum Islam tidak boleh dilakukan interpretasi. Sebuah kaedah fiqh menyatakan : La ijtihah ma'a al nash "(tidak ada nalar bersama nash) atau `La majaala li al Ijtihad fi wurud al Nash al Qath i" (tidak (boleh) ada bidang nalar ketika ada nash yang pasti).
Dengan mengesampingkan perdebatan mengenai teori gathi'-zhanni yang mungkin bisa dilakukan, satu hal yang perlu mendapat perhatian kita adalah mengenai konteks sosio-kultural ketika hukum tersebut diberlakukan. Secara pasti kita dapat mengatakan bahwa keputusan al Qur-an memberi waris kepada perempuan merupakan langkah transformatif yang sangat progresif atas tradisi yang berlangsung ketika itu. Tradisi dan budaya Arab pra Islam seperti diketahui bukan hanya tidak memberikan hak apa-apa kepada perempuan bahkan juga sangat membenci makhluk jenis kelamin ini. Islam melalui ayat-ayat waris yang diturunkan secara tidak langsung mengkritik tradisi tersebut. Islam menghargai perempuan sebagai makhluk yang memiliki hak-hak otonom baik: atas dirinya sendiri maupun atas harta benda (properti) atau hak milik. Pada sisi lain secara sosio-kultural pula fungsi-fungsi ekonomi keluarga diurus dan dilakukan oleh laki-laki sepenuhnya. Dengan kata lain seluruh kebutuhan ekonomi isteri dan keluarga menjadi tanggungjawab laki-laki (suami/ayah). Laki-laki juga menanggung beban kewajiban mahar (mas kawin), sandang pangan dan papan (tempat tinggal) isterinya, serta mut'ah jika terjadi perceraian. Sementara isteri berfungsi melayani kebutuhan seksual suami dan mengurus rumah tangga. Fungsi ekonomis keluarga seperti ini dikemukakan secara jelas dalam surah al N sa 34 di atas. Dalam konstruksi sosial-ekonomi seperti ini, maka pembagian waris 2 untuk laki-laki dan 1 untuk perempuan adalah keputusan yang proporsional, adil.
Perkembangan sejarah sosial-ekonomi ternyata tidak berjalan liner. Realitas sosial sekarang menunjukkan perkembangan yang semakin luas di mana fungsi ekonomi keluarga tidak hanya menjadi monopoli laki-laki atau suami, melainkan juga isteri. Para isteri tidak hanya duduk di rumah dan melayani kebutuhan seks suami, melainkan~ juga bergulat dengan usaha dan kerja-kerja ekonomi, sosial, politik dan sebagainya. Penghasilan ekonomi isteri juga tidak sekedar menjadi sumber ekonorni tambahan atau sampingan tetapi sudah menjadi sumber pokok atau utama. Bahkan kini semakin banyak terjadi penghasilan isteri justeru menjadi tumpuan ekonomi keluarga termasuk untuk suaminya. Dengan begitu isteri punya beban ganda (double burden). Jadi adalah jelas bahwa telah terjadi perubahan besar antara kebudayaan lama dengan kebudayaan baru, antara bangunan sosial abad-abad yang lampau dengan bangunan sosial abad sekarang. Maka menarik seluruh hukum. lama untuk diterapkan ke dalam struktur sosial baru menjadi tidak proporsional. Inilah sebabnya mengapa reinterpretasi hukum waris dirasa sangat mendesak dilakukan agar prinsip keadilan dapat ditegakkan. Kehendak melakukan perubahan terhadap pembagian waris sesungguhnya pernah dilakukan oleh Syeikh Arsyad Banjar sebagaimana dituangkan dalam karya besarnya `Sabil al Muhtadin ". Dia memperkenalkan pembagian waris berdasarkan adat perpantangan. Harta waris dibagi dua terlebih dahulu antara suami dan isteri. Dari hasil pembagian ini kemudian baru dibagikan kepada ahli waris. Keputusan fiqh Syeikh Arsyad ini dilatarbelakangi oleh konteks sosial-ekonorni masyarakatnya dimana sumber ekonomi keluarga diperoleh dari hasil kerja bersama antara suami dan isteri baik melalui usaha perdagangan maupun perikanan.(Abdurrahman Wahid, majalah Pesantren, 2 vol. 11/1985).
Mengomentari pandangan Syeikh Arsyad ini, Abdurrahman Wahid mengatakan : "Kontekstualisasi karena terpenuhinya beberapa persyaratan seperti adanya kepemilikan bersama atas harta dalam kasus yang disebutkan di atas, menunjuk dengan jelas betapa besarnya peluang bagi perumusan kembali hukum agama dalam fiqh, sebuah situasi yang mau tidak mau harus diakui sangat kompleks dalam rumusannya, tetapi yang justru mampu menjawab tantangan-tantangan zaman".(ibid, him. 4).
Di samping Munawir Syadzali dan Abdurrahman Wahid, K.H. Ibrahim Hosen ahli fiqh terkemuka Indonesia, juga menyetujui perlunya kontekstualisasi hukum waris ini. Ibrahim mengatakan : "Tetapi fiqh yang lebih sesuai dengan keadaan Indonesia memang diperlukan seperti nampak pada soal perkawinan, waris, zakat yang cukup mendesak. Misalnya saja dalam perbedaan pembagian waris antara laki-laki dan perempuan (Ibid, him. 46).
Pembaruan Hukum Keluarga Islam: kebutuhan mendesak
Dari uraian serba singkat di atas tampak jelas bahwa pembaruan hukum keluarga Islam merupakan langkah yang perlu dilakukan. Tidak ada alasan lain dari langkah ini kecuali didasarkan atas keinginan yang kuat untuk memperlihatkan watak hukum Islam sebagai hukum yang dinamis dan dapat memberikan solusi bagi masalah-masalah tersebut dalam konteks sosial yang berubah, tanpa mengabaikan prinsip-prinsipnya. Prinsip-prinsip yarg dimaksud adalah tegaknya kemaslahatan, keadilan dan kesetaraan manusia. Kemaslahatan dan keadilan disepakati para Ulama fiqh sebagai tujuan utama hukun Islam (magashid al syari'ah al Islamiyah).
Karya-karya fiqh klasik yang demikian kaya raya dan memuat beragam pandangan itu sesungguhnya memperlihatkan kepada kita bahwa pikiran-pikiran fiqh tersebut disampaikan di dalam rangka menjawab kasus-kasus yang terjadi didalam ruang dan waktunya masing-masing di bawah prinsip kemaslahatan sosial tersebut. Sulit difaharni bahwa fatwa-fatwa fiqh tersebut dimaksudkan oleh pengarangnya (para mujtahid) untuk diberlakukan di seluruh ruang dan sepanjang waktu. Saya menyepakati tesis Dr. Faruq Abu Zaid yang menyatakan bahwa pandangan figh para Imam Mazhab tidak lain kecuali merupakan refleksi sosial, budaya dan politik masing-masing.(Faruq, Al Syari'ah al Islamiyah baina al muhafribin wa al Mujaddidin). Oleh karena itu disadari sepenuhnya bahwa produk-produk fiqh yang dihasilkan para mujtahid adalah sesuatu yang paling baik, paling maslahat, kontekstual dan relevan untuk ruang dan waktunya sendiri-sendiri.
Keniscayaan perubahan hukum karesaa konteks sosial yang berubah, dalam sejarah pernah diberikan contohnya oleh Umar bin al Khattab untuk sejumlah kasus, termasuk terhadap teks yang jelas dan tegas, misalnya tentang al thalaq al tsalats (talak tiga). Demikian juga, para sahabat yang lain dan Imam Syafi'i melalui gaul gadim dan jadid nya. Perubahan hukum karena perubahan konteks sosial juga telah diberikan elaborasi secara cukup luas oleh Ibnu al Qayyim al Jauziyah, guru Ibnu Katsir dalam karya populernya "A 'lam al Muwaggi in” Dia membuat judul besar untuk uraian ini : `Taghayyur al Fatwa wa ikbtilafuha bi Hasab Taghayyur al Azminah wa al Amkinah wa al Ahwal wa al Niyyat wa al Awaid" (perubahan -fatwa dan perbedaannya didasarkan pada pertimbangan perubahan waktu, tempat, kondisi sosial, motivasi dan kebiasaan-kebiasaan masyarakat). Maka adalah sulit bagi kita untuk mengatakan bahwa perubahan-perubahan tersebut dapat dimaknai sebagai merubah atau mengganti hukum-hukum Tuhan. Syeikh Muhammad Musthafa Syalabi dengan kritis menjawab persoalan ini. Dia mengatakan :"Perubahan hukum sama sekali bukan berarti pembatalan (terhadap hukum-hukum Tuhan). Adalah tidak mungkin bagi siapa saja betapapun kedudukannya dapat menyetujui pandangan tersebut. Perubahan hukum tersebut sejatinya terjadi karena kondisi sosial yang berubah dan karena kemaslahatannya yang berganti. Hukum-hukum yang dibangun atas dasar kemaslahatan akan tergantung atas ada atau tidak adanya kemaslahatan itu". (Syalabi, Ta'lil al Ahkam, 316). Apa yang terjadi adalah sebaliknya langkah-langkah perubahan tersebut justeru di dalam rangka menegakkan prinsip-prinsip syari'ah dalam situasi-situasi yang berubah.
Syalabi lebih jauh berpandangan tentang kemungkinan perubahan atas hukum yang disepakati (ijma) manakala ia sudah tidak lagi sejalan dengan kemaslahatan umat. Katanya : "Saya menyetujui pendapat mereka bahwa memang tidak boleh merubah ijma' (konsensus) hanya ketika ijma' tersebut benar-benar nyata, disampaikan kepada kita 'melalui jalan yang benar terhadap suatu hukum yang kemaslahatannya tidak berubah sepanjang masa".(ibid 327). Pernyataan ini tentu dapat di pahami bahwa terhadap masalah-masalah yang kemaslahatannya bisa berubah-ubah" ijma' tidak selamanya dapat dipertahankan. Dan kita mengetahui dengan pasti bahwa masalah-masalah al ahwal al syakhshiyyah merupakan bagian dari masalah-masalah yang bisa berubah-ubah kemaslahatannya.
Terkait erat dengan kaidah hukum , ada sejumlah kaidah fiqh lain yang memberikan kemungkinan kepada kita untuk melakukan perubahan hukum. Antara lain; `Al Hukm yaduru ma'a illatihi wujudan wa`adaman " (hukum tergantung pada illatnya/logika rasional), Al Tsabit bi al Urf ka al Tsabit bi al Syar' (ketetapan. yang didasarkan atas tradisi sama dengan ketetapan yang didasarkan atas syara') atau `Tasharruf al Imagm 'ala al Ra'yyah manuthun bi al mashahah" (kebijakan publik pemerintah harus didasarkan atas kemaslahatan masyarakat) dan lain-lain. Beberapa kaidah hukum ini dan masih ada sejumlah kaidah lain menunjukkan kepada kita bahwa teks-teks hukum klasik tidak semata-mata dipahami dari bunyi tekstualnya dan diberlakukan secara final melainkan perlu dianalisis melalui pikiran-pikiran rasional, konteks sosial-ekonomi dan politik yang mengitarinya kemudian menghubungkannya dengan kenyataan-kenyataan empiris kontemporer menyangkut aspek-aspek sosial, ekonomi dan politik serta tradisi-tradisi baru lainnya.
Kini diakui atau tidak zaman telah berubah dalam bentuknya yang luar biasa. Tradisi-tradisi juga berubah. Fakta-fakta sosial menunjukkan bahwa kaum perempuan tidak lagi berperan dalam urusan-urusan domestik dan tidak juga sekedar mempunyai fungsi reproduksi; mengandung, menyusui, melahirkan dan mengasuh. Kaum perempuan.-juga dalam skala yang cukup besar telah terbukti memiliki peran-peran produksi baik secara sendiri-sendiri maupun bersama-sama. Tingkat pendidikan dan intelektualitas mereka juga terbukti tidak selalu berada di bawah laki-laki. Sebagian dari mereka justeru melebihi laki-laki. Dengan begitu kita tidak bisa melakukan generalisasi bahwa tingkat dan potensi intelektual semua perempuan lebih rendah dari tingkat dan potensi intelaktual semua laki-laki. Demikian juga dengan kemampuan fisiknya. Generalisasi sama sekali tidak realistis. Di sinilah, maka reinterpretasi dan reformulasi fiqh dalam masalah-masalah hukum keluarga Islam termasuk dalam UU Perkawinan dan KHI perlu mendapatkan apresiasi yang serius sedemikian rupa sehingga kaum perempuan Indonesia mendapatkan hak-haknya secara adil dan dijalankan melalui proses-proses yang demokratis. Bukankah pilar utama hukum adalah keadilan?. Pembaruan Hukum Keluarga Islam dengan begitu perlu ditempuh melalui tiga arah ; sosio-kultural, struktural (peraturan perundang-undangan) dan politik.

