Women’s Same-sex Relations in Indonesian Pesantren

Amanah Nurish | CRCS | Article

This article describes women’s lives in Indonesian pesantren (boarding schools), particularly in relation to issues of gender and sexuality. The curriculum and teaching methods adopted from Arabic culture are very traditional and deeply impact the ways of thinking of all santri (pesantren students) and kyai (pesantren leaders). Pesantren culture is still very patriarchal, for example, female students are subject to strict rules and women are regarded as sinful beings. Most pesantren regulate not only women’s bodies but also their sexual desires. In addition, female students are prepared to become pious wives for men, not leaders. However, despite these strict regulations in the pesantren, same-sex erotic relations have been noted in the pesantren. Given Islamic views on women’s sexuality and patriarchal power as propagated in the pesantren, same-sex relations among pesantren for women in East Java may be interpreted as acts of resistance.

Full text Gender Technology and Development March 30, 2011 vol. 14 no. 2 267-277

Written By: Amanah Nurish (Alumni of CRCS – Batch 2007)

This post is also available in: Indonesian

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