tabula rasa

Going back to this blog after seven months, I am feeling an intense wave of secondhand embarrassment. It’s just weird because in almost all of my previous film reviews it’s always me trying to say something clever; looking intently for something I’d miss until I found something interesting in someone else’s review, which is pretty …

Gender Issues: Switching Sides in the Classroom

My class has finished our Sociology syllabus, so yesterday we got around and discussed some gender issues. Cue the drumroll!

For me, Sociology has been the most-awaited subject every week since the 10th grade. People and the way they relate to others has always intrigued me. Moreover, the fact that they have all these theories to explain everything we do, socially. The studies are relatively simple and relatable, since it’s basically what we do everyday. The other reason is probably because I’m not the most sociable kid in your year–I even find it hard to interact with my fellow classmates. It’s like I love the idea of human interaction, but not quite on doing so. Studying sociology makes me feel less reclusive and kind of just be… in the middle of society.

Of course it depends on the teacher’s approach, not only to make us memorize the theories, but also to trigger our realization that these knowledge are necessary and applicable further in life. We’re indeed very lucky to have someone as passionate as my teacher who actually cares about each of us as a person, and continues to come up with progressive methods of learning in order to gain our knowledge and insight. For two years, besides our theoretical studies we’ve covered a lot of social and political issues like poverty, capital punishment, gasoline price raise, the head police officer controversy, even the elections last year. On the beginning of the class, a student is picked to talk about a topic from the latest news. It’s one of the best way to raise political awareness among teenagers, especially some of my friends who don’t even follow the news. It’s got everything to do with our lives, and I, for one, don’t want to turn a blind eye to every policy and conflict and wrongdoings happening everyday around me.

Most of the times, students are raised to conform with society. We are taught to be responsible teenagers while still being treated like a child and getting put down to our places when we state our opinions. We are taught to settle over simpler matters like getting good grades, relationship drama, and pointless fooling-around than social and politic issues. But I can see these things starting to change, when strongly opinionated kids who are good at public speaking starts to emerge, and my English teachers started bringing in examples of article from The Jakarta Post which one of them covers female’s role in the development of our country. Once I talked about the article with this girl, and then she told me she identified as a feminist. Can you hear that? That’s the sound of my faith in humanity recovering.

As a feminist myself, I am delighted to have issues about gender brought up in class. Although this has been a gripping matter all around the world, it’s still an elephant in the room here in Indonesia–basically anywhere that is not Magdalene or critical feminist-friendly communities. Such topics are still a taboo in a land where its patriarchal and unquestioning native culture are still held high.

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