Cirebon, 14 September 2004.
KH. Husein Muhammad adalah Board Of Director Rahima dan badan penasihat Fahmina Cirebon. Tulisan ini merupakan makalah yang disampaikan dalam acara Diskusi dan Launching Counter Legal Draft Kompilasi Hukum Islam, yang diselenggaran oleh Pokja Pengarusutamaan Gender Depag, di Jakarta, 4 Oktober 2004

Friday, May 26, 2006

Memutus Pertautan Antara Patriarki dan Feodalisme

Dari milis perempuan http://groups.yahoo.com/group/perempuan

Perubahan apa yang dibawa gerakan reformasi untuk perempuan di Indonesia? Apakah gerakan reformasi berhasil menjadikan separuh dari penduduk Indonesia ini lebih otonom dan mandiri dalam mengambil keputusan sehingga mampu memperjuangkan hak-haknya sebagai warga?

Seorang panelis menyebut, harapan terbesar perempuan pada gerakan reformasi adalah hilangnya patriarkhi, otoritarianisme, dan eksploitasi kapitalisme. Bila pada masa Orde Baru perempuan diperangkap dalam patriarkhi Jawa, otoritarianisme militer, dan eksploitasi kapitalisme, setelah reformasi situasinya berubah menjadi cenderung memunculkan feodalisme primordial dan konservatisme agama dengan tetap membawa ideologi patriarkhi.

Patriarkhi Jawa yang merupakan pertautan antara feodalisme priayi dan pembagian kerja kapitalisme kolonial mengonstruksikan perempuan Indonesia dalam oposisi biner dunia privat dan dunia publik serta dunia reproduksi dan produksi.

Dunia publik dikonstruksikan sebagai superior dan rasional, sementara dunia privat (domestik) inferior dan untuk berbakti kepada orang-orang di luar dirinya.

Konstruksi politik yang bertaut dengan budaya serta kapitalisme kolonial itu membangun konstruksi bahwa perempuan ideal adalah ibu rumah tangga (dunia domestik) yang mengabdi total kepada suami yang menguasai ranah publik.

Pendisiplinan perempuan tersebut dilakukan melalui organisasi istri pegawai negeri seperti Dharma Wanita atau organisasi yang dikelola negara seperti Program Kesejahteraan Keluarga, dan organisasi kemasyarakatan (ormas) seperti Muhammadiyah dan Nahdlatul Ulama melalui pembuatan buku tuntutan keluarga sakinah.

