k-pop haram: upaya mengambil alih ruang milik perempuan

Oleh: Ratri Ninditya

Beberapa waktu lalu, seruan Ustad Somad menyebut penggemar Korea kafir membuat publik gusar. Ada satu hal yang ingin saya angkat di sini. Ketika sebuah ruang yang didominasi perempuan muncul, laki-laki cis straight akan berbondong-bondong datang untuk mengatur dan mengambil alih. Perlu dicatat, tulisan ini tidak berasumsi bahwa semua penggemar korea adalah perempuan, tapi nilai-nilai yang kita anut membuat perempuan (terutama yang muslim) menjadi subjek yang sangat disorot dalam komunitas penggemar ini. Penggemar korea sering dibilang gila, obsesif, tidak rasional (tapi apakah penggemar otomotif dan olahraga lebih valid dan masuk akal?).

Ustad Somad adalah orang yang kesekian menggunakan perspektif agama untuk mengecam para penggemar Korea Selatan (untuk selanjutnya kita sebut Korea saja). Seorang ustad lain bernama Fuadh Naim, dengan cara yang lebih persuasif menghimbau umatnya untuk “hijrah” dari obsesi mereka akan Korea. Menurutnya, menggemari artis Korea adalah dosa. Fuadh Naim menggunakan dirinya sendiri sebagai contoh orang yang telah hijrah. Dia menyebut dirinya seorang mantan penggemar Korea, atau dalam bahasanya, #pernahtenggelam. Fuadh Naim secara elaboratif melakukan berbagai upaya untuk berhenti suka dengan Korea, termasuk melakukan wisata selamat tinggal ke Korea Selatan (bersama istri). Fuadh Naim bahkan memproduksi sebuah web series dengan alur dan formula drama Korea, tapi diperankan oleh perempuan berhijab dengan pesan-pesan ketaqwaan pada Islam. Serial yang berjudul “Teman ke Surga” ini ia promosikan sebagai “pengganti drama Korea”.

Secara garis besar, Teman ke Surga menceritakan kisah cinta Dinda, seorang jurnalis kampus berhijab yang taat, dengan Farhan, seorang musisi yang tidak religius. Dinda menerbitkan cerita tentang rencana Farhan menyumbang kepada rakyat Palestina, padahal maksud Farhan hanya bercanda. Untuk menyelamatkan mukanya, Farhan butuh uang untuk betulan menyumbang, dan satu-satunya cara adalah menikah (dengan Dinda). Kisah cinta mereka tumbuh dari lawan menjadi kawan, dari saling benci menjadi cinta. Sambil keduanya cinta-cintaan, Dinda menggiring Farhan menjadi lebih religius.

Walau sarat pesan ketaatan beragama, drama ini menunjukkan nilai mana dari drama Korea yang serupa dan cocok dengan perspektif seorang pria muslim dan nilai mana yang ditentang. Yang mengejutkan, nilai yang dipertentangkan sangat sedikit. Drama menggambarkan keresahan serupa mengenai pernikahan dan pentingnya membentuk keluarga. Karakter perempuan dirayakan dan digambarkan sebagai sosok perempuan ideal. Dinda sebagai istri justru mengimani suaminya Farhan untuk jadi lebih religius. Dinda, seperti pemeran utama perempuan pada kebanyakan drama Korea, adalah sosok yang cerdas, pekerja keras, dan tegas menyatakan pendapatnya. Perbedaannya hanya pada bagaimana ia menolak sentuhan fisik sebelum menikah, cara berpakaiannya, dan usia muda pernikahannya (yang mungkin sudah ilegal dengan kebijakan baru usia minimum menikah!). Di episode pertama, Dinda menolak hand-grab, gesture tipikal pada drama korea yang menandakan dominasi, otoritas, dan posesifnya tokoh laki-laki kepada tokoh perempuan. Lalu cerita menggunakan justifikasi pernikahan untuk menampilkan adegan-adegan yang perlu dan jadi bumbu serial tersebut: sentuhan fisik dan kohabitasyiong.

Dalam khotbah-khotbah sosial medianya, Fuadh Naim juga sering mengolok-olok reaksi seksual perempuan berhijab terhadap idol Korea dan menghubungkannya dengan ayat Al-Quran dan hadis. Dalam postingan ini misalnya, ia men-screencap seorang komentar fans berhijab yang ingin jadi botol yang diminum seorang idol. Naim berkhotbah, bahwa ia diciptakan sebaga khalifah, bukan fangirl, apalagi botol. Postingan-postingan Naim dimaksudkan untuk jadi kontroversial. Kebanyakan yang merespon adalah perempuan berhijab dan muslim, yang kelihatannya merupakan target pasarnya.

Fuadh Naim adalah contoh bagaimana sistem patriarki masyarakat mencoba mengatur subjektivitas perempuan. Lucunya, cara ia mengatur adalah dengan merayakan sifat-sifat perempuan asertif, mandiri, dan intelek yang masih bisa diterima perempuan muslim Indonesia.

Di tahun 2011, Hyun Bin berkunjung ke markas angkatan laut Indonesia di Cilandak, Jakarta. Kunjungannya disebut media sebagai bagian dari tugas wajib militernya. Namun Hyun Bin diundang tidak hanya sebagai prajurit tapi juga dalam rangka pembelian senjata dan perangkat militer dari Korea Selatan (pesawat T-50 dan kapal selam). Selama kunjungan itu, Hyun Bin menjadi semacam badut ganteng yang tak hanya ikut latihan militer sekedarnya tapi juga menyanyi untuk puluhan (atau ratusan?) fans ibu-ibu di Jakarta.

Kunjungan ini menandakan pentingnya menciptakan citra baik militer Indonesia. Acara ini juga dapat dibaca sebagai sebuah gesture simbolis dari sebuah institusi maskulin mengambil alih sebuah ruang yang dikenal sangat non-maskulin.

Korean wave sebagai sebuah ruang yang didominasi perempuan ternyata sanggup membuat senewen struktur patriarki, yang terwujud dalam tokoh agama dan instansi militer yang berbondong-bondong mengokupasi dan mengatur. Dinamika ini menunjukkan potensi readership perempuan untuk memutarbalikkan kuasa ke arah berbeda, tempat perempuan dapat membayangkan relasi antar gender yang lebih setara.

Catatan cucoklogi:

Fenomena budaya pop Asia sendiri memang mendapatkan relevansinya di masyarakat Indonesia yang berlatar belakang agama cukup kuat. Konteks historisnya adalah pergeseran dominasi maskulin/militer pasca orde baru, terbukanya arus informasi transasia, etos kapitalisme, dan kebutuhan untuk memiliki representasi alternatif dari Hollywood, di mana tokoh-tokohnya berorientasi pada hasil akhir. Sifat kerja keras pantang menyerah tokoh perempuan dalam drama Korea dihargai sebagai nilai moral itu sendiri, yang kebetulan sejalan dengan ajaran agama Islam yang berusaha dan berserah diri ketika semua usaha sudah diupayakan.

Melalui etos kapitalis ini (kerja keras pantang menyerah), perempuan kelas menengah Indonesia bisa membayangkan hubungan yang lebih emansipatif di masyarakat, menjadi kuat dan mandiri di tengah struktur masyarakat yang patriarkis sambil tetap memegang teguh nilai agama dan nilai kolektif dalam keluarga.

Sumber catatan cucoklogi:

Chua, BH 2012, Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture, TransAsia: Screen Cultures, Hong Kong University Press, HKU, Hong Kong.

Heryanto, A 2014, Identity and pleasure : the politics of Indonesian screen culture, Kyoto CSEAS series on Asian studies / Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University ; 13, NUS Press in association with Kyoto University Press Japan, Singapore.

Bagaimana cerita “KKN di Desa Penari” menggambarkan masyarakat kita

Oleh: Ratri Ninditya

Ketika cerita KKN di Desa Penari jadi viral di Twitter, pembahasan terpanas dari beberapa orang di sekitar saya adalah seputar ada atau tidaknya hantu. Di WhatsApp group RT saya, bahkan seorang dokter mengkaitkan firasat dan kemampuan melihat hantu dengan gejala psikosis.

Di tulisan ini, ada atau tidaknya hantu tidak terlalu penting, begitu juga akurat atau tidaknya cerita. Yang menarik buat saya adalah bagaimana cerita ini menggambarkan cara pandang kita terhadap hal tertentu, terutama menyangkut seksualitas, tubuh (terutama yang muda dan perempuan), dan agama. Bagi saya, cerita ini menunjukkan bahwa kita masih misoginis dan normatif. Cerita ini masih berfungsi sebagai sebuah pedoman moral, yang menciptakan batasan akan apa yang “diperbolehkan” dan “dilarang” dan apa konsekuensinya jika seseorang “menolak patuh”.

Dalam cerita, seluruh karakter protagonis perempuan digambarkan tidak berdaya dan butuh bantuan lelaki lebih tua untuk keluar dari kutukannya (Widya dan Nur). Sebaliknya, karakter perempuan yang bertindak mengikuti hasrat seksualnya (Ayu) digambarkan sebagai antagonis dan dihukum di dalam cerita. Hubungan seks di luar pernikahan dipandang sebagai sebuah kesalahan fatal, padahal hubungan tersebut sesuai persetujuan kedua belah pihak. Lebih jauh lagi, cerita ini menyebutkan bahwa Ayu membuat Bima mau tidur dengannya melalui guna-guna (selendang hijau yang dipinjamkan oleh Badarawuhi), bukan karena Bima sendiri yang bersedia. Bima “khilaf”, menurut penutur cerita.

Selain itu, aktivitas menari dikaitkan dengan ritual pengorbanan. Dalam tarian di cerita ini, tubuh perempuan diobjektivikasi, bukannya mendapat otoritas. Perempuan menari untuk menghibur warga lelembut (sebelum dikorbankan). Tubuh perempuan penari di cerita ini adalah milik warga lelembut, bergerak di luar keinginannya sendiri. Menari juga dijadikan sebuah hukuman akan ketidakpatuhan Ayu yaitu berhubungan seks di luar nikah. Badarawuhi, sebagai tokoh perempuan sakti, berbeda dari Nyi Roro Kidul atau tokoh lain yang sering Suzanna perankan. Karena di cerita ini, Badarawudi meminta tumbal berupa perempuan perawan muda, alih-alih lelaki hidung belang.

Dari plot tersebut, tampak juga bahwa cerita ini mengkultuskan keperawanan dan kemudaan perempuan. Kenapa tumbalnya harus seorang perempuan muda perawan? Apa yang istimewa dari kondisi tersebut?

Yang terakhir, mencoba mengelaborasi diskusi dengan seorang teman, hukuman menari terhadap Ayu uncannily mengingatkan kami dengan kasus-kasus persekusi warga terhadap pasangan yang berhubungan seks luar nikah. Buat kami, Ayu dan Bima adalah satu contoh dari korban persekusi lain di seluruh Indonesia yang trauma dengan tindakan warga lalu terkena gangguan mental.

KKN di Desa Penari, baik itu versi Widya atau Nur, adalah produk masyarakat patriarki dan misoginis yang masih sibuk dengan kepatutan sikap perempuan di ruang publik dan privat. Saya menunggu banget versi feminis cerita ini.

