“Which one do you choose, a journalist or a housewife?”, Kang Deni asked sharply to Najwa Shihab.
Mbak Najwa answered firmly: “Why do women have to be told to choose? Can’t we get both? That question from the beginning had placed women as if they were helpless. Every woman is multi-role. ”
This viral statement seemed to represent the conscience of women.
Being a woman has a tough challenge. Women are forced to choose, not to mention scolding questions such as “When will you marry?”, “How come you don’t have children?” Poor your only one child, she/he needs to accompany. You must make another baby”, “You look fat”, “Why are you so ambitious about carer”. And, all the comments seem like they are the most right person.
alone, just add more children! “, How come fat anyway!”, Career is still being chased, where is the match? “. And, all the comments of the people who feel “the most correct”.
The bad news is if we continue to practice these things and force ourselves to choose. Not only do we become part of the oppression itself, even do these pressures make people depressed, to suicide. Irony is not it?
When women choose, they also have to accept various consequences. Women’s challenges have even begun when opening their eyes in the morning, the burden of taking care of the domestic, not to mention the burdens in the public sphere that are almost dominated by men. Even the state cannot attend to fulfill or even protect women.
Unfortunately, the burden faced by women today is not the same as the burden of men. Men don’t get questions about choosing work or becoming a household father. Because men are constructed to be breadwinners and it is impossible to choose to be the father of a household that is considered despicable. So, he was forced to play a role and absorb unhealthy masculine values. And when he cannot fulfill that role, he vents his frustration with his female partner through violence.
One in three women became victims of violence committed by their closest relatives, not to mention 421 Regional Regulations (Perda) which discriminated against women. Just imagine in 2019, WCC Palembang accompanied victims of violence as many as 139 people, not to mention the violence committed by the state against its citizens. And women are still told to be quiet?
Unfortunately, not every woman can answer the style of Najdwa Sihab. Women in rural areas are very vulnerable to violence and often they have no choice but to survive. Never mind choosing who to marry, they are also faced with poverty, they cannot access education and certainly far from economic access.
I remember when mentoring young women in the village, at that time I was so fiery to provide materials “magic”, motivation that aspiring to the sky, women must have ambition and independence.
However, one of them said, “Why are you dreaming up high, then you will fall sick! Besides, we will later get married, take care of your husband and children, already!” Instantly I was silent.
These words reflect how women have no choice and are conditioned to submit to existing conditions. It also shows how the state is absent in empowering its people to be truly independent.
The state is not really present in facilitating the needs and access of women in rural areas. Be it infrastructure and human resources. The more they are far from education, the closer they are to impoverishment. As if the world just revolves around the circle and can’t stop.
Not to mention child marriage, high maternal mortality rates, low access to education, crime, and those who have to experience domestic violence. There is a bigger problem than just this question, but our society would rather cover the ulcer than treat the wound. Is life full of submission and misery like this still a woman’s choice? Can’t we think about aspiring to women’s welfare beyond being a journalist or housewife? After all, both works. And why the heck is this still a woman’s question today? Or perhaps the people, especially men who ask this question, want to make women’s lives miserable so they can continue to rule.