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Jakarta Post article "Is celebrating Kartini’s Day still relevant today?" by Vissia Ita Yulianto

Is celebrating Kartini’s Day still relevant today?

by Vissia Ita Yulianto
April 21 2010
Jakarta Post

The question is at least raised by Gadis Arivia, founder of the Indonesian Women Journal, and Dr. Joost Cote, a historian who specializes in Indonesian cultural history. There are both pros and cons toward this “unexpected” question.

While the pros say that Kartini’s Day has been simplifiying the other Indonesian feminist movement, the cons respond negatively to this very logical question. But, what if the pros are perhaps right?

The increasing contemporary women’s involvement in public domain tells us that patriarchal power and social order have been shaken off. Besides, it is a fact that the majority of post-colonial Indonesia has a wrong understanding of Kartini’s thoughts.

This is simply seen from their response when asked about Kartini. While high school students say that Kartini is a figure of traditional women who dressed with kebaya, others say that Kartini is merely a daughter of RMAA Sosroningrat who had a tragic life. She campaigned against the practice of polygamy but is finally made to accept an arranged marriage.

But how have people come to this collective misunderstanding? Generally, the wrong reading of Kartini is definitely ensured by the social and political ...

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©  2010 The Jakarta Post

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