*cerita KKN di Desa Penari dapat dibaca di sini dan sini

**gambar diambil dari sini dan sini

Between Local and Global: Reading Indonesian Webtoon My Pre-Wedding

By: Shafira Bella

Indonesia has a long history of comic readership. For most 1990s born like me, comics, especially translated Japanese comics, were something that we grew up with. However, the younger generations nowadays are more likely to be familiar with a “new” form of digital comic, which is LINE Webtoon. Let me briefly talk about comic in Japan and South Korea. Along with the development of technology, the sales of digital comics in Japan inclined by 27.1 percent in 2017 and is estimated to outnumber the printed ones over the following years according to The Research Institute for Publications (Nagata, 2017). A similar issue also happens in Indonesia with the arrival of Webtoon in the comic market. Originated in South Korea due to the decline of manhwa (Korean comic), web cartoons were born in 2003 and began to be exported by Line, a Naver (online platform in South Korea) subsidiary, in 2014 by translating webtoons to English (Park, 2014). Throughout this essay, I refer to Webtoon with a capitalised ‘W’ refers to the platform, LINE Webtoon, while the lowercase ‘webtoon’ refers to the digital comic.

This essay seeks to answer the questions: How does Asian popular culture relate to processes of regional integration and/or globalisation? How is popular culture affected by, and how does it affect in turn, the transnational flows of people and products within and outside of Asia? In doing so, I utilise a case study of My Pre-Wedding (2015) by Annisa Nisfihani, the winner of LINE Webtoon Challenge in 2015 (LINE Webtoon, 2015). Other than its popularity, this webtoon is interesting because the creator adopts Japanese comic aesthetics despite her Indonesian background. I argue that My Pre-Wedding illustrates the glocalised inter-Asian transnational flows of popular culture through comics while promoting Indonesian values.

As this essay was submitted as one my final papers, my delivery could be “too” academic in many parts but please bear with me (and my academic-ish writing)!

Contextualising Indonesian Comic

Indonesian comic might be less heard globally; however, it has a long history which can be traced back to the era of Dutch occupation. In 1930, Kho Wang Gie was the first Indonesian comic artist whose comic Put On was published in a newspaper called Sin Po and was loved by many because of its funny characters (Indonesia Kreatif, 2015). However, that comic stopped being produced when Sin Po was prevented from publishing during the Japanese occupation in 1942. Several years later, comics resurfaced again. In the 1950s, Abdulsalam is mentioned to be the most prominent comic artists; however, American comics reached its peak in Indonesia in 1952 (Bonneff, 1998, pp. 21-22). In 1954, Indonesian comic artists such as R.A. Kosasih started to adopt American comic storyline and drawing style but was localised by featuring Indonesian heroes and heroines (Bonneff, 1998, p. 24). The most popular comics at that time were Sri Asih, Puteri Bintang (Star Princess) and Kapten Komet (Comet Captain). Bonneff (1998, p. 29) continues that wayang (leather puppet show) comic became popular until it declined in 1960. Wayang comics are often mentioned as the most ‘original’ Indonesian comic.

Moving forward to 1990s, Japanese comics entered the Indonesian market. Kuslum, as cited in Sihombing (2014), stated that only 1 local comic out of 25 Japanese comics was released monthly in 2007 by Elex Media Komputindo. The constant influence of foreign comics has a purchase on the contemporary Indonesian comics. Ahmad, Zpalanzani and Maulana (2006, p. 93) argue that many Indonesian readers are hesitant to read comics in other drawing styles, most readers only accept comics with Japanese comic aesthetics. As a result, many Indonesian comics adopt the Japanese comic drawing styles with large-eyes characters and often the artists use Japanese pennames, for example, Magic of Love (2008) by Anzu Hizawa. The rise of Indonesian comic is marked by the existence of Ngomik.com since 2010. Five years later, LINE Webtoon opened in Indonesia in April 2015 and quickly became the centre of coloured digital cartoon platform in the country. Indonesia is the biggest Webtoon readers with more than six million active readers as of 2016, which outnumbered the readers in other countries (Agnes, 2016). The webtoons published are both from Indonesian authors and foreign authors, especially from South Korea and Thailand.

Webtoon Glocalisation: My Pre-Wedding

As I mentioned earlier, My Pre-Wedding is written and drawn by Annisa Nisfihani with a total of 26 episodes. My Pre-Wedding (MPW) is read by more than two million readers and each chapter is liked by 99,999+ readers as of May 2019. MPW narrates the story of Adelia ‘Adek’ Putri and Adimas ‘Mas’ Purnama who are both Indonesian civil servants in a sub-district in Tenggarong, East Kalimantan. During office hours, Adelia, a civil servant working in the sub-district office, receives an unexpected marriage proposal from Adimas who works as a district secretary next to Adelia’s office. The sudden proposal happens in Adelia’s office administration room filled with her workmates. They face several obstacles before marriage such as Adelia misunderstands the date of Adimas’ official proposal and thought he cancels his proposal, her father rejects Adimas’ proposal, trust-issue and Adelia’s ex puppy love ‘boyfriend’. This webtoon ends with Adelia and Adimas’ marriage.

MPW is a webtoon that features both local and global qualities. MPW is set in everyday life of Indonesia, particularly in the island of Kalimantan. The story happens in daily places such as in an office, a minimarket, a pharmacy, rocky road in the countryside and the characters’ houses. As civil servants, Adelia and Adimas wear uniforms—khaki, white, batik (Indonesian traditional fabric) and green according to the day. Everyday life narrative in the webtoon is the main point that the readers can relate. Canário (2015, p. 91) argues that narrating the mundane life can ‘create a meaningful connection between text and reader by appealing to a familiar background’ with a touch of ‘complexity and contradiction’. The conflicts that I mentioned earlier are also the ones that might happen in real life. Local values and wisdom featured in the webtoon become one of the main selling points that brought MPW to be loved by many readers. The setting of MPW is in a sub-district in East Kalimantan which gives areas outside Java to be featured in popular culture. Therefore, MPW offers a wide scope of readers in Indonesia, including those who do not live in big cities are able to find this webtoon relatable.

The characters’ jobs as civil servant become the core of the most Indonesian background story. Civil servants are often related to middle class. Civil servants’ salary depends on the rank and position to determine the basic salary and structural allowances. Being a civil servant is seen desirable because of the ‘guaranteed’ salary, small opportunity of being fired and easy access to healthcare. Moreover, the base of the story is about marriage without dating, which is commonly practised by several Muslims in Indonesia and is known as taaruf. Nilan (2008, p. 79) argues that many Indonesian youngsters see ‘marriage as a financial haven through which validating consumption, personal security and individual social status legitimacy’ after they feel like they are stable enough to start a family. The status quo is reflected in MWP in which both main characters are financially stable; therefore, marriage is the next goal. In this sense, through MPW, webtoon becomes a form of popular culture which connects Indonesian readers with the local-infused storyline which is close to the readers. Several points that come up here are civil servants, the rise of middle class, the importance of financial stability, marriage and the relatable characters. The accessibility of Webtoon as a free platform makes people regardless of their class who have smartphones and internet connection can enjoy reading this form of digital comic.

While the local aspects of MWP revolve around the narratives of everyday Indonesia, the global in this webtoon shows the complete opposite. Although the author constructs her story and characters in an Indonesian setting, the drawing style is heavily influenced by Japanese girls’ comic. The example of the Japanese girls’ comic aesthetic can be seen on the figures below:

source

Figure 1. Adimas proposes Adelia (Prologue)

Figure 2. Adimas is scared of a cockroach but he tries to keep calm (Episode 2)

Those two figures illustrate the way Japanese girls’ comic aesthetics is adopted to an Indonesian webtoon. The most obvious drawing style is on the similarities in ‘the physical drawings of women in girls’ manga—the large eyes and pupils; long lashes; slim torso, limbs, and hips; and the petite noses, mouths, and breasts’ (Schwartz & Rubinstein-Ávila, 2006, p. 45). Adelia is depicted as a brown-haired female with large eyes, slender figure and is shorter than Adimas. Moreover, Nisfihani also incorporates the use of onomatopoeia, glittery background for romantic scenes, dark and dramatic backgrounds are used to depict conflicts and even the choice of font that is commonly used in Japanese translated comics. As seen in the two figures above, Nisfihani is heavily influenced by Japanese girls’ comic drawing style, except that her work here is coloured. Although Indonesian comics start to flourish all over again through Webtoon, the drawing style of this popular Indonesian webtoon is still limited to the adoption of Japanese aesthetics, but with several tweaks to meet the standard of webtoon panels. The main differences between webtoon and Japanese comics are the panel and the colouring. Webtoons usually consist of 10-30+ panels each episode, drawn on 800 x 1280 pixels canvas.

Other than the daily life storyline, the adoption of Japanese girls’ comic aesthetic plays an important role in informing which drawing style is preferred by Indonesian readers. As I flagged earlier that Ahmad, Zpalanzani and Maulana (2006, p. 93) claim most Indonesian readers find Indonesian comic with Japanese comic aesthetics more acceptable. Another scholar, Sari (2018), stated that comic enthusiasts in Indonesia prefer Japanese comic because the theme of the story is close to the readers’ daily life, not only action or colossal comic like many of Indonesian original comics. As I mentioned above, MPW narrates a story about two civil servants who are about to get married. MPW features two characteristics that are desired in Indonesia: the use of Japanese girls’ comics drawing style and the daily life storyline. The combination of those two aspects rocketed MPW to be the winner of the 2015 LINE Webtoon Challenge and constantly became the most read webtoon even after the competition ended. Through the combination of closeness and familiarity, MPW helps to connect diverse Indonesian readers through a globalised form of popular culture.

Furthermore, the female agency in MPW is worth noting because Adelia’s character shows the pseudo-agency she has. Figure 2 above is the background story of why Adimas is interested in Adelia—partly because of her bravery in smashing the cockroach. During the flashbacks to the characters’ high school days, Adelia is pictured to be a ‘tomboy’ whom Adimas at first thought she was a boy. On the surface, Adelia is an independent woman who is not afraid of anything; however, at the end of the day, she still needs to perform her femininity by tying the knot. Schwartz and Rubinstein-Ávila (2006, p. 45) argues that in Japanese girls’ comic, ‘the so-called strong and powerful young female protagonists are also the ones who compliantly fulfill their caretaker roles (as good daughters, granddaughters, or girlfriends)’ and are ‘submissive and sexually available companion’ for the male main characters. Adelia is portrayed as having a lesser agency towards the end of the webtoon. The similar gender representation of this Indonesian webtoon compared to the many Japanese girls’ comics shows the proximity between the two Asian countries.

Befu, as cited in Wong (2006, p. 30) claims that ‘”similarity of the cultural assumptions and background – undeniably makes it easier for some Asian countries to understand and emphasize with performances and characters.”’; therefore, Japanese comics are able to go global, especially to other Asian countries. In the context of MPW, cultural similarities are the vehicle for the author to capture the readers’ hearts by utilising familiarity. Familiarity does not only come in the form of drawing style and the use of local Indonesian setting, but also in the ‘socially acceptable’ gender-based agency of the characters.

