Indonesian Self-Perceptions in Comparison with French Self-Perceptions
Self-perception is how people see themselves, what they think they are, their thought of who they are, it could be physical the way they look or the way they think. This is something that what people have aquired through experiences, society and culture or even from their own beliefs which is the internal factor. Society and culture give huge role for people in how they see themselves eventhough its not the main factor of how the self-perception is shaped in every individual however, every individual who lives in the different areas will have different self-perceptions based on their own society and culture. According to Franz Boas, pioneer of Psychological Anthropology, he says that “We must understand the individual as living in his culture; and the culture as lived by individuals” which means that the culture that is there within society creates individual’s personality which shapes person’s emotions, thoughts, behaviors and even self-perception of how the person percieves and sees themselves.
An example of how culture and society influence people’s self-perception is how Indonesian men see themselves as breadwinners in families because the value that they have is inclined to the religion value which is the islamic value. Indonesia is a country with the muslim majority with over 80% which makes people take perceptions and values based on what their belief. Since in the islamic value, men are obligated to fulfill the financial needs for the family which creates the value in the society that men are actually more obligated than women to fulfill the financial needs in the family therefore, the thoughts that indonesian men have to be breadwinners in the family is effected by the society itself, how the society takes values from the religion then they make it as theirown values. However, it doesnt necessary mean Indonesian women are not allowed to work. Since the Kartini era, women start to percieve their rights of working and getting the same education as men as back then in 18th and 19th century when indonesia was still occupied by colonializm of the Dutch, women were not allowed to work or even to get an education. Back then, only men who were allowed take roles in everything such as political roles, economic roles and even for the education, as they thought men were more right to get an education which obviously made them to feel superior than women. Even, the Governer Genral of the Dutch East Indies who were responsible for The Great Post Road or the Historical road that runs across Java that connects Anyer and Panarukan, between 1808-1811, Herman Willem Deandels stated about male chauvinist. In his statement, he said that “Women dont have place in respect and women are only for private sphare of the the home” Thus, in that era, women are obligated to be housewifes who were issolated from the world because they were obligated to stay at home to cook and do the chourses which created the very low self-perception of women itself. Fortunetly, after Kartini era which starts from early 20th century until now, the self-perception within women are very different. Women start to think that they are as equal as men and now they are entitled to the same social, economic, education and political rights. Neverthless, because the strong religion value is very strong in indonesian society, indonesian women still there are certain roles for each women and men. For example, men are supposed to be a breadwinner and it will put a bad stigma if man just stays at home and being a househusband. Therefore it makes women think that they are not fully responsible for the family’s financial needs, sure some of them work and get money for the family but still for them, as women they have the self-preception as they are responsible to do all the house works and less responsible to fulfill financial needs in the family.
Whereas in the western country based on the interview with the French man who has been living in France since 1997, French men is inclinded to see themselves as equal as women. For them, the obligation to fulfill financial needs is not only for men but also for women or vice versa. The equality value or as french people say egalite ? which is held by french people that is based on their country’s motto which is “Liberte ?, Egalite ?, Fraternite ?” or “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. Many french people even put the equality more than liberty and fretenity which creates the society’s belief that people despite women or men should be equal in every aspect. The equality belief among French society is shaped after the French Revolution. Before French Revolution, women’s position was likely the same as the colonial era in Indonesia. French women were treated as a seceond-class citizens and often viewed as the property or a commodity of a husband, father, or society in general. Lynn Hunt, the author of The French Revolution and Human Rights: A Brief Documentary History, briefly stated that women faced many prejudices before and during the French Revolution such as the way men believed that do to the women’s nature, women were seen as physically weak and were unsited for a political life and that women did not have the intellectual capacity to comperehend political issues.
However, until July 14th, 1789 when French Revolution happened, Revolutionaries and troops take down the bastille then for the first time, women actually participated alongside men in dismantling the Bastille. Neverthless, the equality among men and women were not fully achieved during the French Revolution, women were granted for some rights in the 1790’s but they had never gained full political equality during the revolution. However, the revolution influenced the equality among men and women. After the revolution, feminist movements start to come out such as in 1790, Theroigne de Mericourt founds the Club of Women Friends of the Law (Club des Amies de la Loi), in 1791 Olympe de Gouges: Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Citizens, until 1944 under a provisional government led by Gen, the law about the right to vote for french women was signed which took decades for them to get fully rights. Therefore, their motto of equality which is very strong in their society and culture urged them especially women to be as equal as women which now creates the self-perception of women that in every single aspect like social, economic, politic, education and even the role who should be a breadwinner and who should be the one who takes care of the household are considered equal for both French men and women. The equality belief here is different than indonesian women’s self-perceptions, based on the interview with 3 France girls in Northern France, Vellenciennes, they think the idea of men are more responsible for the family’s financial needs is very strange for them because they think women should work as well, they dont appriciate the concept of full dependancy on men. They see themselves as independent individual and the responsible of the financial needs in the family is for both men and the women despite of their genders. Therefore the way French men and women see themselves is very different than Indonesian men and women’s self-perceptions which is influenced by the society and culture itself.