Adopsi atas tuntutan keluarga sakinah itu juga menjadikan organisasi agama memiliki kekuasaan luas untuk masuk ke ruang privat warga negara.

Konstruksi ini tercermin dalam berbagai peraturan hukum, antara lain Undang-Undang Nomor 1 Tahun 1974 tentang Perkawinan yang mengatur suami adalah kepala rumah tangga dan istri adalah ibu rumah tangga.

Dampaknya, aturan ini mendiskriminasi perempuan yang tidak menikah karena perceraian dan kemudian menjadi kepala rumah tangga atau
perempuan yang memang memilih tidak menikah, serta mengontruksi
perempuan untuk tergantung pada suami sehingga kepatuhan total dapat dijamin. Dampaknya adalah kekerasan terhadap perempuan yang tinggi di dalam rumah tangga maupun masyarakat.

Rifka Annisa Women Crisis Center di Yogyakarta, yang memberikan pendampingan kepada perempuan korban kekerasan, mencatat 3.115 kasus kekerasan yang diadukan perempuan kepada organisasi nonpemerintah itu sejak berdirinya 10 tahun lalu.

Komisi Nasional Antikekerasan terhadap Perempuan (Komnas Perempuan) mencatat dalam laporan tahunannya, pada tahun 2005 saja ada 20.391 kekerasan terhadap perempuan yang ditangani 215 lembaga di 29 provinsi. Angka ini naik 45 persen dibandingkan tahun 2004 sebanyak 14.020 kasus, 7.787 kasus (2003), 5.163 kasus (2002), dan 3.169 kasus (2001).

Konstruksi tentang perempuan ideal itu juga mendiskriminasi perempuan di lapangan pendidikan yang berujung pada timpangnya tingkat kesejahteraan. Semakin tinggi jenjang pendidikan, data Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) memperlihatkan semakin lebar kesenjangan antara anak laki-laki yang bersekolah dibandingkan dengan anak perempuan.

Menurut laporan BPS tahun 2004, penduduk perempuan di atas 10 tahun yang buta huruf dua kali jumlah laki-laki buta huruf, di pedesaan maupun perkotaan.

Otonomi daerah
Salah satu perubahan penting dalam era reformasi adalah otonomi daerah yang dalam konteks perempuan bagaikan pisau bermata dua. Di satu sisi menjanjikan diakomodasinya kepentingan perempuan sesuai dengan kepentingan di daerah masing-masing, tetapi di sisi lain cenderung menghadirkan kembali feodalisme primordial dan kembalinya konservatisme agama dengan tafsirnya yang patriarkhis.

Otonomi daerah yang memberikan peluang kepada pemerintah daerah membuat peraturan sesuai kebutuhan masing-masing cenderung melahirkan peraturan yang tidak sensitif jender sehingga dampaknya mendiskriminasi perempuan.

Misalnya, ketika pemerintah daerah tidak menganggap perlu ada biro pemberdayaan perempuan, biro itu digabungkan dengan urusan sosial
lain atau bahkan dihapus sama sekali sehingga pengarusutamaan jender di dalam pembangunan terhambat.

Desentralisasi yang tidak dirancang dengan matang menyebabkan tiap daerah mencari bentuk otonomi sendiri. Terjadinya krisis multi dimensi dengan masyarakat yang tidak disiapkan memiliki kreativitas merespons krisis itu mengakibatkan masyarakat mencari jawaban secara sederhana, yaitu melalui agama dengan pilihan pada yang konservatif.

Cara mengatasi krisis kemudian adalah dengan mengangkat isu moral. Alih-alih menghadirkan peraturan daerah (perda) pemberantasan kemiskinan dan korupsi serta mengalokasikan anggaran untuk pendidikan dan kesehatan, pengaturan moral itu menyempit menjadi berkonotasi seksual. Wujudnya adalah mengatur tubuh perempuan yang dianggap bertanggung jawab terhadap moral bangsa.

Akibat kedua hal di atas adalah terpinggirkannya perempuan dan lahirnya aturan hukum misoginis, membenci perempuan. Peraturan Daerah Kota Tangerang Nomor 8 Tahun 2005 tentang Pelarangan Pelacuran, misalnya.

Di lapangan, korban perda ini adalah perempuan, di antaranya seorang ibu rumah tangga, seorang istri yang menunggu suaminya pergi membeli makan malam sebelum bertemu rekan bisnis untuk berjual mobil, dan seorang istri guru.

Di tingkat nasional, gelagat menggiring kembali perempuan ke ranah domestik dan menuduh perempuan sebagai "biang kerusakan moral" yang berpusat dari tubuh perempuan dan keterlibatan perempuan pada ranah publik juga tampak pada Rancangan Undang-Undang (RUU) Anti Pornografi dan Pornoaksi.

Alih-alih secara substantif menangani aspek kriminal pornografi, RUU ini justru menekankan pada pengaturan berpakaian dan mengkriminalkan perempuan.

Jalan maju
Ke depan semakin penting bagi perempuan membangun jaringan untuk memutus pertautan patriarkhi, feodalisme, dan otoritarianisme dalam segala bentuknya. Pengalaman dari Pemilu 2004 memperlihatkan, pemilih perempuan belum memiliki cukup kesadaran memilih calon anggota eksekutif dan legislatif berdasarkan isu yang ditawarkan.

Aktivis perempuan di lembaga swadaya masyarakat perlu berjaringan secara arif dengan ormas seperti Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama, Wanita Katolik, dan ormas lainnya.

Dengan demikian, kemampuan aktivis perempuan melihat secara tajam dan memformulasikan persoalan dapat mencapai akar rumput melalui jembatan emas yang terbangun dengan ormas perempuan yang kini telah lebih membuka diri terhadap gagasan dari luar.

Pembentukan jaringan itu mendidik perempuan bahwa apa yang personal adalah politis. Artinya, kebutuhan praktis itu juga bersifat politis, harga bawang atau mengapa datang ke puskesmas sekarang harus membayar adalah politis.

Kesadaran ini akan membawa perempuan memilih calon anggota eksekutif dan legislatif berdasarkan isu yang menyuarakan kepentingan perempuan, bukan karena sosok fisiknya.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Polygamy (again)

Luckily these past a few days, Indonesian people have been "entertained" by one drama done by Bambang Trihatmojo's family on this polygamy thing. His first wife and also the children did some damage to the dwelling of Mayangsari, the second wife of Bambang. (Well, so far, we ONLY know Mayang as the second wife, who knows in fact he has many other wives unknown by media? LOL. Look at Tommy's case for another example.)

Actually I am not the type of infotainment audience who is hungry for any gossip from celebrities. Not at all. However, coz since last week, I have been bothered by the plan of Puspo Wardoyo to launch tabloid named POLIGAMI, the drama of Bambang Tri's family really attracted me.

Who gets the benefit from this practice?

First, the asshole guy who thinks that to have one wife is not enough, to have one living blanket is not enough, so that he needs to have another one.

Second, probably the second wife. Many reasons behind this. Perhaps the main reason is MONEY (Note: if the guy is wealthy, such as Bambang Tri). STATUS is the following reason. (Referring to the fact that in Indonesia, people still stick to the consensus that to be happy is to get married. FAIRY TALE BANGET!!!) Also, you will be considered NOT SOLD OUT if you live single, moreover for those above thirty years old. For not confident women, they will choose to be the second wife, instead of being besieged by unempathical question, "When will you get married?"

As it happened some time ago in Indonesia, a woman was willing to be the nth wife of a famous singer, I concluded that WANTS TO BE FAMOUS can be the next reason. By being famous, this woman expects to be hired as a movie star, a model, etc.

Third, probably the first wife. I imagine if this wife no longer loves the husband so she feels disgusted to "serve" him in bed, so that she lets her husband have another wife. Probably, she then enjoys herself with her boyfriend. :D or she just enjoys the money from the husband, doing traveling around the world, shopping to her heart's content, etc.

