Happy Kartini Day! (and some sexism to spoil it)

Today I just heard one of the most disgusting sexist jokes ever made. We were speaking our hearts out when this supposedly respected senior colleague stepped in and said,

“Oh well, it’s normal that women speak more, YOU DO HAVE TWO PAIRS OF LIPS. Err, I mean THREE.”
I was like… WHAT!?
To make matters worse, he soon added: “While us men, of course we think more, WE HAVE TWO HEADS! Hahaha…”

Us female science teachers all froze awkwardly, too shocked even just to respond with a polite smile.
I wonder which head was he using before making that comment…



We are commemorating Kartini Day in Indonesia today. Raden Ajeng Kartini (April 21 1879–September 17 1904) was one of the heroines who fought for female rights to get equal education as men back in the colonial period. She wrote letters to her Dutch friends, describing her desire to elevate women’s dignity which is later compiled into the book “Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang” (After Darkness Comes the Light). Although there are controversies whether the letters were really written by her (instead of some politics affairs done by the governments that time), her power and spirit has truly inspired women all over Indonesia to not just give up and be submissive as a female.

Nothing hectic takes place anymore during Kartini Day commemoration. At least there is no “kebaya fiesta” going on at school, which used to be our way to celebrate Kartini Day (by wearing her traditional clothes — i know, funny right?). But I believe deep down, women still hold this gratitude for her struggle back then, especially now that feminism or being a feminist is nothing rare or extraordinary anymore. Women now earn their own money, build their own business; they raise children and still keep their career; they’re a full time parent, wife, and worker.

There are even strong evidences from my recent observation on why polygyny is more “effective” and commonly found than polyandry. After entering a marriage, women are supposed to take care of their males, while men are supposed to be more taken care of. They’re “destined” to serve them at home, in the kitchen, the bedroom, and they are still expected to dress and look well. Women not only must take care of herself, but also the man who married her and the children he had planted in her.

It is acceptable for a man to say: “Sorry, I had trouble getting ready on time this morning since my wife is not around to serve me until she’s back from out of town.”

But there is no way a woman would say such thing. “I look like a mess today, my husband is out of town. I just don’t know how to take care of myself!”

> Classes with two female teachers are neat, tidy, strictly organized, and both females work together to become one team with one clear and agreed mission.
> Classes with one female teacher and one male teacher struggle just like most relationships/marriages do:
“I can’t believe how stupid and irresponsible he is!” cries the female exasperatedly.
“I can’t believe what a crazy drama queen she is!” cries the male cluelessly – if he even noticed that is (we’ll discuss about this later okay)
> Classes with two male teachers? It looks like World War III. One is instigating the students to hate the other, while the other is busy making rules without wanting to tolerate or listen to anything or anybody. Two men together in one house will just create a battlefield. Not to mention a messy and stinky one.

polyandry. and why it fails(thank you Ne for posting this on your blog!)


But then later today, my car broke down at the parking lot. It couldn’t start for reasons unknown. I have no idea whatsoever about cars, engines, oils, et cetera. And guess whose help did I ask for? Exactly. A male species. Someone whose brain is compatible with all these strange, complicated, unknown, uninteresting things (and hey, thanks a bunch for your help okay! ;)). Apparently they are distinctively useful after all. Who are we to look down on each other?

And since coins always have more than just one side, maybe the joke my colleague popped earlier is funny after all.
Maybe feminists just need to enjoy and relax a little, try to accept, embrace the differences, and take benefit of  males’ head. Or should I say… heads?

3 thoughts on “Happy Kartini Day! (and some sexism to spoil it)

  1. Blog ini keren! I completely agree that it is not a case of one gender being superior to the other, but that females and males have many differences that we should embrace. With this should come respect for both sexes, and thus equal core/human rights and opportunities for females concerning employment, expression of opinion and education etc.

  2. hi,

    you have nice post. aniway, im looking some data to write about Javanese people on my blog. Hence, i would like to ask permission to copy your picture of RA Karitini and to be posted to my blog, http://www.indonesia-tourism.com/blog

    the link of the picture will be goes to this blog.


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