MPW is not only a contemporary form of globalisation but is also the vivid example of the glocalisation of Japanese (girls’) comics. Other than the Japanese girls’ comic drawing style, MPW has a strong Indonesian element attached to the webtoon. However, instead of decreasing the local value of the webtoon, the Japanese-influenced visual boost its popularity and familiarity. Iwabuchi, as cited in Wong (2006, p. 35), argues that Japanese popular culture is ‘culturally odorless’ because of the necessity to suppress ‘Japanese cultural odor is imperative if they are to make inroads into international markets’. By looking at MPW, the adoption of Japanese girls’ comics drawing style is possible because of the flexibility that the ‘odorless’ Japanese popular culture has to offer. Such glocalised digital comic is also because of the constant exposure of Japanese comics. The author also uses English title although the whole webtoon is narrated in the Indonesian language. These aspects show that it is possible for a webtoon to be local yet global at the same time. Japanese (girls’) comics drop the barrier between comics in different regions in Asia and Southeast Asia, and it obscures any possible differences under one comic visual quality. Through webtoon, Indonesian comic industry flourishes once again and becomes the symbol of glocalisation of Asian popular culture.

Webtoon and Transnational Flow

Indonesian webtoon becomes a space of comic glocalisation because of its local storyline but with a touch of global visual. Suter (2013, p. 556) argues that the strategy in using Western settings cannot be reduced as ‘the result of an inferiority complex towards Europe nor just a form of reverse racism that objectifies the West,’ because it shows the complex process of creative ‘reification’ and ‘critical reflections on gender and cultural norms’. However, in the case of MPW, the use of foreign drawing style is not only a result of Japanese comic exposure, but it also becomes the vehicle for an Indonesian webtoon to be consumed transnationally.
Webtoon is mentioned to be the next popular culture that represents Korean Wave. Jang and Song (2017, p. 183) argue that K-pop and webtoons are similar because webtoons ‘are in accord with the concept of glocalization that empowers local communities to balance the hybridity of global factors and local characteristics’. The concept of empowering local webtoon authors to create comics on a foreign platform can be read as a strategy to conquer the market by presenting contents that the local readers will feel comfortable in consuming while benefitting local creators at the same time.

The huge interest of webtoons in Indonesia as the biggest LINE Webtoon users shows that such strategy works. Moreover, encouraging local creators ‘cultivating local societies to create new types of webtoons’ (Jang & Song, 2017, p. 182) gives the opportunity for transnational readers to be as creative as they want. Webtoon as a free digital comic service does not only give the opportunity for transnational readers with any background to enjoy the stories in the platform, but it also becomes an alternative to aspiring authors who do not have the space in the world of Indonesian comic making. For stable authors, Webtoon can be a stepping stone to publish their works to international audience.

Upon gaining domestic recognition, MPW is officially translated to Thai (Kusumanto, 2016)
and Japanese (Kusumanto, 2017) to be published on the respective countries’ Webtoon sites. MPW is also translated by fans to more than 20 languages on Webtoon Translate, an official fan-translation website provided by LINE Webtoon. Despite the strong local Indonesian characteristics (the names, jobs and settings), MPW is still palatable to international readers, especially within Asia. The export of MPW is in line with Wong’s argument that ‘manga has the characteristics “representing the juxtaposed sameness and difference”’ (2006, p. 29). Likewise, this webtoon presents similarities and differences that the Asian readers can negotiate while consuming exported (digital) comics. Webtoon and its transnational ‘nature’ allows any digital comics regardless of the style and storyline to be globally acceptable. Looking at the broad range of language on the fan translation website, MPW (and webtoons in general) is enjoyed within and outside of Asia. However, MPW is officially marketed within Asia only. The Asian-centric marketing strategy is due to the core of webtoons: familiarity. Not only Indonesian webtoons being translated to other languages in Asia, but also other webtoons from other countries are translated and published in Indonesia. Cultural exchange through (Asian) popular culture happens through webtoons. The familiar culture presented in webtoons has the agency to break cultural boundaries between (Asian) countries.

In the globalised comic industry, MPW shows that even when an Indonesian comic, or in this case it is a webtoon, reverts to locality, it is possible to reach both local and global audience despite its Indonesian ‘odour’. However, it is also possible because the familiar Japanese aesthetics exist in the webtoon. Although my scope is Indonesian webtoon and Japanese girls’ comic, the platform that publishes the chosen webtoon is originated from South Korea. Both Indonesia and South Korea were once colonised by Japan. Despite the similar history of being a Japanese colony, while South Korea’s official policy forbids the ‘production or distribution of Japanese’ popular culture products (Wong, 2006, p. 34), Indonesia does not take such stance. Indonesian popular culture enthusiasts still consume Japanese products including comics, animations, TV series and movies. Japanese aesthetics glorification exists in the Indonesian comic readers’ preference in reading comics which adopt Japanese drawing style. However, the existence of webtoons obscures the history of colonisation and further integrates the countries, although the relationships between the countries are limited to business only.

Exporting MPW to the transnational audience can become a medium to introduce everyday Indonesia. Especially when the webtoon is re-produced to another form of popular culture such as film or TV series. In Indonesia, Terlalu Tampan (‘Too Handsome’) is the only webtoon that is made into a movie. In South Korea, there are many popular webtoons being remade into TV dramas; for example, My ID is Gangnam Beauty and Cheese in the Trap. Although there is no plan for MPW (and/or its sequel) to be adapted to different media product, a local news portal ‘invites’ their readers to imagine possible actors and actresses to be casted in the TV series version of MPW (Brilio, 2016). This shows that webtoons are flexible and adaptable to various kinds of entertainment. Although transnational co-production beyond webtoon has not happened yet, but it is possible with the growing global interest of webtoons. Webtoon’s transnational publishing is only the beginning of any possibility that webtoons will bring. Transnational popular culture allows readers and authors from different regions to ‘interact’ by creating and consuming webtoons regardless of their origins.

Conclusion
In conclusion, MPW is the result of Japanese (girls’) comic exposure in Indonesia which intersects with the transnational opportunity offered by Webtoon. MPW is a webtoon that features both local and global qualities. MPW’s local aspects lie on the naming of the characters and the settings in everyday Indonesia. The global in MPW is because of its adoption of Japanese girls’ comic drawing style, the use of English title and the fact that it is translated and published in Japan and Thailand. The strong local values in many webtoons, including MPW, does not limit the popularity of the webtoons when they are published outside the countries of origins; instead, locality can be the main selling point. Similarly, MPW deploys familiarity to be both locally and transnationally acceptable by creating a story that the readers can relate to.

Familiarity goes beyond drawing style and the everyday settings, the webtoon features ‘socially acceptable’ gendered agency of the characters. That way, MPW is the representation of (digital) comic glocalisation. When webtoons are exported to other countries, cultural exchange through (Asian) popular culture happens. The ‘familiarity’ of webtoons across Asia has the power to obscure cultural boundaries between (Asian) countries. Webtoon as a form of transnational popular culture shows the flexibility to be converted into different types of entertainment media and also the high possibility to be consumed by readers from various class, gender and racial identities. This transnational form of (Asian) popular culture should be celebrated because it has its own agency to move across various boundaries including spatial, linguistics, economics and cultural barriers.

References

Agnes, T 2016, Pembaca LINE Webtoon Indonesia Terbesar di Dunia, viewed May 26, https://hot.detik.com/art/d-3274551/pembaca-line-webtoon-indonesia-terbesar-di-dunia

Ahmad, H, Zpalanzani, A & Maulana, B 2006, Martabak: Histeria! Komikita, Elex Media Komputindo, Jakarta.

Bonneff, M 1998, Komik Indonesia, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia : Forum Jakarta-Paris, Jakarta.

Brilio 2016, Andai jadi sinetron, 10 seleb ini cocok main di Webtoon My Pre-Wedding, viewed May 27, https://www.brilio.net/gadget/andai-jadi-sinetron-10-seleb-ini-cocok-main-di-webtoon-my-pre-wedding-161118z.html

Canário, T 2015, ‘On Everyday Life: Frédéric Boilet and the Nouvelle Manga

Movement’, in Brienza, C (ed.), Global Manga : ‘Japanese’ Comics Without Japan?, Routledge, Burlington, VT.

Indonesia Kreatif 2015, Menelusuri Perkembangan Komik Indonesia Masa ke Masa, viewed May 26, http://indonesiakreatif.bekraf.go.id/iknews/menelusuri-perkembangan-komik-indonesia-masa-ke-masa/

Jang, W & Song, JE 2017, ‘Webtoon as a new Korean wave in the process of glocalization’, Kritika Kultura, vol. 2017, no. 29, pp. 168-187.

Kusumanto, D 2016, My Pre-Wedding Hadir dalam Bahasa Thai, viewed May 27, https://www.kaorinusantara.or.id/newsline/58530/my-pre-wedding-hadir-dalam-bahasa-thai

Kusumanto, D 2017, My Pre-Wedding Kini Hadir dalam Bahasa Jepang, viewed May 27, https://www.kaorinusantara.or.id/newsline/101297/my-pre-wedding-kini-hadir-dalam-bahasa-jepang

Line Webtoon 2015, Webtoon “My-Prewedding” karya pemenang pertama Webtoon Contest telah terbit!, viewed May 25, https://www.facebook.com/LINEWEBTOONID/photos/webtoon-my-prewedding-karya-pemenang-pertama-webtoon-contest-telah-terbit-httpli/1954859024738275/

Nagata, K 2017, As manga goes digital via smartphone apps, do paper comics still have a place?, viewed May 26, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/02/business/manga-goes-digital-via-smartphone-apps-paper-comics-still-place/#.XO3Cy9MzaRs

Nilan, P 2008, ‘Youth transitions to urban, middle-class marriage in Indonesia: faith, family and finances’, Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 65-82.

Nisfihani, A 2015, My Pre-Wedding, viewed May 20, https://www.webtoons.com/id/romance/my-pre-wedding/list?title_no=588&page=3

Park, J-W 2014, Korea’s webtoon market experiences exponential growth over past 10 years, viewed May 26, http://www.arirang.co.kr/news/News_View.asp?nseq=166701

Sari, DM 2018, Industri Komik Indonesia dan Sebuah Optimisme, viewed May 26, https://kumparan.com/dieny-maya-sari/industri-komik-indonesia-dan-sebuah-optimisme

Schwartz, A & Rubinstein-Ávila, E 2006, ‘Understanding the Manga Hype: Uncovering the Multimodality of Comic-Book Literacies’, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 40-49.

Sihombing, F 2014, Blurring the Boundaries of Comics Classification in Indonesia through Wanara, https://kyotoreview.org/issue-16/blurring-the-boundaries-of-comics-classification-in-indonesia-through-wanara/

Suter, R 2013, ‘Gender Bending and Exoticism in Japanese Girls’ Comics’, Asian Studies Review, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 546-558.Wong, WS 2006, ‘Globalizing Manga: From Japan to Hong Kong and Beyond’, Mechademia, vol. 1, pp. 23-45.

Microhabitat: menciptakan rumah dari rokok dan wiski

Sutradara & penulis: Jeon Go Woon

Cast: Esom sebagai Mi So

Apa artinya rumah? Apa yang membuat seseorang nyaman dan utuh? Film ini menelusurinya dalam konteks kehidupan urban Korea Selatan dan sekelompok orang yang mengalami krisis sepertiga baya.

