Feminist Fest 2017 is approaching

What is Feminist Fest 2017?

It is an event held by Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group, which has previously organized Women’s March Jakarta. Seeing a hopeful number of youth partaking in WMJ, we would like to take the next step and introduce them properly to the current issues feminist activists are facing in Indonesia. Organized fully by volunteers, we have managed to gain the support of 30+ communities/NGOs.

Feminist Fest will be held in SMA 1 PSKD, 26-27 August 2017. There will be 5 mini workshops, 15 discussions – all held in Indonesian, and an NGO bazaar for 300 visitors.

Who are the speakers anyway?

Really, really awesome crowd. I myself will be moderating the Media and Feminism panel, so check out my speakers:

Hera Diani

Hera co-founded Magdalene.co, a web magazine that channels the voices of feminists, pluralists and progressives. With a journalism experience spanning over 15 years, Hera has worked at The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Globe, Strategic Review Journal, Coal/OGE Asia and Voice of America. Her works have also appeared in a number of publications such as Foreign Policy, South China Morning Post, The Diplomat and Today Singapore. Hera has been a Reuters Foundation and East West Center Jefferson fellow. She received a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung, West Java.

Kartika Jahja

Tika studied Film Production di Art Institute of Seattle and has pursued music for 20 years; she is currently a singer/songwriter in Tika & The Dissidents. Her newest album MERAH talks about gender equality. Her single Tubuhku Otoritasku, for example, is turned into a body-positive, bodily authority campaign.

Songwriting aside, Tika is a feminist activist. She initiates and runs Bersama Project, which advocates gender equality through music, art, and pop culture. She also initiates and runs Mari Jeung Rebut Kembali collective with 4 other feminists: Shera Rindra, Dyana Savina Hutadjulu, Ika Vantiani and Teraya Paramehta. Tika is also actively involved in other various gender equality campaign.

Rain Chudori

Rain Chudori is a writer and translator. Named “the literary prodigy” by Nylon Magazine, she has written for The Jakarta Post, The Jakarta Globe, Tempo, Salihara, and other publications. She is the founder and creative director of the literary journal, The Murmur House. She writes short stories and essays about film, theater, and fine arts. Her column Mémoire Du Jour, is a recollection of love and literature. Her book, Monsoon Tiger and Other Stories is published by KPG Gramedia and was exhibited at Frankfurt Book Fair 2015. Her first novel will be published in 2017. She is currently studying film theory in university.

How can I join Feminist Fest 2017?

Due to the limited space we have for the classes, visitors have to register via Eventbrite. We regret to say that we cannot yet provide free entry to our festival – fundraising for a premiere event run by volunteers has proven to be tough. We sell two-day entries for Rp150.000,00. We offer discount for students, Rp100.000,00.

Make sure you don’t book two classes at one time. More information about the registration guideline can be found here.

You should join Feminist Fest 2017 if …

  1. You have free time next weekend;
  2. You are overall a cool person who deserve to be surrounded by equally cool people, or;
  3. You are still skeptical of feminists, especially Indonesian feminists, even though you have read some good things about feminism;
  4. You are struggling with your identity and are wondering if there is a safe space to freely express yourselves;
  5. You are keen on gender equality activism and are looking for a chance to network;
  6. You are looking for a high school (during scouting, I myself wished I studied in SMA 1 PSKD);
  7. You grew up sheltered like me and really want to learn more things outside your bubble;
  8. You want to see the feminist idea of tolerance and equality.

I need this published.

I started writing this in my anger state so I will see if eventually this will be the best thing for me to cope and whether I should publish this.

[EDIT: I think this brings an awareness somewhat so I’ll bare myself to you, netizens. Scary.]

One of my best friend was currently dealing with heavy depression. One of the toughest point for me as a support system is the lack of communication with everyone. I think I understand her better now.

I had an actual neighbor stalking me. This middle-aged man sent me creepy messages on FB. He loiters in front of my house. He occasionally opens my front gate if my parents happen to come home. My dad purchased a set of encyclopedias from him. When I told my parents, they asked nothing about how I feel. They only tell me what to do. They told me he’s a nutcase that had preyed on various women and masturbated to them, in front of them.

My mom goes as far as saying: don’t give him the satisfaction. My mom missed the point: he has INTRUDED my most personal space and sent me to paranoia, but she wants me to be nonchalant of it?

My dad: just pretend this never happened, just stop passing in front of his house because he’ll move out soon enough. My dad missed the point: he KNOWS where I live. I don’t feel safe.

