Khazanah SR 52

Becoming a New Man 

Book Title : Feminism-fostered Males (New Men’s Movement for the Elimination of

                          Violence against Women and the Realization of Gender Equality in 

                           Indonesia). 

Author : Desti Murdijana dan Nur Hasyim

Publisher : Oxfam and Australian Aid

Edition : First

No. of Pages : 4 + 89 pages

ISBN : 978-602-19664-2-6

Year of Publication : September 2016

 

The Awareness of the facts about gender-based violence has led to the presence of a pro-feminist males community. And the presence of the book Laki-laki dalam Asuhan Feminisme (Feminism-fostered Males ) authored by Desti Murdijana and Nur Hasyim and published by Oxfam and Australian Aid in 2016 documents the work of the New Men’s Alliance (ALB) in fostering new values in the society that reflect justice and anti-violence. It also contributes to building knowledge to strengthen women’s political position; enriching knowledge related to the movement of pro-feminist men in Indonesia, and becomes a reference in the development of the program of elimination of violence against women.

This 89-page book begins with an explanation of the discourse and history of the pro-feminist males’ involvement in the world and Indonesia. Furthermore, the three focal points of this book are discussed: (1) the ALB’s views-the only network of pro-feminist men active in Indonesia-towards its movement within the context of the movement for gender equality and the elimination of violence against women in Indonesia, (2) the contribution of ALB in fostering the value of equality in the community, and (3) in supporting the elimination of violence against women.

The phenomenon of men that support non-violence against women in Indonesia lags behind other countries, such as Canada, India, and even the Philippines, Cambodia and Timor Leste. In Indonesia, the record of this movement was preceded by the declaration of Anti-Violence Boys (CANTIK) in 2001 in Jakarta. Eight years after that, in September 2009 in Bandung, the second generation of pro-feminist men established the New Men’s Alliance.

ALB was born out of concern for the situation of oppression and injustice against women that stems from patriarchy as a social system that gives men a higher status and position. ALB considers that injustice against women is structural in nature and is preserved by the various social institutions that make it institutionalized and also renders negative effect for men.

ALB positions itself as a supporter and part of the women’s movement. This is because ALB activists: (1) are close to feminist movements so that some call them “Feminist-fostered Males,” (2) have life experiences that lead to the rejection of violence against women. ALB asserts that it does not manage programs so as not to compete with women’s organizations in getting funding, compete for the scope of action, and give birth to new privileges for men.

ALB initiates to become a movement involving the community. ALB conducts training on the inculcation of gender equality values ​​in communities in a number of villages in East and West Nusa Tenggara. The participants, the New Men (LLB), are trained to apply the values ​​of equality and nonviolence in everyday life, starting from (1) changing their perspective of the self and of women; (2) reducing the trigger of violence against women such as consuming alcohol; (3) engaging in domestic duties such as washing dishes, cooking and child-rearing; (4) stop using violence in resolving domestic conflicts; and (5) managing emotions and building positive communication patterns. Though it is considered weird and lowly by other men, these New Men claim that they feel happier. Most of them also stop committing violence and can communicate more openly with their partner, and have a closer emotional connection with their children.

However, their position has not been fully accepted by women activists. Their consistency and sincerity are always demanded so as to deserve to be called male feminist. Otherwise, they will be regarded as promoting women’s rights simply because they are running a program or project (men doing feminism or pseudo-feminist). ALB and LLB should provide more evidence because men are beheld to be impossible to commit “class suicide”.

However, this book proves that ALB has contributed to encouraging men’s participation in achieving gender equality and the elimination of violence against women. Reading this book makes me feel that I have become a new man. In the family arisan (rotating savings club), in the mosque, and in my class I preach that the Qur’an obliges men to prepare food and clothing ready to eat and use. And at home, I try to apply it though not yet fully. If you do not believe me, please ask my wife. {} Ahmad Fadhil

 

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