HOWEVER, from the case of Bambang Tri's case, we can conclude that the ones who get this benefit are Bambang himself and Mayang. The attack done by Halimah and her children showed that she didn't let her husband share his love, care, perhaps including MONEY with another woman.
Although in Al-Quran, in Surah An-Nisa it is stated that a man can have more than one wife (up to four), the hurt in Halimah's heart shows that what Bambang Tri has done can be considered as SIN, coz it is obviously seen that he cannot be fair. In the same Surah, it is also stated the main requirement for this polygamy doer: MUST BE FAIR (ADIL!) Adil in this case means that no one will get hurt, everybody is happy with that.

So, again, I stick to my principle: THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT POLYGAMY IS SIMILAR TO SUNNAH RASUL ARE ONLY HEARTLESS CREATURE. Well, in fact I don't want to judge, but who knows in God's eyes The Most Merciful, hurting the wife's heart is also a SIN. (well, although I always think that being sinful or not is not human being's authority to decide, but it exclusively belongs to God the Almighty.)

My pray:

God, I want to see with my very own eyes those who have done violence to women, physically, psychologically, mentally, will get the most severe punishment from YOU, in this world. Amin.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Marriage-Oriented Society

I got the following article from The Jakarta Post published on Sunday, August 8, 2004, written by Reno Rahmawati. I keep this article coz it really attacked me to my deep heart how this male-dominated society doesn’t give much space for women to do what they want except to follow the norm.

THE LENGTHS WE WILL GO TO TO BE WEDDING BELLES

Being a single woman over 30 may not be the most comfortable thing in a “marriage-oriented” society like here, and as a consequence many are willing to go through hell just to be able to say, “I’m getting married.”

I witnessed one such a senseless example at a friend’s wedding last week. I admit I wasn’t really interested in going, partly because I was afraid I would stand up and shout that the whole thing was idiotic.

The bride is 35 years old with a great career, wonderful family and many friends. But she was willing to jeopardize all that for a married man with two children and no steady job.

She also got herself pregnant to give herself more bargaining power with the man.

I had seen coming, because she was always craving to have somebody she could call her own, hungering for a marriage proposal from her boyfriend of the moment. Even so, I was not quite ready for the news only a week before the wedding ceremony.

Her husband’s first wife did not know about the wedding because they live in separate cities, and secrecy hung over the ceremony, with no invitations sent out and none of his family present.
But my friend seemed very happy, quickly referring to “my husband” without acknowledging that he was shared with someone else.

“I have to do this so he will divorce his wife as soon as possible,” she told her friends to explain her choices. “Besides, I am prepared should he want to spend more time with his first wife and their children.

Despite standing to lose a lot more than him if the plan backfired, my friend refused to have a prenuptial agreement, saying that both of them entered the marriage with good intentions of building a life and facing the odds together.

What is she looking for in marriage? Is it companionship? Is it love? Is it about sharing a life together, or merely a quick way to change her status from “single”, with the inevitable, dreaded tag of old maid, to “married”.

The way I see it, love should give you happiness, not anxiety. It should not make you constantly look over your shoulder in case another woman walks into the house, screaming and accusing you of stealing her husband, which is what probably will happen. The truth will out.

Companionship? Well, she claimed that she would be ready to spend many lonely nights when her husband decided to stay with his first family.

Sharing a life? Yes, they will share a life, but with three others in the equation, with her single paycheck supporting all of them.

I can understand that it is frightening to imagine growing old alone, besieged by incessant questions about boyfriends and marriage.

And it is not easy to face your parents and their belief that a woman must get married before 30, and that she is only “complete” with a husband and kids, in tow.

For me, marriage is the holy matrimony of two people, who believe they are meant for each other and will contribute good not only to each other’s lives, but also to society.

Societal pressure, advancing years and tiring of the dating game should not be the reason to take the solemn vows, because it will only lead to problems, especially for any children involved.

But life is always about tough choices, and my friend had chosen to go down that road just to have the satisfaction of saying to all and sundry: Look, I am a married woman.

Lucky for all you men then; some women, even in this “modern” day and age, are willing to do anything just to call you their own.

Man and Woman

Man says he cares about me
--so I must stay home—

Man says he protects me
--so I must hide myself from public--

Man says he loves me
--so I must listen to whatever he tells me--

Man says he adores me
--so I must do what he wants me to—

Man says he knows what is good for me
--so I must obey him--

Man: “I do all these because I love you my darling. Please understand.”
Woman: “If you love me my dear. Let me do things I want to do. Don’t imprison me. Don’t domesticate me.”
PT56 22.29 180506

Polygamy = Sunnah Rasul?

One thing that always makes me upset and angry with this polygamy thing is that those irresponsible men say that it is SUNNAH RASUL. Sunnah means if Muslim people do it, they will get reward from God; if they don’t do it, they will not get punishment.
They only see that Prophet Muhammad had more than one wife, without acknowledging that Muhammad did it not for sexual satisfaction, but to spread Islam to other ethnic groups during that era, and since his wives came from different ethnic groups, it was expected that there would be no war among those ethnic groups. Irresponsible Muslim people forget that Muhammad did it after his first wife, Khadijah, passed away. During Muhammad’s marriage to Khadijah for 15 years, he didn’t practice polygamy. He got married again under God’s command. His disapproval for Ali—his son-in-law who married Muhammad’s daughter, Fatimah—to get married again showed that in fact Muhammad himself saw the injustice of polygamy. He said to Ali, “If you marry another woman, it means you will hurt Fatimah, my daughter. Anybody who hurt my daughter, it means he also hurts me.” This stopped Ali to do what he wanted.
And what I see from those irresponsible Muslim men who practice polygamy or polygyny (having more than one wife) of course is much different from what Prophet Muhammad did. Recently (or outside of Muhammad’s era) Muslim men have more than one wife for their sexual satisfaction only. They believe that they were created in this world to have a higher libido than women and one wife is not enough for them.
Once I read an article in local newspaper stating what Puspo Wardoyo said (FYI, Puspo Wardoyo is the one who will launch POLYGAMY tabloid in Indonesia, he has four wives to my knowledge, and some years ago, he had a very embarrassing event called POLYGAMY AWARD: a competition for men who have more than one wife.) In the article, Puspo abusively said, “Practicing polygamy is only a matter of how strong you are to move your hip!” Didn’t he just put women in the lowest degree? Only as sexual object? So where is the SUNNAH RASUL???

I AM NOT VEGETATIVE

I don’t believe
Women were created from men’s rib

--we are not vegetative--

even if yes
women can still be proud
not to be taken from other part of men’s body
to be oppressed

--we are not vegetative—

Perhaps God has never asked women
Whether we are willing to be vegetation
So that God knows
That we also can make a choice
In this life
Not just to vote
In the General Election day
Not just to choose
Which spices to use to cook
Not just to choose
Which shirt for husband to wear
Not just to choose
Babies’ diapers
Not just to choose
The color of lipstick
Not just to choose
To be quiet

Ask women what we want
We can answer
We can make a choice

(I got the above poem from Jurnal Perempuan number 32, I translated it into English)

If only those Ulama give women rights to say what we want in this life, we will not let those irresponsible men to see us only as sexual objects!!!
PT56 11.19 190506

