The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has been criticized for issuing a circular to broadcasting institutions prohibiting the appearance of 'feminine men', particularly on television shows.
"The basis of the letter is just patriarchy. The psychological subtext is an accusation that women's bodies are a nest of sin and women are the root of all evil," Rocky Gerung, a philosophy lecturer at the University of Indonesia, said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The letter demonstrated the KPI's tendency to only follow the majority opinion rather than defend the Constitution, he said, adding that it violated the Constitution, which protects freedom of expression.
The KPI is now acting like it has the right to limit the public's rights by prohibiting feminine-acting by men, when at the core of the Constitution is the equality of rights of all citizens, he said.
"The KPI should understand the arts of feminism and democracy and equality between genders. The KPI doesn't seem to understand those," Rocky said.
Viewed from any angle, be it morality, academia or culture, the warning letter was unjustifiable, said Rocky. Gender recognition in South Sulawesi, he noted, acknowledged five genders: men, women, feminine men, masculine women and the neutral gender, considered a godly quality.
"That is Indonesian culture. The KPI, however, doesn't comprehend," Rocky said.
Meanwhile, the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has responded saying also that the circular violated freedom of expression.
"The letter interferes with freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right, as [what they are banning] doesn't involve child pornography or hate speech with a risk of triggering terrorism, illegal activity or racism," Komnas Perempuan chairwoman Yunianti Chuzaifah said.
She also said that the circular would be hard to implement because its objectives were unclear.
"Male puppeteers in puppet shows often imitate women's voices. On the haj pilgrimage men often wear identity bracelets. Will those things be prohibited too?" Yunianti asked. (bbn)(+)
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