Hussy, mistress, whore, evil lady – these are simply a few of the 9 instance compound phrases that artist Ika Vantiani was shocked to search out listed beneath the entry for ‘lady’ or ‘perempuan’ in Indonesia’s official dictionary.
All 9 had been sexualised or derogatory phrases. In distinction, within the entry for ‘laki-laki’, one of many phrases for man, there is only one instance, ‘laki-laki jemputan’, which implies a ‘man chosen as a son-in-law’. One other phrase for man, ‘pria’ additionally lists one time period: ‘pria idaman’ that means ‘heartthrob’.
Since making this discovery in 2016, Ika has campaigned by means of her artwork for change and as a part of that she has assiduously collected editions of the Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia, which is compiled by a authorities company and is the usual dictionary utilized in faculties and by lecturers.
“Perempuan jalang, this one really means slut. That’s the one phrase that retains popping up in each version,” she instructed Reuters.
“The main target is on examples that embrace phrases like pelacur or jalang – that means whore, a girl who likes to promote herself, nasty girls, mistress.”
Final November, the Oxford College Press stated it could change the entries for ‘lady’ in its dictionaries to incorporate extra constructive and lively descriptions and Ika is hoping for the same end result.
The marketing campaign has drawn consideration to what critics say is a patriarchal tradition on this planet’s largest Muslim majority nation. Ika has additionally gained the assist of Indonesia’s Nationwide Fee on Violence towards Girls which this yr known as for a revision.
Language, the fee stated, “performed an necessary position in constructing the values of gender equality and the elimination of violence towards girls”.
Ika and her male colleague, Yolando Zelkeos Siahaya, have highlighted the difficulty in a collection of workshops and exhibitions, together with one on the Indonesian nationwide gallery in 2018.
One work featured clear sheets of acrylic with the dictionary entry for ‘perempuan’ printed throughout them in order that viewers might think about being referred to in that manner.
“Most individuals after they see this work of mine, they’re shocked,” stated Ika. “They are saying: ‘I by no means would have thought that’s how the phrase ‘lady’ is outlined in our dictionary.'”
Final month her work, which embrace t-shirts that decision for change to the entry and had been worn at a girls’s march in 2020, provoked a response from Badan Bahasa, the company answerable for the dictionary.
Using the phrases, it stated, was based mostly on information displaying they had been among the many most incessantly utilized in tandem with ‘perempuan’.
“As for the social image that emerges from the presentation of knowledge within the dictionary not being best, that’s one other dialogue,” it stated in a press release posted on its web site.
The response perplexes College of Indonesia linguist Nazarudin, who says Indonesian language information from 2013 collected by Leipzig College reveals different phrases, comparable to girls’s empowerment or girls’s rights, had been much more incessantly used.
“The query is, what sort of information did they’ve?” he requested, “How can or not it’s so unfavorable?”
A Google search reveals there are 98 million entries for ‘hak perempuan’ that means girls’s rights in comparison with simply 481,000 entries for perempuan jalang, the phrase for ‘slut’.
Badan Bahasa instructed Reuters that along with the Leipzig information, it additionally referred to the Malay Concordance Venture, a corpus of classical Malay texts.
Ika says she is hopeful of change.
“I’m not saying I need all of it to be become constructive phrases,” she stated, “No. However I need objectivity and actual conversations.”
This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.