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Feminist Voice in the Works of Indonesian Early Woman Writers: Reading Novels and Short Stories by Suwarsih Djojopuspito

Feminist Voice in the Works of Indonesian Early Woman Writers: Reading Novels and Short Stories by Suwarsih Djojopuspito
Aquarini Priyatna
Universitas Padjadjaran, Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 19, No. 2 January 2018., Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol19/iss2/15, ISSN 1539-8706
Bahasa Inggris
Universitas Padjadjaran, Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 19, No. 2 January 2018., Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol19/iss2/15, ISSN 1539-8706
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Suwarsih Djojopuspito is among the most important early Indonesian women/feminist writers. This research intends to emphasize her rightful position among the first Indonesian feminist writers. Focusing on her very important novel Manusia Bebas (published originally in Dutch as Buiten het Gareel in 1940), one collection of short stories, Empat Serangkai (1954), and a novel written in Sundanese, Marjanah (1959), I argue that feminist spirits and ideas actually have existed and been elaborated in works by women writers in the era prior to the Indonesian New Order (1966-1998) as exemplified by Suwarsih’s works. What is important in these works is that despite the unjust gender and sexual construction, the women protagonists and characters are shown to find their agency through their awareness of their particular situation. Suwarsih reestablishes the construction of femininity and attributes it not to total submission and acceptance to males and the patriarchal culture but to female agency, subjectivity, and intelligence.

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