Monday, March 22, 2010

How was the Gender Role in Kraton

When I joined fieldtrip at Sultan Palace last Monday, I was shock when the guide described the different clothes for married and unmarried women in Sultan’s family. For unmarried women, they wore kemben (a long narrow sash worn at or above the waist), and for married women, their clothes covered all body. What is the reason behind this? It is interesting for me. I think that it is not just natural rule but there must be philosophical reasons. Islam was known in kingdom family since around 17-18 century, but the tradition of clothes for women did not change. In fact, Sultan Hamengkubono IX established a mosque. It indicates that Islam had been followed. Indeed, Islam promoted that women should cover their whole body, and it did not any differences for unmarried or married women. Therefore, while until recently unmarried women still wore kemben, it means that Islam tenets did not influence in the daily life. I am sure that the clothes code affects in life. So I am wondering to know how women’s role before and after married in Sultan’s family.

Another thing is the carriage for permasuri (King’s wife). It is too small, and according to the guide, it was used. I cannot image how she set on the carriage. I think that it is impossible if she laid down in the carriage. Again, I do not believe that it was made without any purpose. I am sure that gender reason became one of the causes when it was created. The carriage totally is dissimilar with King’s carriage. For the King, carriage is open, so people from outside could see King easily. For permasuri, the carriage is like a box. As a result, permasuri and people from outside could not see each other. I think that studying the gender roles in Sultan family with using these kinds of Sultan’s heritages will enrich the knowledge regarding women’s position and role in Sultan’s family

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