Sunday, April 12, 2009

Maybe they haven't gotten the message

While at the mall today to do the weekly grocery shopping, I noticed a sign at Guardian pharmacy and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. "Are you a Modern Kartini?" read the sign advertising body bands (essentially girdles), whitening cream and disposable undergarments. Kartini is the national symbol for women's rights. She lived a hundred+ years ago and wrote rather prolifically on the need for women to be educated. At the time that wasn't happening here and the fact that she could read and write was something quite out of the ordinary. Sadly, she died young. But Mrs. Kartini is still celebrated here, she has a public holiday and kids compete in writing and reading contests to mark the holiday. There are schools named after here. Girls also compete in contests to style their hair in the manner of Kartini and to see who can dress in tradtitional clothes the fastest. I'm bothered by that but I'll let it go with celebrating traditional culture. But what I learned today is that if I want to be an educated, progressive woman I should make myself physically beautiful. I need different skin, and a better body. I don't know a lot about Mrs. Kartini but I can promise you that the idea that her cause being used to sell skin whiteners and girdles would make her sick. Obviously, the girls haven't gotten the message, Mrs. Kartini, sorry.
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