But nobody lets me feel.

Today I woke up with these things in mind:

  1. I can’t communicate the gravity of this situation to my parents
  2. This is what my best friend is feeling towards the world and I need to get to her ASAP
  3. I don’t feel healthy enough to accompany her
  4. I have to attend a wedding in which I’m the lector
  5. I don’t feel healthy enough to do that either
  6. I don’t feel like going out of the house in a dolled-up state. What if he’s there?
  7. I can’t just say this to my parents because they’d say, “You have a responsibility!” along the lines of “You’re being dramatic!” etc.
  8. I know myself and I’m not the type to abandon such responsibility (I’m a model student ffs! On 2nd thought that might be a form of overcompensation)
  9. I know they’ll think that regardless and that awakens my longtime insecurity of my parents not caring about how I feel, and constantly refer to me as the “selfish one”
  10. “The selfish one” stigma has since affected me to the point of anxious breakdown some time during university
  11. I haven’t processed and am still emotionally very affected by my best friend’s recent breakdown on Wed, my dad’s awful response to it that same night, sickness and a close encounter to fraud on Thu, similar sickness and this stalking revelation on Fri.

The thoughts are so overwhelming to me and I ended up breaking down in tears this morning. I tried to stop. It’s awfully difficult. The thoughts are on a re-run.

My mom tried to comfort me. She confirmed thought #7. I pushed her out because she’s making things worse. She slammed my door. I get it, she hasn’t had the chance to deal with her issues either. She’s not one to stay when it stopped being about her.

I haven’t seen my dad after I had to explain in tears last night why his reassurance that “he won’t do anything because he’s afraid of me” is not a good enough reason to be less afraid. He left and went straight to sleep. He’s not one to stay when emotions are pouring out.

My sisters listened intently that night and really helped me feel better. I thank them for this. They’re awesome.

I, however, have a longstanding anxiety for my older sister’s temperament so I don’t think she can’t be a sustainable support. I’ve learnt not to blame her for it. I can see this is a result of the same parenting I received. She’s not one to stay when her anger is on the way.

I think this whole ordeal only tells us something terribly important: we are not used to dealing with the emotional consequences of the harassment victims. We are so used to telling women not to get raped. We aren’t equipped to comfort them when it comes close.

Beyond that, we’re not used to comfort people when they’re in distress. As for me, I need space. I’m used to taking care of myself. It’s just terribly overwhelming today, and it’s a pain to go to a wedding instead of dealing with myself in a closed space for a day. It’s a pain not to prioritise my mental state.

Don’t tell me what to do. Don’t ask questions. Simply let me feel. Hugs help. Food helps. Cats heal.

As I’m sitting in the backseat of my parents’ car en route to the wedding, I can only hope I don’t break down in public today.

Feminist Fest Indonesia

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I’m very much into social justice and allyship. I try to incorporate feminist values (read: being a decent, sensitive, supportive human being) in my passion projects regardless of the subject matter. Besides, I’m involved in Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group, which initiated Women’s March Jakarta (if you’ve heard about it).

Women’s March Jakarta was very fun, positive, and we’ve got to see a lot of young people getting all woke and starting to know their rights, which is great. It also opens up a dialogue (or shouting match and sealionings) about feminism in Indonesia since. All in all, glad to know that this year’s International Women’s Day get people talking. The bonus? Triggered, gaslighting bros.

Anyway, we the organizers thought that now people start to wonder about feminism, it’d be nice to accomodate them in a festival! So we will hold one on Aug 26-27 2017. It would be very interactive, very informative, very localized (as it has always been intended). We’ll gather local NGOs and match them with young caders, we’ll talk a lot about womanhood and allyship and the media and the system, we’ll have good music, we’ll swap books! We could all use some positivity in the midst of politicized intolerance.

In the meantime, we will hold multiple pre-events (because feminists don’t stay still!) starting May 20 2017. The first one is a talkshow and screening of Tiar’s film. Tiar is one of Women’s March organizer, and apparently a cool film lady:

There’ll also be a talk on Islam and Feminism on May 23 and classes on May 27.

Staying Alive collab

Staying Alive is a LINE-based initiative aimed to reduce the number of SCA-related deaths. SCA itself is sudden cardiac arrest, which is one of the leading cause of death worldwide. Jonathan Grantomo, the initiator, reached out to Pijaru if we want to make SCA PSA videos. So I pitched them and here they are, 5 videos to run starting Mar 16 2017:

More on this playlist.