Secara luas, film ini menginvestigasi apa yang hilang ketika seseorang hidup sesuai pakem-pakem masyarakat. Secara spesifik, film ini menceritakan bagaimana seorang perempuan berusaha ‘menemukan’ dirinya di tengah tuntutan menjadi perempuan dewasa. Microhabitat membuat penonton bertanya, apa dewasa selalu berarti menciptakan sebuah rumah dan isi-isi di dalamnya secara harfiah?

Microhabitat mengikuti sepotong kehidupan perempuan bernama Mi So yang menolak kemapanan. Kesenangannya adalah rokok, wiski, dan pacar. Penghasilannya pas-pasan karena ia puas dengan bekerja sebagai pembersih rumah. Ketika pemerintah menaikkan harga rokok, Mi So malah merelakan rumah kontrakannya dan mulai mendatangi teman-teman band lama untuk numpang menginap dan makan malam. Penonton dibawa untuk mengikuti bagaimana Mi So menilai hidup dan kebahagiaan teman-temannya. Dari seorang perempuan karir yang harus menginfus diri di kantor untuk kerja lembur, lelaki anak mami yang terlalu nyaman di rumah orang tua, ibu rumah tangga kaya raya, perempuan rumah tangga dari keluarga pemilik restoran cina, dan lelaki melankolis yang dighosting istri, Mi So menemukan sahabat-sahabat lamanya sangat tidak bahagia, walaupun mereka memiliki rumah dan keluarga, sebuah definisi kedewasaan masyarakat kelas menengah yang jarang kita pertanyakan. Mereka menjalani hidup yang sangat kontras dibanding Mi So, perempuan sebatang kara yang menggeret koper oranye ke mana-mana. Saat ia merokok di tengah musim dingin Seoul dan minum wiski berusia 12 tahun, ia menemukan kenyamanannya. Rumah Mi So bukan sebuah kotak dengan pintu dan jendela, tetapi: rokok, wiski, dan pacar, tiga hal yang stabil dalam hidupnya. Aku tak punya rumah tapi aku punya hobiku, Mi So bilang.

sumber

Di sini Mi So adalah sosok yang melakukan perlawanan dengan membangun rumah versinya sendiri. Berkeluarga di dalam rumah yang yahud, seperti yang ia amati dari teman-temannya, berarti kehilangan kebebasan. Tapi film ini tidak lalu menjadikan keutuhan diri Mi So final. Ia harus mengartikan ulang makna rumah dan keutuhan dirinya, apalagi setelah harga wiski juga dinaikkan lalu pacarnya meninggalkan dia ke Arab Saudi. Sebagian pengeluaran Mi So selain untuk tiga hal favoritnya didedikasikan untuk beli jamu pencegah uban. Sementara teman-teman Mi So menjalani hidup dewasa, Mi So menolak tua. Namun ketika harga wiski ikut naik, Mi So merelakan tidak beli jamu anti uban lagi, ia menyerah untuk menjadi ‘tua’. Tapi bukan berarti perlawanannya berakhir. Ia tetap punya definisi dewasanya sendiri. Di akhir film tampak sosok perempuan berambut putih yang tetap menghisap rokok dan menyeruput wiski, sebelum pulang ke rumahnya: sebuah tend oranye di pinggir sungai Han.

Mungkin film ini diendorse oleh beberapa merk rokok dan wiski, tapi dengan jitu film ini mengkritisi sikap tipikal negara menyalahkan napza dan bagaimana premis “gaya hidup sehat” sebenarnya sangat politis dan bias kelas. Alasan harga alkohol dan rokok dinaikkan punya implikasi sangat berbeda dari yang dipropagandakan. Ini bukan tentang hidup lebih sehat atau upaya mengurangi tingkat kriminalitas akibat penyalahgunaan napza. Ini tentang pembentukan masyarakat budiman dan penegakan norma-norma femininitas ‘timur’ untuk menandingi arus globalisasi. Karena, banyak kalangan kelas menengah bawah tidak akan menghentikan konsumsi rokok dan alkoholnya. Microhabitat bahkan dengan jeli menggambarkan, kesenangan yang didapat dari merokok dan minum jadi sebuah cara membebaskan diri dari hidup yang mencekik. Buat apa tinggal di rumah berheater, punya bayi lucu, dan kerja di perusahaan prestigius, jika kita tidak merasa belong. Apa artinya upaya mengurangi penyalahgunaan napza dengan menaikkan harganya ketika di sudut lain kota seorang perempuan karir infus glukosa demi bisa kerja lebih panjang?

*feature image diambil dari sini

Representasi perempuan dan penyakit kejiwaan di Sharp Objects

Apakah kita perlu satu lagi cerita tentang perempuan-perempuan dengan penyakit kejiwaan? Tidak ada salahnya. Tapi jika cerita lagi-lagi berputar di ketidakstabilan mental perempuannya saja, tanpa lebih jauh menggali masyarakat rasis dan seksis yang jadi penyebab ke”tidaknormal”annya, apakah sebuah cerita bisa kehilangan potensinya untuk bisa kritis dan jatuh ke dalam penggambaran stereotipikal perempuan-gila-butuh-dicerahkan? Apakah penggambaran perempuan yang menjadi subjek dan objek kekerasan bisa dikategorikan feminis? Pertanyaan itu berputar di kepala saya setelah nonton serial televisi Sharp Objects yang diangkat dari novel berjudul sama karya Gillian Flynn.

Di satu sisi, serial ini berhasil membongkar romantisasi peran ibu dan hubungan ibu-anak. Dari luar, karakter Adora Preaker masuk ke dalam stereotipikal ibu-ibu kulit putih old money: rambut pirang lurus bergelombang, bersuara lembut, suka pakai hak tinggi saat masak di rumah. Ia penyayang anak dan suka merawat (bahkan terlalu suka, terutama saat anak-anaknya mengeluh sakit). Cerita perlahan menguliti karakter Adora yang suka mendikte kedua anaknya untuk tampil feminin, ia juga menjadi akar masalah Camille Preaker (diperankan oleh Amy Adams) menjadi seorang alkoholik yang suka menyakiti diri sendiri. Adora kerap kali menyalahkan Camille karena merusak keharmonisan Wind Gap, kota tempat keluarga Camille tinggal, karena ketidaksensitifannya menginterogasi keluarga korban pembunuhan atas nama pekerjaan. Amma Preaker, adik Camille dari perkawinan kedua ibunya, juga berkomentar bahwa Adora menganggap anaknya yang sudah mati adalah yang paling sempurna. Hubungan Adora dengan suami keduanya juga tidak seharmonis yang kelihatan. Mereka sering pisah ranjang. Adora bahkan terlihat lebih akrab dengan Pak Polisi yang sering bertamu sampai malam dibanding dengan suaminya. Sharp Objects berusaha menggambarkan bahwa seorang ibu bisa jadi gila demi memenuhi tuntutan masyarakat menjadi ibu sempurna.

Hubungan Adora dan Camille juga tidak harmonis seperti imajinasi masyarakat di iklan-iklan kecap manis. Sang ibu menganggap Camille selalu menyakiti dia dan tidak enggan untuk menyatakannya langsung di depan Camille. Camille mencoreng nama baik Adora karena tidak feminin. Waktu muda ia berambut pendek dan berkelakuan selayaknya remaja kebanyakan, tapi dicap ‘nakal’, dan ‘pecun’ oleh warga Wind Gap. Ibu adalah sumber rasa cinta sekaligus rasa sakit anak.

Karakter Camille seperti dimaksudkan untuk melawan stereotip karakter perempuan ‘baik-baik’. Ia tidur dengan lebih dari satu laki-laki. Ia alkoholik. Untuk umurnya, ia tidak menikah dan tidak punya anak. Ia hanya medioker saja di karirnya sebagai jurnalis. Buat saya, karakter seperti ini lebih empowering dan relatable daripada perempuan-perempuan neolib sukses yang jadi bos di kantor besar.

Karakter Amma memberontak terhadap femininitas perempuan dengan main sepatu roda, pesta, dan mengkonsumsi napza di belakang ibunya tapi dengan lihai menjadi mommy’s little girl di rumah. Pada akhirnya Amma bingung sendiri peran mana yang harus ia pilih. Kebingungan ini buat saya menarik dan sangat nyata. Kita selalu menjejakkan kaki di dua dunia sekaligus, di dalam dan di luar konsep perempuan ‘ideal’. Pembunuhan dua perempuan Wind Gap oleh Amma adalah gabungan konformitas dan perlawanan terhadap tuntutan menjadi perempuan: sebuah pemberontakan pamungkas terhadap ibunya (yang merepresentasi masyarakat itu sendiri), hukuman terhadap perempuan yang tidak ‘feminin’, sekaligus upaya untuk menjadikan perempuan itu ‘sempurna’.

Sayangnya, cerita ini berhenti pada masalah kejiwaan perempuan tanpa lebih jauh mempertanyakan struktur sosial yang membentuknya. Rasisme dan seksisme kota Wind Gap hanya ditampilkan sekilas, di sebuah episode di mana mereka merayakan hari jadi kota yang dibangun atas kekerasan seksual terhadap perempuan. Ketika penyakit kejiwaan Adora direveal di dua episode terakhir, penyakit ini seperti menjadi satu-satunya jawaban koheren atas semua masalah yang terjadi pada Camille dan misteri kematian adik Camille di masa lalu tanpa menilik lebih jauh pada kebusukan rasis dan seksis masyarakatnya. Penyakit kejiwaan Adora bahkan terkesan ada hanya karena ia perempuan. Pak Polisi yang jelas-jelas seksis dan lebih gila justru diberi kesempatan untuk menangkap Adora. Ada satu momen di mana Adora menyarankan Amma untuk mengubah storyline pentasnya. Pentas itu dilakukan rutin tiap tahun dengan cerita sejarah kota yang selalu sama, yang menurut Adora, seperti yang disampaikan Amma pada gurunya, ditulis oleh laki-laki. Namun, karena proposal ditolak akhirnya Adora membiarkan saja Amma tampil dalam narasi yang lama. Itu adalah satu-satunya adegan yang mengilustrasikan langsung bagaimana Adora mengalah pada seksisme yang kemungkinan berujung pada masalah kejiwaannya.

Kompleksitas masalah Camille si tokoh utama tiba-tiba hilang seiring terkuaknya penyakit kejiwaan sang ibu. Setelah ibu masuk penjara, Camille tidak terlihat minum alkohol dan hidup dalam konformitas keluarga bahagia bersama Amma. Di realita, tidak ada satu akar koheren dari sebuah penyakit kejiwaan ataupun adiksi dan tak akan semudah itu hilang dengan mengetahuinya.

