By Aihwa Ong, Michæl G Peletz
Contributors lower throughout disciplinary limitations and draw on clean fieldwork and textual research, together with newspaper debts, radio stories, and feminist writing. Their topics variety generally: the writings of feminist Filipinas; Thai tales of widow ghosts; eye-witness money owed of a beheading; narratives of bewitching genitals, recalcitrant husbands, and marketplace ladies as femmes fatales. Geographically, the essays conceal Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The essays carry to this quarter the theoretical insights of gender concept, political economic system, and cultural studies.
Gender and different kinds of inequality and distinction end up altering platforms of symbols and meanings. our bodies are explored as websites of political, fiscal, and cultural transformation. the problems raised in those pages make vital connections among habit, our bodies, domination, and resistance during this dynamic and colourful region.
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Extra info for Bewitching Women, Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia
Many Javanese believe that to experience desire is normal to the human condition, but to be governed by it is dangerous, not only to the individual, but also to the family and to society. Here, one should distinguish between ordinary desires, and those that are excessive and therefore potentially disturbing both to an individual's internal equilibrium and to the social relationships in which he or she WHY WOMEN RULE THE ROOST 33 participates. Nafsu connotes ardent longing or passionate desire which, if left uncontrolled, causes people to behave in an unbalanced, irrational, or socially unacceptable manner.
The key to understanding these contradictory views of gender is to see them as alternative paradigms that can be called upon to legitimate and to interpret the actions of males and females in different contexts. In formal discourse, the hegemonic view of male potency and selfcontrol is more likely to be emphasized, while the view that men have less self-control than women often comes to the fore in casual discourse where there is less at stake ideologically. Because ethnographers have highlighted the dominant model for so long, in the remainder of this essay I will focus on the subordinate perspective in order to demonstrate its significance for understanding gender relations.
10 Scholars of Javanese society are generally quick to point out that while women have economic power and considerable control over household affairs, in the realm of prestige they fall far short of men (Jay 1969; Hatley 1990; Keeler 1987, 1990). This detracts markedly from society's overall eval,uation of their status. According to key ideological formulations, women have certain inborn character traits that doom them to an inferior station in life no matter how much money they earn or how much power they wield in the household (Hatley 1990; Keeler 1987, 1990).