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Jakarta Post

‘Kebaya’ vs hijab: Questioning Indonesian identity

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London   /   Fri, February 21, 2020   /  09:17 am
‘Kebaya’ vs hijab: Questioning Indonesian identity Dancing in style: Women grouped under the #SelasaBerkebaya (KebayaTuesdays) movement dance at the Dukuh Atas MRT station in Jakarta on June 25, 2019. The movement considers the traditional blouse a part of Indonesian identity and encourages it to be worn for regular activities, not just parties and official occasions. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

On Thursday, Yogyakarta hosted a Kebaya Festival, reportedly involving 2,020 women. It follows limited displays of women deliberately wearing kebaya (traditional blouse) in their daily activities, to assert their Indonesian identity, including many who voluntarily wear the hijab. The trend of wearing hijab or jilbab in Indonesia most probably started to become more visible around mid-1990s, soon after the regulation that allows students to wear religious clothing was issued on Feb. 16, 1991. Earlier relatively few wore it following the influence of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Before this, although there was no formal ban on the jilbab (headscarf), the government 1982 regulation stated there should be stricter standards on national school uniforms, leading school authorities to ban the jilbab. Several students, such as in Jember, East Java, were ...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.