Pada akhirnya, apa yang ingin Gillian Flynn sampaikan di cerita ini adalah bahwa perempuan bisa inherently evil, bisa jadi sama berbahayanya dengan laki-laki. Dalam struktur masyarakat yang kompleks, perempuan bisa jadi subjek, bukan hanya korban laki-laki. Tapi bahwa kejahatan ini adalah hasil dari struktur sosial yang merepresi perempuan secara sistemik hanya jadi pesan yang kebetulan tersisip saja. Saya sendiri tidak kebeli dengan premis inherently evil karena tidak ada yang inheren di dunia ini kecuali jika kita hidup sendirian di ruang hampa. Sharp Objects tidak masuk ke dalam jebakan narasi perempuan-gila-butuh-dicerahkan, tapi ia menyalahkan perempuan akan kegilaannya sendiri tanpa banyak menginterogasi kondisi rasis dan seksis yang membentuk kegilaan itu. Untuk cerita yang digadang-gadang bernafaskan feminis, Sharp Objects masih jauh dari revolusioner.

pembukaan asian games 2018: budaya siapa?

sosmed-home-bottom

*paper ini saya buat untuk tugas sekalian sebagai penyaluran keresahan saya saat asian games kemarin. saya publish di sini karena saya emang sok penting. mon maap inglais terbatas tapi terpaksa karena dosennya gak bisa bahasa indonesia. saya cuma bisa mengandalkan grammarly dan kepercayaan diri. sekian trimatengkyu.

The relations between identity and culture are complex. A way to explain this is by understanding both terms not as coherent entities but as flux that is closely related to the power play in the local and global level. In this paper, I will analyse the recent Asian Games held in Jakarta, specifically the opening ceremony. I will illustrate how it was a performance of national identity that helped to re-establish the idea of “unity in diversity”, by evoking a sudden pride of the nation, collective belonging, and self-identity of being an Indonesian. However, I argue that nationalism here is only a representation of the dominant sociocultural group, portraying diversity through an internationally standardised aesthetics, a multiculturalism that is palatable for the middle class global and Jakarta audience. As meanings are mediated, the social media plays a crucial role in the shaping of self-identity as a proud Indonesian to both local and global audiences. While the dominant group leads the conversation on national pride and values, hegemonic values are enhanced at the cost of ongoing social and cultural injustice.

 

I will use Couldry’s framework to look at culture as a system of representations and analyse the asymmetrical power distribution by considering social media as a contemporary site of representations. I will expand on Simon Frith’s idea on how performed culture not only represents but forms the identity, by using a postcolonial perspective in considering the influence of ‘Western’ hegemony. I will apply Frith’s conception of music, to the Asian Games opening ceremony.

 

Sports festival as diplomacy

Sport plays a vital role in constructing national identity in the context of globalisation. Hosting an international sports festival is a strategy frequently used to boost international reputation (Silva, 2014). In the national level, the sport has a capacity to build national identity (Sotomayor, 2016). Maguire (2011) did an analysis on cricket to see how globalisation affected the national cultures and cultural identity in Australia. In Indonesia, the sport has been historically political. The use of sports for nation-building and strengthening international influence in Indonesia can be traced back from 1962 when the first president Soekarno, made a radical initiative to create Ganefo (Games for the New Emerging Forces) as the counter Olympic after his withdrawal from the IOC (International Olympics Committee). He disagreed with the IOC’s ‘neutrality’ in seeing a sports festival and stated that the IOC only supported the colonial-imperialist West (Hasan, 2017, November 10). Thus Ganefo invited all the non-bloc countries in Asia, Africa, and South America.

 

The 2018 Asian Games were held in the midst of political instability nearing the 2019 presidential election. Popular debates are polarised: one supporting the current president’s Jokowi re-election, while the other is rooting for Prabowo. Debates were intense in Twitter and Facebook timeline, Whatsapp group, and even the more conventional media. The situation was made worse by the conservative Islamic groups that are steadily gaining more power. Radicalism in Indonesia has attracted international media attention (Arifah & Renaldi, 2018, May 8). The conservatives mostly back Prabowo, but a recent decision made by Jokowi surprised public, as he picked a notorious Islam conservative leader as his vice presidential candidate. In other words, Indonesia is at the peak of a postcolonial identity crisis, as the imaginaries of Indonesia as a multicultural and one of the biggest moderate Muslim country in the world is ruptured. Therefore, the hosting of Asian Games serves several political purposes in the perspective of the nation-state: reinstate the image of the moderate Muslim nation and the value of “unity in diversity” (translated in the national slogan as bhinneka tunggal ika, a value Indonesian schoolchildren learn uncritically ever since elementary school).

 

The opening ceremony is an entry point that established the image of national identity conveyed throughout the festival. Three acts gained the most attention and became the key performances of national identity the festival want to convey. Firstly, the Ratoh Jaroe dance performed by 1600 dancers. Ratoh Jaroe is originally a traditional dance from Aceh, a Muslim-majority region in northern part of Sumatera where the Islamic law, Syariah, is practised. The harmonious, unified fast-paced movements of the hands and body create a grand effect altogether with the sound the hands make and the song they sing during the dance (alansaputra2561996, 2018, August 25; JajangRidwan19, 2018, August 18). It is not commonly performed with such a massive number of dancers. In the ceremony, the dance made up the Indonesian flags and colourful motives if seen from above, that it sent shivers to those who watched it (fiqinayati, 2018 August 19; kezialaskari, 2018, August 18). Secondly, the president’s theatrical arrival into the stadium (Indonesia Morning Show NET, 2018, August 18). Jokowi was shown in the video riding a motorcycle to cut through the traffic jam, did some acrobatic moves, and enter the stadium in person. Lastly, the extravagant, elaborate pyrotechnics following the lighting of the torch on top of a volcano mock-up on the stage (NaLa Channel, 2018, August 18; dian_elysa, 2018, August 19; melyafransisca23, 2018, August 19).

 

Frith (1996) explains how music evokes a certain sense of collective belonging, which in turns form the self-identity. He argues that identity is a process and a becoming and cannot be separated from the social. He explains how music is key to identity because it gives “a sense of both self and others” (p. 110). My interpretation is that the ceremony has a similar effect. The extravagant ceremony was experienced live in close proximity by the Jakarta citizen. Not only once and live, but the performance was also repeated and shared over and over again especially through multiple social media posts. Below are some of the reactions:

 

Witnessing #openingceremonyAG2018 make me more proud of being an Indonesian (anonymous, 2018, August, 25).

 

Proud and happy can see it live… this is an authentic proof as a witness of Indonesian history. (anonymous, 2018, August 22).

 

Praise Allah…. Shivers, proud, touched, uplifted everything became one when I watched #openingceremony#asiangames2018. Really, so awesome! (anonymous, 2018, September 5).

 

Identity, Culture, Power

What Frith does not explain much in his article is how power relations influence the process of forming the self through the performance. Cultural activities and aesthetic judgement are ways in which people recognise themselves as groups. The aesthetic judgement has a lot to do with power. As Couldry (2000) says, “the external realities of culture, what passes on its surface, is linked to inequalities in distribution and power” (p. 101). Ulf Hannerz (Couldry, 2000, p. 99) explains that culture is meanings created by people and creates the people. It is the practices of representations. The making meaning process is always mediated. There is no authentic culture, so there is no authentic identity, although it might appear as such.

 

The Ratoh Jaroe dance, which was originated from Aceh, had the power to evoke a sense of pride in being an Indonesian, although you do not come from the same region. It transgressed from a regional identity to the national symbols during the ceremony. It suggested Indonesia as a moderate Islam country where women are at the centre stage. For the purpose of the ceremony, it was choreographed by Eko Supriyanto and performed by high school students from Jakarta. The dance is indeed popular in Jakarta, practised as an extracurricular activity in school by many students for many years. The dance, just like what Frith argues about music, already “has a life of its own” (Frith, 1996, p. 109).

 

However, we should consider the position of the choreographer. Not only because he is a Javanese, the dominant ethnical group since the New Order era, but also because he has an international reputation. We also have to consider the positionality of going to school in a city where most development is concentrated. It is arguable that the performance of Ratoh Jaroe might be called appropriation. But there is an obvious paradox here. If it supposedly portrayed the country’s diversity, was Ratoh Jaroe a representation of Aceh, or was it a representation of the omnipotent Jakarta? This would be what many have criticised about the narrative of diversity and multiculturalism (Stratton & Ang, 1994). It poses two risks: essentialising culture and colonising other minority cultures. This also confirms what Couldry (2000) mentions how a shared national culture is regarded by many as a myth because it is not possible (p. 92).

 

The dynamics of power also has to be seen in the context of globalisation. The globalisation influences the ‘double-bind’ process of forming national identity and at the same time aligning it with the “global” culture and international aesthetics. Craik, McAllister, and Davis (2003) term this as “schizophrenic quality” (p. 23). As many research suggests, sport as a platform to build nationalism cannot be separated with the globalisation (Maguire, 2011; Silva, 2014; Sotomayor, 2016). Silva (2014) explains how a nation has to make certain compromises to international standards. I will turn into the postcolonial perspective which views there is a dominant ideology at work in the global level that becomes hegemonic in the local/national level and could successfully evoke such national pride. Thus the process of forming identity involves both differentiation and association with the imagined global.

 

There was a need for world-class elements and aesthetics throughout the opening show. I discussed how the Ratoh Jaroe has been transformed into such grandeur spectacle, using an internationally-acclaimed choreographer. The president’s acrobatic stunt with a motorcycle bears resemblance to the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony, where the queen did a parachute jump from the helicopter. Both nation’s leaders were symbolised as cool and adventurous, humanising the leader figure into a ‘commoner’. The lighting of the torch into a mock-up volcano represents an Orientalist view of Indonesia as mystical, vulnerable (Indonesia islands are the meetings of three world mountain ranges, mostly active), but surviving and, as the fireworks went, thriving. Below comment precisely describes how world-class performance meets some representation of locality creates a sense of pride of being Indonesian:

 

Although I only watched it on TV, I shivered and cried when I watched the Opening Ceremony #ASIANGAMES2018 ! 🎉👏🏻 Proud of having this beautiful country visualised in a super epic way by the nation’s great talents. I feel that this was the world-class performance! … Beautiful Diversity! Amazing Performance! (anonymous, 2018, August 19).

Therefore the “unity in diversity” was portrayed by showcasing the difference in a palatable manner to the audience. There was a need to respond to the global fear of Islam radicalism by showing a moderate, Islamic dance that is performed by women. There was a rigorous effort to create a show in a massive, budget-intensive way to fulfil the ‘Western’ hegemonic aesthetic. These inlanderism mixed with inferiority complexes made the ceremony hit the hearts of many Indonesians.

 

Social Media for ‘authentic’ self-expression

Hannerz (Couldry, 2000) argues that culture is translated into public consumption, where the media play a significant role. He suggests it is also about a network of perspectives because people also make meaning from the people around them. Thus in today’s world, the social media serves as a site where two of those things happen, where representations are produced, contested, or reinforced. However, dominant values seem more visible and circulate more where alternative ideas are easily dismissed. The social media echo chamber most likely influences this and I will focus within this Indonesian educated middle-class chamber.

 

Nationalism is evoked by the conversations in social media, hashtags, documentation of grandness, and status enhancement of actually participate in the event whether to come to see it live, be part of the committee, or creative team. Participation seems the key, where social media post serves as a proof. The #openingceremonyag2018 hashtag in Instagram displays numerous expression of pride of being Indonesian. There is a sense of collective belonging throughout the virtual space that seems to amplify the nationalism. It is also interpreted as a cure for the recent threats to Indonesia’s unity, a “people’s party”.