Two women in Polygamy

Talking about polygamy, I remember two women I know. One of them is an old friend of mine. We used to go to the same junior high school. The other one, I just knew her some months ago virtually.
My old friend, T, divorced her first husband who worked as a seaman in 2000. I don’t really know the main reason why she did it. She just told me that her first husband was a sex maniac. When he was at home (two months every year—he spent 10 months a year at sea), She told me that her husband asked her to serve him in bed for more than 10 times a night, without caring whether his wife, T, enjoyed it or not. One risk to be a woman—your body no longer belongs to you after you get married—is a popular belief in my country. T couldn’t refuse her husband of course due to that belief. Probably traumatic coz of something, T told me she never enjoyed having sex.
Some years later, T told me that she had married another man. She said she “got trapped” by his pathetic story—that he was only an unhappy man with an authoritarian wife; controlling him now and again; and he also promised her to divorce his first wife as soon as they got married. The reality? Five years has passed and my friend is still looking forward to the time when his half-time husband divorces the first wife. My friend doesn’t have a steady job but she can earn enough money from doing some business—such as selling clothes, making some cookies and then selling them, etc. One thing she told me why she remarried—she needed to have a status. FYI, in Indonesia, to be married for women especially is a highly appreciated status more than single status, moreover a widow/divorcee. Besides that, she also always dreams to involve herself with some womanly activities done by wives at their husbands’ office. Unfortunately she cannot do it coz she didn’t marry her second husband lawfully—using the country law. They got married only using religion’s law. It means that my friend doesn’t get legal document from the country to show that she is married.
Right now, my friend lives in Semarang, my hometown, with her two children from her first husband. Her second husband is infertile so that she cannot have babies from him. Her husband lives in Jakarta with his first wife and the children she got from her first husband. My friend graduated from senior high school only, showing that she is not really well-educated. NOTE: being not well-educated, she is easily made to be “blind” when Ulama (Islamic scholar) says that men are allowed to have more than one wife by citing Surah An-Nisa number 3 in Al-Quran, forgetting that there is the MAIN REQUIREMENT to have more than one wife, that is to treat and love the wives fairly. Still in the same Surah, it is also stated that human beings will not be able to be fair. This is taken by many feministic (or humanist) Ulama to say that polygamy is not allowed in Islam.
The second woman, S, has a bit similar experience. I myself never meet her in person yet. One thing that made me not understand why she was willing to be the second wife is that she graduated from a Master’s Degree. She is supposed to be able to use her common sense (well, of course this is only my point of view) that in practice of polygamy (especially polygyny) women always become victims. She lives in a different city from her part-time husband.
She lives with her only son (from her first husband) in Yogyakarta, while her husband lives in Jakarta with his first wife and their child.
Since the first time she told me that she is the second wife of a man—that I dubbed as a player coz he often has affair with other women outside the marriage—I have never understood what made her marry him.
Status? In her friendster profile, she wrote that she is single. In her blog, once in a while she wrote in her posts of looking for a husband who loves God first and loves her second. (Reading her post made me question myself, what number she is in her part-time husband’s priority, coz he has one wife and one kid from this first wife. LOL) Of course not “married” status she was looking for when marrying her part-time husband.
Money? She has got a steady job so I believe that she is financially secure. Her income is more than enough to provide for herself and her only son.
Companionship? What kind of companionship does she get from such a relationship? Only by phone is enough? Yogyakarta-Jakarta needs around two hours by plane, remembering that Jakarta is the city always full with traffic jam problem that will take him some hours to come to the airport to go to Yogyakarta.
Love? How sure is she that her part-time husband loves her knowing that he also has some affairs with other women outside marriage? That kind of man really underestimates women, doesn’t it? Even, to one of those women he dated, this irresponsible man “killed” this second wife by saying, “Oh, my girlfriend died in a car accident some years ago.”
I still don’t get any idea what made this woman marry this rubbish man. Blind love? She has been blinded by her love to this man so that she cannot think clearly?
PT56 11.20 180605

Thursday, May 18, 2006

About Polygamy

Some months ago, a male workmate of mine said, related to the issue of poligamy, "I am wondering why women object to their husband's having the second, third, or fourth wives. Don't they realize that we, men, want to reduce their burden? To do household chores, to take care of children, and absolutely, to serve us, men, as their husbands. Isn't poligamy a good policy to help women?"

I commented coolly, "Sir, we, women, also want to help your burden to earn money to support the household. There is the most practical way to do it. Let us find another husband. By having two breadwinners in the family, it will really reduce your burden, right? You don't need to work hard only to buy us a big house, a luxurious car, furniture, bla bla bla ..."

My female workmates appaluded me. LOL. That particular male workmate, who proposed the idea to 'reduce burden' just smiled annoyedly. LOL. The other male workmates didn't give any comment.

Some time later, a male workmate said, "Are you sure that you are 'strong' enough to serve your husbands in bed?

I responded, "Have you ever heard 'obat kuat' for women? Not yet, right? It is always for men. Why? Because, we women, are strong enough..." LOL.

So, guys, don't be selfish to create any reason to propose poligamy. We all know, in this 21st century, men do poligamy only to celebrate their libido, very different from the time when Prophet Muhammad lived. Okay?

P.S: If you know about viagra for women produced recently, it is not to improve the power of women when having sex, but it is used to help women to reach their orgasm. It means that not all men can make their sex partners always reach the climax. Mostly it is because men are selfish to think of their own satisfaction and not their partners.

Tentang Poligami

Untuk ikut menyikapi akan diterbitkannya tabloid Ppoligami, yang di mata kaum feminis--saya juga termasuk--adalah upaya pembodohan masal terhadap orang Indonesia, saya tulis ini.

Berikut adalah cuplikan wawancara antara Jurnal Perempuan dan M. Hilaly Basya (dalam Jurnal Perempuan no 31 "Menimbang Poligami", halaman 110, terbit bulan Oktober 2003)

(JP) : Isu perempuan dalam wacana Islam yang sedang mencuat adalah tentang poligami. Bagaimanakah sebetulnya teks poligami dalam Al-Qur'an?

(HB) : Teks harus selalu dikaitkan dengan konteks. Sebab teks selalu dilahirkan oleh konteksnya, yang menjadi pertanyaan adalah mengapa teksnya berbunyi seperti tiu. Ayat yang bicara soal poligami dan biasanya dijadikan landasan adalah surat An-Nisa ayat 3. Di dalamnya menyinggung tentang nikahilah perempuan yang kamu sukai, dua, tiga, atau empat. Tetapi kalau kamu takut tidak berlaku yang ada yaitu keadaan dimana mereka berpolimgai tanpa batas. seperti yang dilakukan para sahabat Nabi, paling banyak 10 istri. Bahkan ketika ayat itu turun, nabi sendiriistrinya sudah 11. Luar biasa, dan teks itu muncul untuk membuat sindiran kepada realitas tersebut. Maka bukan sama sekali diartikan bahwa agama menyuruh untuk poligami, tetapi yang terjadi agama sedang memotret realitas, dan kemudian sindiran itu keluar di ujung ayat tersebut yang berbunyi: "kalau kamu tidak bisa berlaku adil, ya satu saja." Bahkan kemudian di surat yang sama ayat 129 ditegaskan lagi, "kalau kamu ingin berlaku adil, kamu tidak akan bisa." Sebetulnya kata-kata ini merupakan inti sindiran yang menegaskan realitas poligami. Dari sini saya melihat poligami dalam teks sebenarnya tidak memiliki pembenaran, baik dari justifikasi maupun legitimasi teologisnya.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Welcome Women!

REASSURANCE
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
(1860-1935)

Can you imagine nothing better, brother,
Than that which you have always had before?
Have you been so content with "wife and mother,"
You dare hope nothing more?

Have you forever prized her, praised her, sung her,
The happy queen of a most happy reign?
Never dishonored her, despised her, flung her
Derision and disdain?

Go ask the literature of all the ages!
Books that were written before women read!
Pagan and Christian, satirists and sages–
Read what the world has said.

There was no power on earth to bid you slacken
The generous hand that painted her disgrace!
There was no shame on earth too black to blacken
That much-praised woman-face.

Eve and Pandora!–always you begin it–
The ancients called her Sin and Shame and Death.
"There is no evil without woman in it,"
The modern proverb saith.

