“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
So at exactly 11 pm I was inspired to write something related to being a girl, feminism, something along those lines and because I started missing interviewing people and seeing things from their perspective I decided to contact my dear friend Janis.
Saras: Jan, can I interview you?
Janis: Sure thing! What for?
For my blog ahahaha. I'm back
Of course, what about?
Thank you Janis for saying yes to this interview - I've always loved hearing about what you think about things. Fast forward to today 10 am, I gave Janis a call - she is currently living in Bali doing Marine Sciences. I am honestly very excited to see her over the lebaran break!
Thanks for letting me interview you, boo. Like I was starting to miss interviewing people so I thought hey, let's just interview you!
Haha me too!
Okay so how are you?
I'm good! Currently bombarded with sooooo many tasks, but I'm alright. Like some of my exams are project-based and task-based so yeah.
Damn girl. All the best! Okay so today I'll be asking you a few things about feminism, would that be okay?
Thank you, haha sure thing!
Okay first, how do you define a feminist?
Um I think a feminist is someone who stands up for what she believes in especially in terms of equality and fairness.
Nice, and what qualities should a feminist have?
I think that a feminist should be brave. I feel like that is the core to well movements and change. And a feminist should definitely have the bravery to fight for what they believe in, to speak up their minds. And I feel like there are different ways on how to show it - I mean some people write, some people orate, some people express their bravery through art. Next, I feel like a feminist should also be open-minded.
Ah okay, why though?
I think that this topic is something that should be seen from various of perspectives and each person has a say on feminism & gender equality and I feel like a feminist should at least try to understand those perspectives, you know?
Haha especially the ongoing stigma that pretty much perceives feminists as men-haters
Yeah exactly, but haha feminists are just trying to create a new culture where equality is prioritized, you know?
I feel you haha. By the way, speaking of this stigma, what are your thoughts on people who see feminists as men-haters?
I think that they're too close minded. They probably fail to see the bigger picture? Like think of it this way, in a room that contains 10.000 boxes filled with different things these people decide only open one box and see what's inside. From that they conclude that every box is the same which is well not a very accurate representative of the other 9.999 boxes.
Agreed! By the way Jan, you know how there are feminists who take it to a whole new level? What are your perspective on that though?
I feel like they can't be considered as feminists honestly. Because what they're doing drifts away from the original purpose - where feminism is not men hating, feminism is all about creating a culture where equality and fairness of both genders is prioritized. I feel like they also contribute to degrading the name of feminist haha.
True. I feel like their motives differ from what feminism is about - perhaps it has become egocentric and full of hatred.
Exactly, it's too crazy haha.
You've heard of the Free Bleeding Movement right?
The what sorry?
*The line was pretty bad*
The Free Bleeding Movement.
No, what is that?
Basically it's a movement that encourages women to menstruate without shame. What happens is women do not wear pads, tampons when they menstruate as a part of this movement.
OH! THAT ONE! Yeah I've heard that one.
They claim it to be a feminist act. What do you think about it though?
I feel like it's a crazy act. I mean let's see it this way - it's not hygienic. And okay women do menstruate but I feel like not everybody is comfortable with seeing blood in general? So I feel like this movement is irresponsible as it causes people to you know, make other people uncomfortable and uneasy. I mean people have different level of blood-tolerance.
*..... and the call was dropped due to unstable internet connection*
Haha girl, sorry my internet connection is really bad.
Haha it's okay!
Okay back to the movement, I agree with you. At the same time I guess you shouldn't be ashamed of menstruating but at the same time I feel like it's a personal thing -it's okay to talk about it but to show it off in public?
Exactly. Like that makes people uncomfortable.
Okay dude last but not least, the most important question of all: Do you consider yourself as a feminist?
I guess I can say that haha! I mean I am constantly trying to erase the stigma and mindset that women can do things men do too. Trying to erase the idea that women are weaker? Which is honestly pretty hard haha. My faculty is physically harsh honestly - I mean we have to go to the shore, dive, etc. But I guess what I like about it is the fact that it perceives men and women as equally strong. I mean it demands both men and women to be able to withstand all the physical activities you know? Withstand going to the sea, withstand diving often - like both men and women are demanded to be good at that.
Haha your faculty sounds so fun. I see your pictures on Instagram and I just wish I was there. I wish I was in Bali.
Haha yeah, it's pretty nice!
Okay back to the topic, sorry I interrupted.
Haha it's okay! Well like I said, I do like that about my faculty - how both gender are started to be perceived equally but I'm still saddened that people are still objectified. And that's what I'm still trying to change.
Haha you know, I think that both men and women are objectified which is equally sad.
But you know what I hate most though?
I think that it's degrading both the woman and the man himself. Makes them seem as if they have never seen women in their life. I just hate it.
Exactly! Makes you feel unsafe when you walk doesn't it?
Yeah! Especially when you're alone, you know? But when like you walk with someone else next to you, the cat-calling ceases. Especially when you walk with a guy.
Probably scared of the guy.
I wonder why isn't the woman scared of though? I mean she could know karate or karate or any self-defense skills.
Haha true! Like our friend Yasminn. On the outside she does not look like someone who knows taekwondo but boy does she know how to throw em kicks.
You know I took taekwondo right? For only like a semester though, then I quit haha!
Haha I remember!
I've seen Yasminn's kicks and damn girl, I would not want to mess with her if I were a guy, honestly. By the way thank you so much for doing this interview with me!
You're most welcome!
One last thing... what are your current favorite song(s)?
For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder!
Thank you so much, see you girl!
No problem! See you!