 

Asian Games is like a cure for old wounds… because of the recent news that almost brought us to separation. But after two weeks I understand again the meaning of nationalism. World-class opening Ceremony and sports facilities… to welcome this people’s party with the spirit of togetherness, I have never been so proud as Indonesian… we CAN be united if we WANT TO… Thank you Asian Games 2018, Indonesian Government, all committee, 13,000 volunteers, Indonesia, we DID it – we just made a wonderful part in our history ❤️ (anonymous, 2018, September 3).

 

So proud to join the hype of Asian Games, 5 years ago I helped to prepare materials from Dentsu Sport to bid on the Asian Games host… yesterday I was truly happy to see the result we have fought for. (anonymous, 2018, September 3).

 

Moreover, there is a certain awareness and confidence that Indonesian netizen would create a global buzz. It suggests how important global perception is and how the imaginary of it evoke stronger pride and nationalism.

 

Indonesia’s gonna be trending everywhere, especially our netizens are the champion in making things viral. (anonymous, 2018, August 19).

 

Challenging ideas criticised the budget-intensive ceremony while it could be used for Lombok earthquake victims.

 

@jokowi can give 30 billions for asian games but cashing out fund for Lombok earthquake is so hard… (anonymous, 2018, September 17).

 

Some others lamented the relatively expensive opening ceremony ticket, while others saw that as “sensible price”.

 

There were also jokes on the president motorcycle stunt.

Maybe the president is only a stuntman? A precession of simulacra? (anonymous, 2018, August 20).

 

The stuntman debates dismissed as the killjoy.

 

If people are overcritical, they can’t be happy, they are entertained but won’t be pleased. (anonymous, 2018, August 19)

 

More importantly, an article titled “Bloody arrests for the sake of Asian Games 2018” exposes the extreme measure taken by the police to improve safety in the city (Widhana, 2018, August 15). It states there were 52 arrests with shooting, which caused 11 people dead and 41 hurt.

 

The nationalism expressed is a symbolic violence against the certain groups. It is taken for granted as the norm and expressed as part of the ‘authentic’ self by the educated middle-class. Modes of thoughts are externalised then socially distributed within the echo chamber of educated middle-class Indonesians. What were circulated were mainly positive attitudes and strong nationalism, while critics were silenced as killjoys. While not denying any expressions as genuine, my little finding suggests that asymmetrical distribution of power is still reproduced in the social media. The narrative of diversity denies many social problems that are still going on and it is largely left unquestioned.

 

hijab, piety, beauty

Many researches have considered intersectionality on beauty studies (Elias, 2017). A lot have also put attention to how religious values are appropriated in the industry (Indarti and Peng, 2017; Bucar, 2016). However, little has investigated on how religious values are incorporated and performed within the beauty construction. In Indonesia, Islamic values are commodified into the beauty industry through the quality marker halal and portrayals of modest women, which mainly, although not necessarily, use hijab.

In this article, I focus on modest beauty advertising and celebrity endorsement in Indonesia. I critically analyse the advertising campaign of Wardah, an Indonesian halal beauty brand, in how it incorporates Islamic values into the neoliberal femininity to attract middle-class Muslims. I argue that this new form of femininity have a disciplinary power, recognised and reinforced by Wardah and its social media followers. However, the femininity also serves as a cultural capital that has exchangeable value with their fame and endorsement. These relations between Islamic norms and beauty construction suggest that hijab and piety have a more nuanced meaning for women in Indonesia than simply a symbol of oppression.

The research will be a case study of several textual analyses: Wardah television commercials and Instagram posts, comments on “inappropriate” ads, website content on Wardah celebrity ambassadors, and the Instagram page of Wardah ambassadors.

Firstly, I will define the values of Islam and neoliberal femininity which are promoted by analysing Wardah commercials. Secondly, I will analyse people’s comments on Wardah social media page in policing which looks and gestures of its celebrities in its ads are thought as appropriate or not. Thirdly, I will analyse two primary Wardah celebrity ambassadors as the embodiment of pious-femininity, the form of cultural capital, to investigate how their journey to piety has exchangeable value with their career.

Islam and neoliberalism

Islamic identity, in particular hijab, has different meanings in every cultural context (Abu Lughod, 2002; Arimbi, 2009; Mohanty, 2003). In Indonesia, wearing hijab was a struggle for women’s emancipation and anti-colonialism when the use was banned by the New Order era in the eighties (Arimbi, 2009, p. 37). However, after the authoritarian New Order period ended on 1998, Islamic identities took various form, from the political to the apolitical neoliberal Islam.

Islamic identities are more visible in Indonesia after 1998. The open market policy during the New Order allowed the upward mobility of the middle-class which Muslims are the 88.2 per cent of the population (Pew Research Centre, 2009, as cited in Rakhmani, 2016, p. 6). Rakhmani (2016) states that the growing Muslim middle-class connects Islamic values with consumption habits as a consequence of ‘neoliberal economic restructuring programs’, opening up Muslim markets by building a halal shopping experience. For a country with Muslim as a majority, the market potential for Islamic brands is enormous.

Wardah began to advertise in 2012 and utilises halal as a quality marker. The word halal means “permitted by the Islamic law” (Wilson, 2014, as cited in Ali, Ali, and Sherwani, 2017). However, halal is transcending as a global symbol synonymous with quality, safety, cleanliness, nutritious (Ali, Ali, and Sherwani, 2017; Anabi and Ibidapo-Obe, 2016). For skin care, halal is translated as alcohol-free, cruelty-free, and gentle on skin. Alcohol is an element that is not permissible in Islam. Animal slaughter is also heavily regulated in the halal industry, specifying the way of butchering the animal, cleaning it, and minimalise pain. Gentle is the more pragmatic takeout of being alcohol-free which Wardah always inserts in its ads along with its halal claim.

Wardah extends this modality by establishing a brand value related to Islamic norms and synthesises it to ‘modern’ femininity characterised by neoliberalism through the portrayal of women in its advertisements. The Islamic teaching emphasises a balance between the relationship to god and others. Human beings are khalifah, entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the Earth. It stresses the importance of almsgiving (Oxford Islamic Studies, 2018; Hassan, 2014). It also teaches to pursue knowledge beyond the Quran (ijtihad) and to fulfil the daily needs (ikhtiar).

The neoliberal aspect of femininity is characterised by active, entrepreneurial, self-optimising subjects (Elias, 2017). It carries what Gill (2007) defines as postfeminist sensibility. It emphasises individualism, empowerment, and femininity as a bodily property, self-discipline, and surveillance.

Commercial analysis: identifying the Islamic-neoliberal femininity

For the purpose of identifying the Islamic-neoliberal femininity in Wardah, I analyse three commercials: Ramadhan TVC (wardahbeauty, 2018, April 30), the day & night cream TVC (wardahbeauty, 2016, October 18), independence day TVC (wardahbeauty, 2017, August 22). I also look at fashion events Wardah posted on their YouTube account (wardahbeauty, 2017, October 18).

In all TVCs, the Islamic values appear in their use of hijab. In the independence day and Ramadhan TVC, Islamic values are shown in their care of the others (the children and the needy). The day & night cream TVC shows the woman passionately does her daily activities from day to night, which is inline with the ikhtiar. In the Ramadhan TVC, the VO says “smile wholeheartedly, from the heart, the smile that shows patient, forgiving, and the smile that brings happiness.” The whole message translates to the value of sincerity and specifically Ramadhan’s value of forgiveness. Furthermore, the Ramadhan TVC shows the women’s involvement with the mosque. The independence day TVC VO stresses the capability of women to inspire. It is in line with the wisdom of khalifah who looks after and take care of the earth, in this context, the nation.

Although the individualism was a bit downplayed with the philanthropist values, the neoliberal characteristics are nonetheless apparent. All TVCs show empowerment as an individual choice and femininity as bodily property. All individuals are shown as active with the capacity to provide to their own needs. In the day & night cream TVC, the woman chooses to have her ‘stable job’ as a boutique manager during the day and continue her ‘hobby’ as a graffiti artist during the night. She is seen as empowered to maintain both her job and her hobby. She is responsible for maintaining her beautiful face and smiling even though in reality having activity all day and night is surely exhausting. In the independence day TVC, the end VO says, “we believe everyone can give, respect, care, and give inspirations to the nation.” The idea of giving the responsibility of closing the structural inequality gap to the individuals indicates one of the postfeminist sensibilities. Moreover, all the women have relatively fair skin, are affluent middle-class, and able-bodied.

In their fashion event, Islamic values are shown through the modest clothing and the portrayals of local young women designers doing ikhtiar and ijtihad. The modernity is shown as glamour and prestige, promoting individual capacity to provide for her ambition through Wardah Fashion Award, a competition for emerging designers.

The Islamic values and neoliberal femininity are indeed not mutually exclusive but neatly combined through the portrayals of women and their activities all throughout the TVC. Wardah wraps all her campaign with its tagline, translates as “beauty from the heart”. It suggests that beauty is not only skin deep but also radiates from a person through her kind heart. The tagline encapsulates both Islamic values and the neoliberal femininity.

Through the combination of neoliberalism and modesty, a new kind of femininity emerges: the active & career-oriented women who are pious (doing ikhtiar, ijtihad, and care for others). For the purpose of this paper, I will use the term pious-femininity.

The synopticon-panopticon dyad

The pious-femininity Wardah is promoting creates a disciplinary power through the use of social media. As Foucault explains, power is exercised by taking hold of the body (Foucault, 1977). For Foucault, the body is docile, subject to be measured, evaluated, and judged. The women’s bodies portrayed through Wardah’s posts are evaluated and policed based on the values of femininity Wardah is promoting.

The disciplining goes both ways, from Wardah to the followers and vice versa. This power is recognised and consistently reinforced through a “synopticon” model (Skeggs, 2009). The “synopticon” was coined by Thomas Mathiesen (1997), drawing from Foucault’s idea of the panopticon. Mathiesen (1997) argues that the mass media disciplines the body by having a large number of audience evaluating the many people portrayed in the media. The synopticon and panopticon work together and “reciprocally feed on each other” (p. 231). Through Wardah’s Instagram account, the values of femininity are recognised by its followers, taken as the norms. The followers police and evaluate the women in Wardah ads based on those norms. The followers’ comments are acknowledged by Wardah, by taking care not to feature any women outside of those accepted norms.

There is only a particular way of wearing hijab and specific kind of face that is acceptable. On wearing hijab, the acceptable way is to have the neck covered completely (wardahbeauty, 2016, December 4):

ccokta: Yuna is pretty but her neck is uncovered, I suppose it is not allowed to wear hijab and leave the neck exposed @yunamusic

Wardah has never posted any hijab woman with the neck uncovered ever since.