She has been yours in uttermost possession–
Your slave, your mother, your well-chosen bride–
And you have owned in million-fold confession,
You were not satisfied.

Peace then! Fear not the coming woman, brother.
Owning herself, she giveth all the more.
She shall be better woman, wife and mother,
Than man hath known before.

In this poem, Gilman wanted men to realize that women even will be better human beings when they are given their rights to do anything they want. So, instead of imprisoning women only as domestic creature, men are supposed to see women’s empowerment as something positive, and not seeing it as threat for men’s superiority.

In the first stanza, Gilman started with a question “Can you imagine nothing better, brother, / Than that which you have always had before?” It shows that Gilman wanted men to think something different from the one men have believed for many centuries; something that can make the world a better place to live in for both men and women. The following two lines “Have you been so content with ‘wife and mother,’ / You dare nothing more?” shows that men think the best ‘fate’ for women is as wife and mother. As the dominant human being, men have decided the best roles for women—as wife and mother. And women—as the dominated human being—didn’t have any right to make any other choice. And since it has happened for many centuries, men seem to have no confidence that their mate—women—can be much better mate, than just as wife and mother.

In the second stanza Gilman continued asking whether men think that men have appreciated their mate’s roles in the highest rank, by crowning those women as a queen of the household ‘kingdom’. And since men crown women in their particular roles—wife and mother--, does that guarantee that men do not dishonor them? Men have believed that they honor women in those two “exclusive” roles. As Henrik Ibsen illustrated in the following dialog in A Doll’s House, between Torvald and Nora.

Torvald: Before all else, you are a wife and a mother.
Nora: I don’t believe that any longer. I believe that before all else, I am a reasonable human being, just as you are—
(Ibsen, 1993:68)

If men think that they put women in pedestal by exclusively giving them those two domestic roles, women can view it from a contradictory perspective—men even ‘imprison’ women at home; men even despise them not as human being like them. The dialog between Torvald and his wife, Nora, illustrates the two contradictory things: Nora wants to be considered to have equal role as Torvald. She wants her husband to see her just like she sees Torvald—as a human being! Nothing more.

Why does Nora think that way? It must be because behind the two seemingly adoring roles, in fact men dishonor women—that women are not equal to men because women cannot think as logically as men do.

In stanza three, Gilman wanted to remind all of us the fact why women are not supposed to feel honored with those two roles. If women are honored, why do many books written even before women read illustrate on the contrary? The books are written by both religious people or pagan. In the Bible, Eve was illustrated as a woman who tempted Adam to do something very sinful so that both of them were thrown out of the heaven. Eve is just a sinner. While in many fairy tales, people can find many examples of women to be wicked and cruel witch. Wickedness and sin are related to women. Men are illustrated as the innocent prince who saved the innocent women, such as Cinderella with her wicked step mother and step sisters, Snow White with her wicked step mother too. Who saved Cinderella and Snow White from their unfortunate life? MEN.

Not only in fairy tales, many women were accused to be wicked witches during colonial time America and then they were killed without any clear and logical investigation. Who accused and kill those innocent women? Patriarchal society where men dominated most aspects in life did it.

Nelson and Nelson said “Religious customs based on the New Testament considered women to be the descendants of the original sinner Eve and incorporated them into church and social life only under the authority of husbands. Despite the assumptions of inferiority, ideas about womanhood included positive qualities such as moral virtue. This resulted in ambivalence and dualism which characterized women as both the more moral sex and as dangerous temptresses, both Eve and Mary, the holy virgin mother of Jesus and the source of original sin.” (for further reading view http://www.csub.edu/ssric-trd/modules/cowi/1.htm )

Stanzas four and five strengthen what Gilman illustrated in stanza three—that women were the shame, the sinner, the evil. Who labeled this? Patriarchal society did it.

Stanza six Gilman depicted that women are just possession—property belonging to men. After choosing the woman they think the best to breed their children, men marry her, to make her the slave (do all of household chores, take care of the children, and serve their husbands without reserve.) However, although those men have made their wife their most loyal slave, give them burden, and also imprison them domestically, the men still don’t feel satisfied. Many of them still try to find the mistakes women do.

The last stanza, Gilman tried to remind again that men do not need to feel afraid of the coming of the new woman that know their rights better than their predecessor, women who know that they are also skilled and intelligent, and deserve to work in public places. When a woman has her own life—not just a property belonging to men; when a woman has her own responsibility as a human being, Gilman convinced that the woman will be more independent, a better decision maker, a better human being.
PT56 22.29 140506

Friday, May 12, 2006

Women and Job in Indonesia

JOB INTERVIEW (it happened in 1994)

The interviewer: Well, any plan to get married in the near future?
The applicant: Oh no Ma’am. In fact, I am already married.
The interviewer: Oh, so you are already married? Any baby?
The applicant: Yes, I have one baby daughter, three years old.
The interviewer: Unfortunately, we only accept single women for our new employees. Honestly speaking we don’t really like to have a married employee coz she usually will be busy with her own family matters, moreover after having a baby. Anyway, thanks for coming for this job interview.

JOB INTERVIEW (it happened in 1998)

The interviewer: May I know whether you are already married?
The applicant: Not yet.
The interviewer: Any plan to get in this short time?
The applicant: Not yet either.
The interviewer: So, in that case, we cannot guarantee that you will always stay in this city. Who knows one day you will get a husband-to-be from out of town? You will follow your husband to his city, won’t you? It means that we will just use up our time to give you chance for a training and end up with your moving out of town. We will get nothing then. Thank you anyway for your coming to this job interview.

The first job interview happened in a private company while the second was in a state university. Both were located in my hometown in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia.
This ambiguous treatment to women is triggered by a consensus in Indonesian’s society that a woman belongs to her husband; that a woman works not to be the breadwinner of the family but only for “fun” (read è earn money only to buy her personal needs that probably her husband doesn’t really give a damn to buy for her); that a woman’s main responsibility is to take care of the family (husband and children) so that a woman cannot be reliable in the office. Examples: when a child gets sick at home, it is the responsibility of the mother to take care of her. She will feel guilty—sometimes to an extent where she will feel sinful—if she chooses to go to the office and let the child at home without anybody taking care of him/her. And she is not the main breadwinner. Let her husband do that. A woman will always be considered not able to be professional in this matter.
I must admit that there are still abundant women recently in Indonesia who “are not really professional” in doing their job. They still put their family’s matters in the first priority and put the office’s duties the second. Why? Because the consensus is like that. Because they are not given chance to show their being professional. Because many of them are still brought up in a biased-gender family so that they take the consensus for granted as something naturally, given by God.
I believe with the spread of feminism ideology in Indonesia, many women have shown their being professional in doing their job so that it is high time for society to change the consensus, that a woman belongs to her husband, that a woman must give the first priority to the family matters so that she cannot be professional at the office, that a woman will have to follow where the husband moves due to the job.
Well, although I must say that it is still difficult to be applied among those people with very conventional views.
FYI, the woman in the first job interview I mentioned above got a job as a lecturer in a private college. I know she always shows her being professional by putting her office’s duties at the first priority then her family matters. The woman in the second job interview got married with a man from Semarang too. A year after getting married, she got a job from a state university out of town, quite far from Semarang coz it takes around 8 hours by bus. And guess what? She left her husband in Semarang to pursue her career. Her husband has got a steady job in Semarang so that he cannot follow his wife.
What is the comment from people around? “What is she looking for in this life? She has got married. Why should she leave her husband here only to pursue her own career? Isn’t a woman’s place beside her husband? Besides, her husband has got a steady job, hasn’t he? What else does she expect? A husband is a man that a woman should depend on.”
My response to those people’s comment, “Don’t ask her to view this life from your own point-of-view. She knows best for her own life.”
Ah yeah I know, we all people who care for the equality between men and women still have to struggle to make it come true. I know it is not as simple and quick as we turn our palm down.
PT56 11.01 120506

From Friendster to Pornography

I have joined a big website to look for new friends or to keep in touch with old friends since December 2004. The website is www.friendster.com I joined it coz a good virtual friend invited me at join her network. She lives in Indonesia too but not at the same city where I live.

