Film has been an important cultural arena in which ideas about Islam and becoming good Muslims are constantly constituted and contested in contemporary Indonesia. Concerned with the social construction of masculinity and its intersection with religiosity, modernity, and globalization, my presentation explores the Muslim masculinity representations in four Indonesian films; Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love, 2008), Perempuan Berkalung Sorban (2009), Ketika Cinta Bertasbih (When Love Chants, 2010), Ketika Cinta Bertasbih 2 (When Love Chants 2, 2010). These films constitute and contest contemporary Muslim masculinity around uncertainties of modernity and globalization through their wrestles with contemporary gender issues to produce archetypes of new ideal Muslim men; young, urban, middle class, (foreign) educated, gentle towards women, and responsible head of the family. However, despite this representation of masculinity is deemed by scholars as “rediefining” the status-quo representations of Muslim masculinity produced during the New Order, I argue thet the power relation between Muslim men and women is represented is still being ambivalent as evident in the men’s ambivalent accaptance of women being more resourceful in religious knowledge, financial independence, and leadership skills. This ambivalence arguably reflects the contemporary Muslim middle class’ desire of departure from the image of “traditional Muslim” yet not wanting to give up the privilege being provided by status-quo.
A Ph.D candidate at the School of Culture History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific. She gained her bachelor degree from the State University of Malang, majoring in English Language and Literature in 2002. In 2006, she completed a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies from the University of Melbourne. In 2008, she earned a Master of Arts in Gender and Development from the same university. She is also a faculty member at the English Department, Faculty of Letters, State University of Malang. Her research interests are gender studies, cultural studies, and literature.
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