- Jul 19, 2016
First off concerning Suharto, I did say one positive.He repressed everybody, not just the radicals. Newspapers and magazines that pursued corruption cases got their publishing license revoked. He engineered the ouster by force of Megawati from the PDI, which is why she established PDI Perjuangan, the largest political party in Indonesia today. In the final years of his reign political activists began to disappear, never to be found alive anymore.
So, on one hand wearing a hijab to your government office job was an overt act of defiance, but on the other hand not having a religion made you ineligible for government job to begin with. Even today the second requirement for all government jobs is profession of faith to one God (the first being Indonesian citizenship).
It might be difficult to fathom to outsiders, but the jilbab is seen by many as a symbol of freedom of faith and morality, at odds with Suharto’s secular corruption. There is no debate that Suharto’s government was highly corrupt, thus secularism in Indonesia is forever tainted by it.
In late 90s Suharto began moving closer to religion and promoting his brand of it, hoping to secure lasting support from religious groups for his dynasty as he (correctly) predicted the rise of the nationalists, marching behind Megawati. He was looking for a deal similar to the one made by the Saud dynasty in Saudi Arabia. Give him and his family unconditional support, and in exchange he’ll let the hardliners define society as they wish and keep Sukarno followers at bay. Read up on Habibie’s ICMI.
There are so many twists and turns in Indonesian history worthy of Game of Thrones. To hear a simplistic claim on the rise of the jilbab in Indonesia is comical.
I’m not a woman, so I’m not in the best position to answer it. However, if I were to hazard a guess the answer is yes, but not by much and not universally. It doesn’t turn one into a hardliner. As a matter of fact it can give one a measure of safety to speak against hardliners. If two women with jilbabs have a disagreement, then it’s just opposing opinions. If one of them doesn’t wear a jilbab, then there’s an automatic suspicion that the jilbabless lady is against Islam.
You will find that the topless women and the hijabed women belong to two different groups, by ethnicity and religion.
As for women being stronger then vs now, I have to say no difference. I have in fact asked women and comparing then and now most say probably the same. Basically because they were not a thing back then. In todays atmosphere, wearing is considered more faithfull than not wearing if you ask the one wearing. No difference if you ask the one not wearing.
As for the topless women, I am guessing with your answer of different ethnicity and religion you are only looking at Bali. If that were the case I would have mentioned the 1950s. I said turn of the Century. That applies to Javanese, Sundanese, and other areas of Indonesia. Yes, they changed but I have found nothing anywhere that suggest Islam changed their covering practices and they were Muslim. Changes came primarily from Western influances. Mainly the Dutch. Take for example the Kabaya. Most think of it as an original Indonesian fashion and while it was intended for Indonesians, it was introduced by the Dutch. Dutch officers and government personnel introduced it to the aristocratic Indonesian women who they would invite to accompany their aristocratic husbands to some social affairs. Dutch wives thought topless women were unacceptable, especially if any children may be in attendance. So, as a remidy to the women being topless at their events, the Dutch introduced them to the Kabaya. The first Kabaya was a lacy sort of covering and the material and lacing along with it being white made it completely see through. Still, it was accepted and progressed from there as a fashion. Were these women less faithful to their religion? I doubt it. At that time there probably were not many reading the Quran let alone read anything. Were there Imams telling them to cover up? If there were, why wasn't anyone listening to them? Once the aristocrats started covering up, others followed. Kind of like the practice you see today with individual image which may to why the hijab is worn by many. The image of faith no matter if you have it or not. Like buying some cheep thing at Ace so you can walk around with an Ace bag.