Women, Media, and Society


Source :  Too Young to Wed Website

Gambar 1. Tehani (Pink dress) 8 years old girl who should marry Majed, 27 years old.  Ghada (Green dress) 8 years old girl who should marry Saltan, 33 years old.

“Media describe women to serve male goals.” –Ali  & Khan, 2012 –

                When I read that sentence I remember about my friend and my cousin who will get married months later. I imagine they will do what media said. “To serve male goals.” It’s not just because media said that, but the society whispering out loud about that too.

Media and the society are walking on the harmonic way. Especially on this society, the East culture. No, I don’t want to talk about propaganda, orientalism, and East vs West. I want to talk about how media and society treat women.

No doubt that I still live in patriarchal circle. They think that man should be the leader and women have a ‘great noble’ task to serve male goals. Man is the leader, sitting on political chair, can say everything in front of people while women is ‘meant to be’ a housewife, cleaning, sex, cooking. Are you kidding? Oh yeah, I forget. No, not just being a housewife. Women can has their career too, but it’s so hard for being the leader, and plus don’t forget about the sexual harassment, sexist jokes, and the underestimate for being ‘more emotionally than rationally.’

And after went to professional work, women has the second job, domestic work. Does man has that kind of work? The domestic work? NO. BIG NO. They will easily sleep after works while women should cook for their husband or taking care of their child after working. Why man doesn’t do that? Because society and media said that. Look at the commercial, who is the one who cleaning the dishes? Who is the one who doing the laundry? Who is the one who serving tea? Who is the one who mop the floor? Oh I got one and only answer, WOMEN! Oh yeah and who is the one who appear on commercial as the head of family? Who is the one who describe as a tough one for picking some great health insurance? Who is the one who do the high prestige professional jobs? Oh I got the easiest answer, MAN!

data child marriage

Source : UNFPA  Database

“Women are depicted in media mostly as daughter, wife, mother, girl friend or as working in traditional female jobs (secretary, receptionist, and nurse) or even as sex objects. Moreover they usually young and beautiful but not very well educated feminists. – Ali & Khan, 2012 –”

And how’s the society? Yeah, like I said before, society and media are walking in good harmony. I have wrote an article in Indonesian about child marriage and I found the shocking data about how high child marriage practices in the world. I read UNFPA’s report and found this :

“Despite near-universal commitments to end child marriage, one in three girls in developing countries (excluding China) will probably be married before they are 18. One out of nine girls will be married before their 15th birthday. Most of these girls are poor, less-educated, and living in rural areas. Over 67 million women 20-24 year old in 2010 had been married as girls. Half were in Asia, one-fifth in Africa. In the next decade 14.2 million girls under 18 will be married every year; this translates into 39,000 girls married each day. This will rise to an average of 15.1 million girls a year, starting in 2021 until 2030, if present trends continue. While child marriages are declining among girls under age 15, 50 million girls could still be at risk of being married before their 15th birthday in this decade.”

Look at the data, really. I was so sad and shocked at the first time I read that. Over 67 million women married as girls? and most of them are less educated. That’s what I’m afraid of when I meet someone who want to give up for their education just for got married. I found that one of the factors why there are many child marriages are because society thought that women are less than man (Why does Child Marriage Happen, n.d.). Their parents thought that there are no benefits for girls to get well education because they will end up as wife, and the girls just gonna has a domestic job.

And I found the data from UNICEF survey that 50 percents of the girls have no rights to choose their husband (Volgenstein, 2013). And most of them end up with a man who are very old, too old for the girls.

If you guys think there are no risks to marry an old man, here I give the lists of that risks :

  • HIV / AIDS or spreading of sexual disease. The man could have been married several times before
  • Complication of pregnancy and childbirth because the girl’s body has not ready to pregnant
  • A domestic violation. Remember the story about Bibi Aisha, the girl that her ears and nose had been cut off by her husband? (Hey, I don’t want to talk about the Taliban or US propaganda)
  • Death because of the violation of the pregnancy complication


Bibi Aisha

Oh my God. Look at those risks. You should hanged the pedophiles! No, I don’t hate man, but I hate that kind of man? What are they? Animals? I don’t care about their reasons like to safe the girls economy, or traditions, or religions, or conflicts. Hey if you care enough for the girls just give her an opportunity to get good educations. And all problem will solved.

Not just about child marriage and commercials, women also described negatively on musics, sitcoms, drama, movies, and news. On that media products they mostly represented as sex objects, victims, dependent, irrational, emotional, nurturing, selfless, prostitute, and mistress.

Not just that, I believe that you guys have been heard about the phrase while they found a man cry and yamming, “What are you? A women?” Hey! Women can do more than that. You give to many negative pressure for women’s image. We are not wheeny. And why they always said a strong women as “Oh my God, she ride Ducati like a man.” Or “Oh she run like a man.” Why? Why? When we did something good, the man takes the credit. “She is like a man”  I hate that sentence.

And women ‘always be the blame’ or ‘always be the slut’ when it comes to marriage. I have heard many stories about cheating husbands. And what society thinks about that? “Of course he is cheating. Look at his wife, she is not pretty and I heard that she never cook for her husband.” Or “Do you know why he is cheating on his wife? Because his wife can’t have a baby. Sterile.”

Guys, who’s the wrong and who take the blame? For a God’s sake! But when a wife is cheating, of course they take their own blame. “Oh she is slut. Look at what she wearing.” Guys, can you go to hell? Please, now. or I’ll kick you on the ass and make you go to hell.

Knowing how society treats women like this makes me think, what if all the women gone away. They treat us like we never have a rights to live as human. I believe you guys will think negatively when you see women politician, you will underestimate her, and there are any questions that popped out on your mind like “She will do that? Really?” or maybe you will think that she can get a chair in politic because of her father or husband’s help.

No, guys, no. Women can do something good by their self, without any man’s help. And please stop thinking that man should be the leader while women meant to be the follower. Women can be smart and genius too, women can be the leader too, women should not be the follower or the ‘wife.’ Say ‘NO’ if you think that’s not right for you, don’t afraid to speak. Go, purse your education, pursue your dream, pursue your career. You’re not meant to be less than man. God makes us same with the man except for the reproduction functions. Remember, that we have same rights as man, and we just have one difference with man, reproduction functions. Just it. Don’t believe to everything that media and society said. Believe yourself, and do it as great as women do!

Maybe I don’t do something in action for women. But maybe I can write something for women, because this is what I do. And I would love to make world understand how women can be better, and do more than media and society said.


References :

Ali, G. & Khan, L. A. (2012). Language and Construction of Gender : A Feminist Critique of SMS Discourse. British Journal of Arts and Social Science, 4 (2), 342-360.

United Nations Population Fund. (2012). Marrying Too Young – End Child Marriage. New York: United Nations Population Fund.

Vogelstein, R. (2013). Ending Child Marriage – How Elevating The Status of Girls Advances U.S. Foreign Policy Objectives. New York : The Council on Foreign Relations.

Why does Child Marriage Happen. (n.d.). Diakses pada 04 Oktober 2015, dari http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/why-does-it-happen/.



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