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Jakarta Post

Saparinah Sadli: A feminist transformation

  • Julia Suryakusuma


Jakarta   /   Wed, October 12 2011   /  08:59 am

Courtesy of Bachren LukskardinulWhen you hear the word “feminist”, what’s the stereotype that comes to mind? Is it something negative like a man-hating, unattractive women with hairy armpits screaming aggressively about imagined insults?  

If you met one of Indonesia’s leading feminists, Saparinah Sadli, 84, you’d laugh out loud at the absurdity of this stereotype. If anything, I associate Bu Sap (as she is usually known) with warmth, smiles, laughter and modesty — she is someone who never pulls rank.  

I didn’t always find her that way, however. When I was her former student in the psychology department at University of Indonesia (UI) in the mid-1970s, I found her imposing and strict — and certainly not a feminist. So imagine my surprise when, 15 years later, I discovered that not only had her demeanor totally changed, but she had opened a postgra...