Transparent fabric is also unacceptable (wardahbeauty, 2018, April 22):

_kindaaa: why people like to wear transparent hijab, is it just me who thinks it is strange [flatface emoticon]

premiermuguet: I think it’s not a hijab

Regarding the face, there are preferences on a more natural, fresh, and ‘youthful’ look (wardahbeauty, 2018, April 22; April 2):

hannagumelar: need more glow on Dewi’s face

rorohanaliesia: The makeup makes her look old, sorry [sad emoticon]

miyomijc: the make up is off. I do not know why (sorry) it looks old… especially on the eyes

However, a comment points out how Wardah only features fair-skinned models (wardahbeauty, 2017, December 15; wardahbeauty, 2018, May 20). The below comments show some agency capacity and the possibility of resistance against the conception that beauty has to be fair-skinned.

pinkwine99: I wish Wardah would feature models with darker skin tone. Just a request [love emoticon]

nataliamanurung95: I wish wardah would make more logical ads.. this is Indonesia.. the skin has darker tones from birth, there are lot of skin tones.. korean girls have fair skin from birth.. hahaha… she is pretty… but she’s the wrong model…

The followers praise the celebrity as beautiful and mention how hijab adds quality to that beauty (wardahbeauty, 2018, April 2):

bcrjunop: wearing hijab does not make her less pretty.. may allah give her guidance aamiin.

haniafifah21: praise allah raline you are so beautiful wearing hijab [multiple love and kiss emoticons]

Other comments express how beauty should not only be skin deep (wardahbeauty, 2018, May 20):

najwarsd: ayana [love emoticons] has a beautiful face and heart, if Allah wills it @xoloveayana

sloukhunu_: beauty is not only by the face but by the heart

From the comments, we see that the conception of beauty conflates with the Islamic values Wardah promotes. This constant synopticon-panopticon dyad reciprocally feeds each other, creating a very particular category of beauty where the woman’s body and self-performance are always the subject of scrutiny.

Pious-femininity as cultural capital

As the conception of beauty conflates with Islamic values, the celebrities do aesthetic labour as part of their journey to piety, which is both framed by Wardah and performed ‘voluntarily’ as part of their identity. As Elias (2017) argues, looking good also require the psychic life makeover to embrace confidence, happiness, and authenticity. The turn to Islam and piety feed to this psychic dimension of looking good. Thus, the performance of pious-femininity is itself a cultural capital that has an exchangeable value with their endorsement in Wardah. It also serves as a status marker of well-respected celebrities.

Wardah invested a lot in celebrity endorsement. Wardah organises Islamic-related events and sponsored Indonesian designers team for the New York Fashion Week where its ambassadors participate (wardahbeauty, 2017, June 19; wardahbeauty, 2015). Wardah made digital videos of mother’s day and celebrity birthdays (wardahbeauty, 2018, April 3). These evidences show how pivotal the celebrity endorsers are for Wardah and how Wardah is also important for the celebrity’s visibility in those prestigious events. Thus maintaining their image to be consistent to Wardah’s value is also crucial.

Celebrities have the power to influence the masses (Marshall, 2014). The social media and its promise of authenticity allow fans to engage directly and have a peek at the celebrity’s personal life. The personal and the public life of a celebrity are enmeshed together in the presence of the social media. The increasing importance of social media makes everyone, in particular, the celebrities, do aesthetic labour in performing their selves.

Driessens (2013) states that celebrity is a form of capital. Celebrity possesses social status that can be exchanged with many different capital (Gunter, 2014, as cited in Rübsamen, 2015, p. 131). Female celebrities, in particular, embody other forms of capital related to their gender. Drawing from Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural capital, Skeggs (1997) states that femininity is a form of cultural capital. She explains, “it is the discursive position available through gender relations that women are encouraged to inhabit and use. Its use will be informed by the network of social positions of class, gender, sexuality, region, age and race” (Skeggs, 1997, p. 9). Thus certain aspects of femininity are ascribed to a woman to signify modality such as respectable/not. Femininity for Skeggs (1997) is the process of gendering women to become specific kind of women. Becoming respectable proceeds through the experience of textually mediated femininity, in this case, the pious-femininity promoted by Wardah through the celebrity endorsement.

I compare the two primary hijab celebrities’ profiles in Wardah website and their social media: Inneke Koesherawati and Dewi Sandra. They embody pious-femininity which is consistently performed in their professional and ‘personal’ life.

Inneke and Dewi are framed by Wardah as “inspiring women” who embraced Islamic identity at the height of their career, and this was the very reason Wardah chose them as ambassadors. At the Wardah website, Inneke is described as a former model and movie star who did a subversive act, “in 2001, she made a bold move to wear hijab even though hijab was not common” (“Inneke Koesherawati”, n.d.). It is generally known by the public that Inneke used to be a sex icon during the nineties through the films she starred such as Naughty Desires and The Stained Bed (van Wichelen, 2009, p. 86). The decision to part with her past life is seen as a resistance to ‘Western’ way of life, which involves the expression of sexuality and eroticism (van Wichelen, 2009, p. 88). Dewi, on the other hand, had switched religion to Christian in her previous marriage and turned back to Islam (Nadhiroh, 2017). On Wardah website, she is a singer and actress “deciding to wear hijab and strengthen her spirituality in 2012” (“Dewi Sandra”, n.d.). Dewi is inspiring because she never stops producing works as she practices piety.

Wardah indicates how wearing veil is the start of their journey to piety and frames Inneke and Dewi as pious women who try to be closer to god every time through their daily ‘modern’ activities. Wardah aligns “inspirational” with hijab, piety, productivity and hard work, or ikhtiar. It indicates embracing Islam as ‘modern’, ‘empowering’, and even subversive.

In their personal Instagram page, the aesthetic labour that the Wardah celebrities do cannot be separated from their Islamic values as every post usually coupled with captions of prayers. Dewi (dewisandra, n.d.) and Inneke (inekekoes, n.d.) post portraits of themselves, family, and friends in various occasions, including Wardah events, their travels or pilgrimage (dewisandra, 2018, May 25), charity events. The captions of prayers vary from acknowledging the imperfect self and mortality (dewisandra, 2018, June 2) to reflections during the month of Ramadhan (inekekoes, 2018, May 13). The vulnerability of ‘imperfect’ self promises authenticity to their followers, with many regards them as wise but not self-righteous.

ichi_f.y2303: the caption warms my heart,, reminding without being self-righteous,, one of my favourite hijab celebrity #Like (dewisandra, 2018, June 2)

Furthermore, they show themselves as loving wives, mothers, and daughters by posting intimate pictures of their family members accompanied with captions of gratefulness and love.

Throughout their personal Instagram account, we see how they perform their femininity and Islamic values to mark their status as well-behaved women and well-respected celebrity, which are recognised by their fans who frequently comment their post as beautiful inside-out and inspiring.

stefytiffany: Praise Allah.. Dewi is so beautiful.. beautiful inside out. (dewisandra, 2018, May 25)

ayudia_ade: praise allah mommy @inekekoes please teach me how to have this inner beauty like you.. Very beautiful… (inekekoes, 2018, May 11)

The pious-feminine beauty becomes a cultural capital as they are embodied by the celebrities, recognised by the fans, and promoted by Wardah as an extension of their brand values. For the celebrities, it allows mobility towards more fame as their value as inspiring role models increase. The ‘modern’ hijab, along with the practices of piety, is a tool to mark their status as respectable within the industry.

Conclusion

This article has shown that the “mainstreaming” of Islam has made the conception of beauty conflates with some Islamic values. Wardah integrates these values as “beauty from the heart” and consistently promotes it in various ways, including celebrity endorsement. There are gestures of women empowerment with neoliberal characteristics. The women’s bodies are subject to discipline through the social media interactions based on the norms of pious-femininity, although some of the beauty norms are also questioned. This identity has become the cultural capital for the celebrities, performed for their personal goals of continued endorsement and a marker for respectability within the industry. It shows some agency capacity in utilising the hijab and piety to negotiate certain position within the society and indicates the complex meaning of wearing hijab and practising piety for women in Indonesia.

 

*this is originally an assignment paper

**for further details on references ask me

pengabdi setan, pengabdi meme

makin ke sini, joko anwar bisa dibilang makin jujur mengeluarkan perspektif personal-politis pada karya-karyanya, yang mencerminkan kematangannya sebagai seorang sutradara. ia punya minat khusus menggali motivasi-motivasi manusia yang berkaitan dengan reproduksi, seperti di film adaptasi novel sekar ayu asmara, pintu terlarang, yang melibatkan janin dan karya seni, dan terakhir di film pengabdi setan ini. yang paling jelas adalah perspektifnya soal simbol-simbol kemapanan peninggalan orde baru yaitu agama dan keluarga inti. inilah yang paling menarik dari pengabdi setan 2017: agama dan keluarga sudah tidak jadi obat pengusir kejahatan seperti film yang lama. adegan munculnya setan berwujud ibu saat rini (tara basro) sholat jadi adegan favorit saya, lucu sekaligus seram. solusi persatuan keluarga yang ‘direvisi’ juga jadi semacam humor pahit yang menyatakan bahwa rasa kekeluargaan khas Indonesia itu tidak akan bisa melawan struktur kejahatan yang sudah terbangun sekian generasi dan menyebar. 

sepertinya joko anwar bukan penganut perspektif bahwa horor seringkali jadi simbol represi terhadap perempuan. atau jika ia sadar dengan itu, elemen ini sepertinya tidak terangkat dengan baik. ini yang disayangkan. karena tokoh ibu tidak jadi sentral cerita. motivasi ibu hamil karena ditekan mertua tidak mendapat justifikasi. ibu hanya terkulai sakit lalu mati dan wujudnya diambil alih setan, lalu kemudian diambil alih oleh meme-meme “ibu sudah bisa” di internet. 

secara alur banyak yang cukup menimbulkan pertanyaan. seperti kenapa bondi tiba-tiba tidak kesurupan lagi. kenapa, kalaupun bondi dimasuki roh nenek, nenek tega mau bunuh ian, padahal waktu hidup nenek terlihat menikmati sekali main sama ian. lalu bapak ustadz, kenapa dia yang sedang berduka dan urung menolong keluarga setan itu di hari berikutnya kemudian beramah-tamah tanpa beban dengan bapak seolah ia sudah move on dari berdukanya. kenyataan bahwa mereka mungkin anak-anak setan dari bapak yang berbeda juga seolah dibiarkan begitu saja, masak nggak syok sih tau mereka kemungkinan anak setan? banyak karakter penting yang tidak terlalu diberi perhatian dalam perkembangannya sepanjang cerita. mungkin energi tim habis di setting dan viral marketing?

dari segi set, film ini berhasil menimbulkan ketakutan yang sangat dekat dengan kehidupan sehari-hari. cermin di kamar ibu adalah cermin di kamar tidur saya. lemari itu adalah lemari di kamar tamu. rasanya saya pernah menginjakkan kaki di kamar mandi sumur semacam itu. semua tekstur rumah berhasil menimbulkan rasa ngeri yang indah, tanpa jadi benar-benar menghantui. yang sebenarnya cukup untuk saya yang cemen nonton horror ini. saya suka bagaimana saya kini mendengar sam saimun “di wajahmu kulihat bulan” tidak sama lagi, dan tatapan asmara abigail tidak mudah lepas dari ingatan. semua unsur yang sifatnya aksesoris seimbang ditampilkan di film ini. tara basro adalah figur perempuan yang harus lebih sering ditampilkan di layar Indonesia. badannya nggak kerempeng, kulit nggak putih, yah cukup ada beberapa poin yang di luar standar cantik industri hiburan di Indonesia, walaupun saya tadinya mengharap dia bisa lebih dieksplor lagi aktingnya. 

bagi penggemar film horror indonesia, film ini mungkin terlalu rapi dan polished, dan kurang bisa memberi terobosan baru dalam teknik pembuatan film horror. tapi buat saya, upaya joko anwar untuk secara jelas memasukkan perspektif personal-politisnya patut diapresiasi, sehingga saya menunggu film seperti apa lagi yang akan ia buat berikutnya.

bukan sekedar nonton tv

Selamat datang di era baru nonton serial televisi. Jaman mutakhir di mana kegiatan menonton tidak terbatas menatap layar kaca, tapi mencakup: membaca review dan analisa bayangan yang keliatan di balik laci atau sosok seseorang yang ngeblur di latar belakang dalam sebuah frame di sebuah adegan, menonton ulang dua atau tiga kali lagi untuk mem-pause, men-screengrab, dan mem-pinch zoom in tiap frame untuk memastikan tidak ada petunjuk yang dilewatkan, menonton ulasan screengrab-pinch zoom in orang lain di youtube, mengkonfirmasinya di reddit, bahkan tidak menutup kemungkinan mengarang teori konspirasi alur cerita lalu kekeuh-kekeuhan di forum komik karena super yakin bahwa teori bikinan sendiri (yang lahir dari pembedahan sistematis dan terperinci lintas episode dan lintas season) lebih tokcer daripada teori orang lain, atau minimal, debat-debat di watsap group sama teman sendiri.