Hoping that I will be able to locate or to be located by my old friends, I filled out the profile completely, including some pictures of mine there.

I knew blog world for the first time also at this website, around a year ago, March 2005.
I indeed get some new friends from this site. Some old friends or some ex-students of mine located me here too.

However, one thing very humiliating from this site is, recently I sometimes got nasty messages, such as saying, “Hello pretty … have a date with me, will ya?” or “Hello pretty, wow … you are very sexy. Will you give me time to make you cum?” or “Hello pretty, need a younger guy to make you always look young? Let’s have a hot date. I will not disappoint you. Guaranteed.”

It is very humiliating, annoying, and abusing, isn’t it?

Again, I believe that it is all caused by men’s way of thinking to underestimate women only as sexual objects. I believe those guys don’t read what I wrote in my profile carefully. Or, oh, perhaps they don’t understand English coz I write it in English. J

In the middle of the poignant arguments about pornography bill in Indonesia, those who are pro to this bill say that it will reduce the number of sexual harassment, or rape when women cover their body all over so that men don’t have a chance to think about sex when seeing a woman (coz they believe that men are always opt to think of sex very easily, moreover if a woman “triggers” those men by wearing quite open clothes); while those who are contra to this bill say that it will NOT reduce the number of sexual harassment and rape when men still underestimate women, internet is still considered to be a disguise place for those with nasty thought. If this bill is really legalized to be law later, how can the government limit people to access pornography in the internet? Right now, in Indonesia more people always connote internet and its internet café as pornography thing, as the “safe” place to get nasty pictures or video, or as the “safe” place to look for dates, although some time ago there was a raid done by police to some internet cafes to “catch those people opening some porn sites in the act.” Some people who were not lucky to get caught had to pay some fine, although I don’t know where the money went after that. Will it guarantee that those people will not do that anymore?

This humiliation thing will not stop if men still stick to their “inherited” view about the inequality position between men and women—that women are enjoyable sexual objects and men do that coz they are superior.

Going back to friendster, I believe the founder of this website didn’t mean to make a certain group of people to humiliate another group of people. People who misuse it are the one who ruin it, especially in Indonesia.

What a sad thing it is. :(

PT56 12.08 120506

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Whose responsibilities? Men or Woman?

In one class of mine, where the topic is “Career Women” I gave my students the following questions to discuss.
1. Who should be the boss in the family—the man or the woman?
2. Who ought to do the cooking—the man or the woman?
3. Who ought to do the dishes?
4. Who ought to fix things when they are broken?
5. Who ought to wash the clothes?
6. Who ought to be the one earning the most money?
7. Who ought to look after the children when they are under five years old?
8. Who ought to buy clothes for the children when they are under 10 years old?
9. Who ought to discipline the children when they are naughty?
10.Who ought to pay the bills and organize the family’s finance?

There were 16 students; three male and thirteen female students arrived. I divided them into 8 pairs. The two boys in one group and the other boy worked with a girl. All of them are under twenty-five years old, ranging from one senior high school student, the others are college students, and two students are fresh graduates from undergraduate program. In this article, I will write the result of the discussion.

FYI, it is very common in Indonesia to have housemaids in many families. My students mostly come from middle-high social class where many of them have housemaids at home. However, I ask them to discuss it with the basis of living in a nuclear family without housemaids and both husband and wife work.

For the first question, all students agreed that the man must be the boss in the family. The reasons are various. One pair of students cited the Bible “Wives must respect the husband.” Another pair cited the Al-Quran “Men are the leader.” Some other pairs give reasons such as “men have bigger responsibilities in a family coz they earn more money.” “men should be the decision maker coz they earn money.” “men deserve to get respect after doing their responsibilities—earning money, loving the wife, taking care of the family.” “men think more rationally therefore they are wiser than women in making decision.” “the leader of a family must be someone wise.”

For the second question, six pairs answered that both man and woman can do the cooking. Two other pairs said that women are more able to cook than men, and also coz women usually do household chores.

The third question, six pairs said that both man and woman can do the dishes. One pair gave this chore to women coz “women are cleaner than men.” The last pair said it depends on the division of household chores that both of them agree.

Question number four, two pairs said that men are responsible to fix things when they are broken coz “men are stronger” than women. the other six pairs agreed that both men and women can do this fixing thing only it depends on what things are broken. For electrical things give this chore to men; for clothes women.

Question number five, four pairs give this chore to women. The reasons vary from “women are cleaner than men and men don’t know how to wash the clothes,” “women are more careful especially related to the material of the clothes,” “women are more patient and careful” coz the students believe that the longer time someone needs to wash clothes, the cleaner the clothes will be. Until the reason “it is women’s duties to do household chores.” The other half of the students agree that both men and women can wash the clothes coz “both wear the clothes, so, it is the responsibility of both of them” “just use the washing machine, it is easy. Men can do that too.”

Question number six, two pairs said that it is really not a big deal who earns money the most. However, coz we now live in the patriarchal society, it will be better to give this burden to men. The other six pairs promptly gave this burden to men coz “Men have bigger responsibilities in a family.” “When women work, well, their income is only for contribution, and not the main income.” Another pair said (both were girls) “My money is my own money. His money is my money.”

Question number seven, the half of the class agreed that it is the responsibility of both men and women with reasons “children need love and attention from both parents” “to create good personalities in the children, both parents have the same important roles.” “if both parents do this responsibility together, it will increase the emotional ties between the children and the both parents.” While the other half of the class responded that this is the responsibility of the women only coz “women are motherly”, “women are more patient and loving than men” “women know their children better than men and have closer emotional ties with the children due to the nine-month pregnancy.”

Question number eight, six pairs opined that both men and women are responsible to do this. Both men and women go to the department store together, discuss together which clothes to buy for the children. Or, both go to the department store together, women choose which clothes to buy, men pay in the cashier using their money.” The two pairs believed that women do this responsibility better than men coz “Women have stronger feelings in choosing clothes” and “women know the right size and the comfortable material of the clothes.”

The ninth question , seven pairs believe that both men and women must be responsible to discipline the children. “Children must respect both parents, therefore, parents must have the same decision in disciplining the children by having the same regulations,” “parents must give good examples to be disciplined.” One pair said that men are more responsible in doing this coz men have stronger personality and they are fatherly to make children scared so that children will obey the rules.

For the last question, all pairs agreed that both men and women do this together, with different responsibility though. “Men pay the bills coz the money is from them. Women organize the family’s finance coz women manage money more wisely and accurately than men.”

How about my own comment to the students when discussing this in class? I will write another article later. J





How about your own experience, dear friends? :)

Who is afraid of feminists?

REASSURANCE

Can you imagine nothing better, brother,
Than that which you have always had before?
Have you been so content with "wife and mother,"
You dare hope nothing more?

Have you forever prized her, praised her, sung her,
The happy queen of a most happy reign?
Never dishonored her, despised her, flung her
Derision and disdain?

Go ask the literature of all the ages!
Books that were written before women read!
Pagan and Christian, satirists and sages–
Read what the world has said.

There was no power on earth to bid you slacken
The generous hand that painted her disgrace!
There was no shame on earth too black to blacken
That much-praised woman-face.

Eve and Pandora!–always you begin it–
The ancients called her Sin and Shame and Death.
"There is no evil without woman in it,"
The modern proverb saith.

She has been yours in uttermost possession–
Your slave, your mother, your well-chosen bride–
And you have owned in million-fold confession,
You were not satisfied.