Dialogika Podcast Episode 19: Indo-Lite, or What It’s Like Being Chinese-Indonesian

Happy December! I sat down with friend Stephanie Tangkilisan of Dialogika Podcast to talk about our experiences growing up a Chinese-Indonesian. A timely topic, considering the looming anti-Chindo sentiment brought up in the latest 411 rally (and another one tomorrow).

From A Liberal Virgin: Stop Devaluing My Virginity

Originally published in Magdalene.

I had a rather early sexual awakening.

I was about seven years old and still a churchgoer. I didn’t remember why I decided to stimulate myself, but I did; it felt good. Nobody told me exactly what sex or clitoris were, but somehow my little self could deduce that a boy’s wee-wee belongs inside a girl’s hoo-ha.

Sex was as mysterious as the occasional glimpses of love scenes on TV. Nobody told me anything, so my little self would make up sexual fantasies that, come to think of it, was exceptionally kinky.

Fast-forward to my senior high school year. I was then well-acquainted with the internet already. I had female friends whom I can talk to about sex. Sex was finally demystified; faith secularized. Kinky fantasies had toned down for good. I learned other variations of penetrators and penetratees. In fact, things have come full circle and I made myself a chastity vow.

I didn’t do it in a classic Christian schoolgirl, purity-ring-wearing way the American shows portrayed and fetishized. I didn’t do it for any religious reasons. I just am, very simply, repulsed by the thought of irresponsible sex, i.e. having sex without an awareness of the risks of STIs and access to birth control and health facilities.

On top of that, I don’t want abortion, so I have to make sure I’m prepared for unwanted pregnancies too – slim chance or not. All these concerns led me to my Sumpah Palapa. No humping until I own my first house. Only clitoral stuff at best and – uh – only with the right partners.

With all those limitations, long story short, I remain a virgin. Considering the current economic situation, I will probably be one for a long time. I’m fine with that – it’s my choice anyway. A conscious, well thought-out choice, which is why I don’t appreciate the way conservatives supremacists are taking out my agency of it.

Our choice/their rules

Conservative supremacists dictates a woman’s value based on her virginity. Right now I’m a goodwoman, but my goodness marginalizes other women who choose differently. Sexually active women are called sluts, infidels, liberals, anything. Our choices are judged, our reasons dismissed.

Once my procreation “shelf life” is coming to an end, my virginity will not stay a virtue. It will turn into a liability. Conservative supremacists will make me beg for men. Stop being picky, they’d say.Don’t you want kids? You old hag, no wonder nobody wants you. Soon, the sexually active women will be the one with the upper hand. Either way, no woman wins.

It’s ridiculous how they decide to outlaw premarital sex “for the sake of women”. I am a woman; this is not done for my sake. On the contrary, it cheapens my choice. By the time premarital sex is outlawed, mine isn’t a choice anymore. It’s a default.

To the conservative supremacists, I’m merely complying with their standards. Sexually active women are merely rebelling. Our reasons are worthless. Imagine that: a society that values an organ over its citizens’ individuality. I am their hymen, soon to be their womb. Whenever I make a different choice, then I don’t know my place. As if my only organs are the reproductive ones; as if I have no brains; as if my organs are theirs.

They dare label fellow women badly just because these women don’t comply. They dare claim me into their territory just because my hymen is intact. Guess what, suckers, virgins can be liberal too.

One thing that conservative supremacists fail to understand when they decide to shove their standards on everyone’s face is the concept of discipline. Faith, whether Abrahamic or not, teaches discipline. Discipline is not blind obedience. Discipline is consciously choosing what is good, not what is indulgent.

Discipline stems from understanding, not fear. Discipline is self-trained, and force only reduces its worth. Discipline brings you a happy, healthy life regardless of heaven or hell. Authoritarianism, on the other hand, takes away the happiness without guaranteeing the existence of afterlife. My chastity vow is my discipline, and this whole ordeal reduces it to a rule.

I am a virgin not because that’s what God told me to do (God didn’t), not because I’m saving it for a man, definitely not because I’m a prude. I am doing it for myself. For the love of God, I just can’t bear to have my youth muddled by something that will happen eventually anyway. Sex is absolute and effortless; property ownership does not. I might be a virgin, but that is not all I am. I am also my own person.

Conservative supremacists, now if you’d stop devaluing the gift I gave myself, I’d like my choice to stay mine and valued, thank you.