Melebarnya aktivitas nonton TV ini tentunya jadi menarik. Karena kita sudah tidak jadi penonton pasif lagi, tapi penonton yang selalu memproses informasi, menganalisa, dan memprediksi. Serial dengan alur yang ruwet menantang kita untuk selalu berteori.

Serial TV kini menjadi napza (hampir)halal yang semakin tahun semakin luas spektrumnya. Penonton serial TV makin jadi pecandu akut yang menjalani lingkaran adiksi tak berkesudahan, ngap-ngapan depan berbagai bentuk umpan di internet.

 

 

westworld-extra

kalo pajangan muka aja ditebakin satu-satu…

 

Saya melihat ini terjadi dengan para fans Game of Thrones dan mengalaminya sendiri saat mengikuti serial Westworld. Ada kehampaan yang ditinggalkan setelah menonton tiap episode. Kekosongan itu harus segera diisi dengan ulasan dan analisa dari berbagai sumber baik video maupun tulisan. Ada ratusan sumber yang bisa digunakan untuk mengisi waktu sebelum episode berikutnya tayang di minggu depan. ‘Tontonan’ tambahan ini meningkatkan histeria kita terhadap sebuah serial, bikin tambah nagih. Siklus adiksi ini terjadi dengan pola yang sama dengan fangirling drama korea. Bedanya, jika penonton Westworld et al memprediksi siapa dalangnya, maka penonton drama korea menduga kapan ciumannya. Teoretikus GoT memutar ulang adegan si anu dibunuh, pecinta drako memutar adegan aegyo (unyu) pasangan utama gelundungan di bawah pohon sakura yang berguguran.

 

so-is-the-maze-part-of-fords-new-narrative-or-are-the-overlapping-characters-a-coincidence

nggak menutup kemungkinan jumlah kerut mata Ed Harris diitungin

got1

di masa depan, jumlah kepala kayak gini bisa jadi CLUE!

Saya sendiri menikmati jadi serial addict amerika dan asia, dan bersyukur dunia ini jadi sedikit lebih menyenangkan dengan hadirnya mereka. Lalu apa yang akan terjadi dengan sinetron Indonesia di masa depan ya?

boy

situ kira gampang bikin misnetron??

*gambar diambil dari sini, sini, sini

black mirror season 3: segitiga setan internet, korporasi, dan pemerintah

Black Mirror adalah ketakutan terhadap adiksi manusia akan teknologi yang tepat sasaran dan mungkin lebih non-fiksi dari yang kita duga. Charlie Brooker mengambil berbagai elemen penting-penting-nggak-penting dari perilaku kita di era digital, menariknya beberapa tahun ke depan, dan memperlihatkan semua elemen itu berlipat ganda dalam intensitas dan jumlah menjadi monster-monster apokaliptik, besar tapi tak terlihat, menghancurkan seluruh peradaban dengan sistematik, perlahan, dan pasti. Menonton musim ketiga serial ini seperti mendengar vonis seorang peramal kesurupan dalam mixtape, bertubi-tubi kemalangan yang sulit dipercaya, tapi pasti kejadian semua.

Terdiri dari 6 episode dengan mood dan treatment yang berbeda-beda, season ketiga Black Mirror membuatmu terombang-ambing dalam kegundahan satu dan kegelisahan lainnya.

Nosedive adalah andai-andai dalam rona pastel dengan musik ala-ala film Her, di mana rating jadi currency baru yang sedikit lebih penting dari uang, tapi tidak mutually exclusive. Supaya bisa beli rumah bahkan kondangan, rating harus bagus, supaya rating bagus, harus punya winning formula yang terdiri dari ramah-tamah, gaya hidup sehat-organik, dan sedikit ketulusan. (Cukup familiar yah melihat persona-persona instagram sekarang!) Bryce Dallas Howard main dengan pas sebagai anti heroine, wanna-be princess yang culun dan naif, semacam anak baru lulus sekolah unggulan yang tiba-tiba harus menghadapi dunia nyata pakai buku panduan yang berjudul “Martha Stewart Living”. Ketika teknologi canggih dikaitkan dengan praktik-praktik kapitalisme, manusia akan jadi semakin kaku dan konservatif karena dalam konteks kapitalisme, semua yang abstrak harus bisa diconvert jadi materi yang terhitung dan terukur.  Nilai moral pun menjadi nilai rating. Identitas seseorang jadi sebuah rapot budaya.  Sepertinya konversi abstrak ke materi ini jadi senjata Brooker untuk membuat aneka hipotesisnya tentang masa depan.

Playtest berhasil membuat saya ketawa gelisah, mirip seperti habis menonton The Lobster. Saya suka bagaimana episode ini menertawakan stereotipe bule-bule umur 20-an yang merasa harus keliling dunia untuk cari jati diri, tapi tetap tidak bisa lepas dari cengkraman mami. Pertemuan tokoh utama cowok dengan cewek London cakep ini jadi sebuah karikatur gaya hidup kawula muda priviledged dunia pertama. Ke bar, tidur bareng, lalu ngobrol sok-sok dalem. Premis episode ini (tentang main game gak bakal mati) jadi jebakan buat saya, walaupun untuk yang lain mungkin terlalu obvious, mungkin karena perubahan mendadak mood cerita jadi gothic thriller. Tapi buat saya, yang paling menarik adalah bagaimana premis “nggak akan mati” sebenarnya menjadi aspirasi ras kulit putih untuk “keliling dan melihat dunia”. Episode ini bukan tentang main game buat saya, ini lebih tentang bagaimana warga dunia pertama dengan segala privilese nya itu ingin merasa hidupnya lebih berarti dengan mengunjungi negara-negara dunia ketiga dan hidup ala-ala kita, tapi pada akhirnya akan balik ke “kampung” halamannya dengan segala kenyamanan mereka dan bersyukur dalam hati bahwa hidup mereka baik-baik saja. Dunia di luar adalah permainan buat mereka, di mana mereka bisa seenaknya masuk, menghadapi ketakutannya, lalu keluar lagi dengan utuh. Sayangnya, dalam cerita ini, tidak semudah itu bisa keluar.

Shut Up and Dance adalah mimpi buruk buat yang doyan streaming dan donlot-donlot, yang suka malas baca syarat dan ketentuan, yang ponselnya udah integrated sama g**gle. Kisah coming-of-age-teror ini dikabarkan pernah terjadi betulan, jadi kekuatannya bukan di cerita melainkan teror yang nyata. Melalui bocah yang keliatannya baru saja akil balig, episode ini mau bilang bahwa manusia sangat rapuh apalagi kalau urusannya dengan selangkangan dan teknologi.

San Junipero adalah episode favorit saya dalam antologi ini. Bercerita tentang sebuah masa di mana surga ada alternatifnya, yaitu “cloud” berwujud kota virtual bernama San Junipero, tempat yang tua bisa jadi muda lagi, disko semalam suntuk, keliling naik jeep dan menjelajahi tahun-tahun paling dikenang dalam hidupnya. LAFF anet penerjemahan surga di langit menjadi cloud komputer. Ketika hidup setelah mati adalah ketidakpastian, bukankah lebih baik kita hidup selamanya di surga made by human? Pernikahan dua nenek, pertemuan mereka di San Junipero abadi dan alunan “heaven is a place on earth” menghantui sampai episode terakhir seri ini. Warna-warni elektrik dalam realita virtual, dengan pantulan neon di genangan air dan kostum gonjreng dipadu dengan warna muted dari masa depan yang sepi dan seperti zombieland, menunjukkan bahwa mimpi selalu lebih indah dari kenyataan. Manis dan mengerikan sekaligus.

Episode kelima, Man Against Fire, sedikit lebih mudah ditebak karena twist yang berulang di beberapa cerita zombie. Di sini, Brooker mengeksplorasi bagaimana teknologi dimanfaatkan oleh pemerintah (kekuasaan) untuk mengubah kemanusiaan yang masih tersisa dari seorang prajurit jadi monster berdarah dingin.

Hated in the Nation menyadarkan saya bahwa tidak ada satu pun hal di dunia ini yang gratis. Isu kelestarian lingkungan memang selalu jadi sebuah isu yang “basah” karena rentan ditunggangi motif-motif lain. Menurut cerita ini, akan selalu ada udang di balik batu ketika penguasa rela menginvestasikan jumlah yang besar pada sebuah proyek swasta. Motif terselubung itu biasanya tidak jauh dari melanggar privasi orang, yaitu mengumpulkan database dan memata-matai. Dan ketika rencana itu berbalik jadi bencana, kita dipertontonkan betapa pemerintah impoten mengatasinya. Ada alasan kenapa internet berkembang seperti sekarang, dan itu sangat menakutkan untuk dibayangkan, karena sedikit kemungkinan ada seorang aktivis slash anarkis cyber yang akan beraksi untuk menegakkan keadilan, apalagi jika lawannya adalah cyber bullies yang seperti kumpulan lebah lapar.

Internet dan teknologi hanyalah sekedar harapan fana buat umat manusia. Tiap inovasi akan selalu dikooptasi pemerintah atau korporasi, dan dipakai  secara masif untuk membawa umat manusia ke arah yang jauh lebih buruk. Black Mirror adalah pesimisme generasi X yang masih sempat tumbuh besar dengan analog. Tapi seluruh titik tolak dari tiap cerita menunjukkan kejelian abang Brooker menangkap gejala penyakit kronis masyarakat (bergesernya kualitas jadi kuantitas, moral jadi material, ilusi akan kebebasan dan anonimitas) meninggalkan kita dengan pertanyaan, apa kita sebetulnya sudah sampai di titik kronis, ataukah ini hanya sebuah paranoia yang ngelantur? Apakah yang lagi kita tertawakan dengan gelisah ini fiksi, atau kenyataan?

 

*gambar diambil dari sini