Peace then! Fear not the coming woman, brother.
Owning herself, she giveth all the more.
She shall be better woman, wife and mother,
Than man hath known before.

The above poem was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who lived in 1860-1935. Twentieth century critics considered her a feminist, coz during most of her life, she spent to write novels, short stories, poems, and books that always illustrated about women’s lives. She also traveled across America and Europe to give lectures about women’s movement. However, she herself didn’t call her as a feminist, but a humanist.

During Gilman’s era, most women who were involved in women’s movement struggled for one thing—to ask for the government to give women suffrage. They thought that what made women not equal with men was coz men got suffrage while women didn’t. Getting involved in general election, men were superior; i.e. to be president, ministers, House of Representatives, etc. Women didn’t. Therefore, to make women equal with men was by getting right to vote in general election.

Gilman saw the basic problem for the inequality between men and women was not that. Women’s financial dependence toward men made women inferior. It is understandable then if Gilman opined to make women equal to men, women must work, get their own income, so that they no longer depend on men.

I believe Gilman agreed with Marx theory that women became marginalized coz they didn’t have money.

However, for some inferior men who think that they deserve to be superior to women coz of money, they don’t like the idea of women become financially independent.

I remember some years ago, a male workmate of mine said to me that he wouldn’t like to let his wife-to-be work. “Women who work don’t respect their husbands. I want my wife-to-be to stay home, to serve me, to do the household chores, no need to think of money. I will provide all the money she needs.”

From one side, it seems that he is a very responsible man “who will provide all the money his wife needs.” However, it is also clearly seen that he is not confident—his wife will not respect him if she has her own money. Is money the only thing that will make someone respects other people? Don’t we have to always respect one another no matter someone has money or not?

Referring to Gilman’s poem I quoted above, Gilman illustrated it very well how some—maybe many—men don’t feel confident that women will become “better creatures” when they are financially independent. Men don’t need to feel burdened heavily to do all things (especially related to money, and other public affairs) by themselves coz women will help them do it. However, of course, men must decrease their feeling superior. It will make both men and women equal.

And let’s welcome a better world.

I absolutely agree with what Gadis Arivia said in one of her article that men must thank feminists. Feminists really want to make a better future for both men and women. FYI, Gadis Arivia is the founder of the first feminist journal in Indonesia with its motto “for awakening and equality”.
PT56 08.50 100506

Monday, May 08, 2006

Feminism starts to die?

Some days ago, in one mailing list I joined, there was a message about women’s movement is leading back to “sunnatullah” (read è God’s law). She said that feminists started to realize that their struggle for equality between men and women doesn’t get any advancement; therefore they are tired and start to give up. They start to take things for granted, as “sunnatullah”; that men were created to be leaders and women as followers; that men were created to be the superior, women the submissive; that men dominate public sphere, women domestic., etc.

By mentioning the word SUNNATULLAH or God’s law, she opined that indeed God created men to be the dominant and women the dominated; that is exactly what God wanted to see in this world when God created all this universe with the creatures—human beings, animals, and plants.

Well, honestly speaking, I suspected that this woman joining this mailing list (the name of the mailing list is “perempuan” or women) was not coz she was a feminist, just like me. However, she even wanted to “ruin” from inside.

It reminded me of what I got from my teachers in elementary school. They always used the word SUNNATULLAH to say that women were created to stay home, to do household chores, to serve the husband, to take care of the children, etc. it also reminded me of one scene in The Stepford Wives movie where one husband refused to help his wife to do household chores with a very ridiculous reason, “I have a penis.”

What is SUNNATULLAH? What is God’s law? How sure are we to interpret what God meant when creating all this universe? How sure are we that God created men to be the dominant and women the dominated so that that particular woman used the word SUNNATULLAH as if she interpreted all of this the best, the most right?

When learning about literary theory and coming to hermeneutics as one theory used to interpret literary works, I concluded that people really cannot ignore what they have stored in their minds when interpreting something. Until now, the ones who have interpreted Al-Quran, the Holy Book for Muslim are men. Obviously when interpreting this Holy Book, they also use their gender-biased perspective, saying that women are the weaker sex so that they need protection from men; saying that men are the strong sex so that they can do anything they want; including that public-domestic dichotomy.

I believe when that woman used the word SUNNATULLAH, she also used what she has stored in her mind, things she got from her gender-biased teachers. I am of opinion that NO ONE KNOWS WELL WHAT GOD WANTED THIS WORLD. They are just busy with their own interpretation; selfish men with their gender biased ideas; (not confident) women with those gender-biased ideas planted on their mind and believe them as something gifted from God.

I myself don’t see that women’s movement has lost its spirit to move on. I have seen more and more organizations dealing with women established in Indonesia; more and more feminists have seminars, workshop, conference and those sorts of things to spread feminism ideology, for a more equal community between men and women; more and more books on feminism written, and more and more people buy those kinds of books. I have seen the proof. For example, when a new book on feminism is published, it will be sold out in a shorter time than some years ago; more and more people know about this ideology and accept it (I am included). It means there will be more people struggling for a free gender-biased society.

Referring that patriarchy has dominated this world since time immemorial, of course, we need a very long time to create a more equal community, not just in one decade, two decades, or even a century. It needs a daring and tireless effort from people who are concerned with that.

PT 56 22.55 070506

Abortion


This morning the local newspaper in my hometown reported that a man who pretended to be an obstetrician was arrested by the police. He “helped” to do abortion to some helpless girls who apparently became pregnant outside the wedlock. No matter what, in Indonesia, getting pregnant without getting married first is considered something very shameful. To cover the shame, those girls looked for help to do the abortion. Most of them are about 17-19; the paper said.

The number of girls getting pregnant outside the wedlock has increased sharply recently. I believe this is one result of the globalization; where people easily access any news, information, including habit, tradition, “culture”, etc from any country all over the world. That Indonesia is a religious country, basing anything from religious perspective is only façade culture. The old generation who still sticks to this false impression thinks that sex is something taboo so that they don’t want to talk about this openly with their children. They would rather think that sex is something natural and people will learn about it naturally especially after they get married. They are worried if their children know about sex before a certain age bracket, they will try doing it. They think that by covering about sex, they can “save” their children from that tendency.

Some decades ago, perhaps it worked well to them. However in this globalization era? With its limitless access with internet?

I believe without their parents or teachers’ guidance, those teenagers will get a wrong source. In Islam, the time for teenagers to be considered grown up is very clear; for girls when they get their first period; while for boys when they get their first wet dream. It can be considered as the best time for the parents especially to start telling them about sex openly.

I opine that those girls who get pregnant outside the wedlock don’t get enough sex education from their parents; worse thing, they don’t communicate well with their parents so that they are not open to their parents. While at the same time, with their easy access to the internet, they get to know that their fellow teenagers from the other side of the world have known sex in that teenaged years. FYI, Indonesian people always accuse western countries as free countries where people have sex freely outside the wedlock. Perhaps those teenagers think, “If American teenagers can do it, why can’t we? This is modern era. Having sex can be done before getting married. It’s ok with that.”

Indonesian people who usually consider the west as more modern make those teenagers want to be labeled as modern by doing what the teenagers in the west do, without thinking of the impact to them. When the teenagers in the west do that (read è having sex outside the wedlock), I assume that their parents already talk about sex openly with them; including give them some suggestion how to avoid pregnancy before they are ready to get babies. In Indonesia? Of course it is not like that. By thinking that sex is something taboo, of course the (conventional) parents don’t talk about sex with their teenagers. The result? Well, just like what the news reported this morning. More and more girls get pregnant before getting married. And to avoid the shame, they go to doctors, either the real obstetrician or the fake one, to have the abortion.

PT 56 21.35 070506

The picture was taken from this site.