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Women, gendered activism and Indonesia's anti-pornography bill


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Allen, PM 2008 , 'Women, gendered activism and Indonesia's anti-pornography bill' , Intersections, no. 19 .

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Commonly known by its acronym RUU-APP, Indonesia's controversial anti-pornography
bill is still under consideration by parliament, five years after being introduced there. This
article is an updated version of my earlier article 'Challenging diversity?: Indonesia's antipornography
bill,'[1] which comprised a broad discussion of responses to the bill by
women, artists and minority ethnic groups in Indonesia. In the present article I focus on
and amplify the responses to the bill by women from across the spectrum of Indonesian
society. I draw on media reports and secondary sources that have documented responses
by women and women's organisations to the bill. My analysis is contextualised within a
broader discussion of the impact of democratisation on the status of women in the post-
Suharto era (1998–2008) and the emergence of hundreds of new NGOs in Indonesia
since the fall of Suharto. It is not my purpose to make a judgment about the current state
of women's organisations per se in Indonesia, beyond their engagement with the bill. I do,
however, make some observations about what the intensive involvement by women in
resistance to the bill might suggest about the role of women in public life in Indonesia
since the fall of Suharto. Resistance to the bill can provide a lens through which to read
the involvement of women in other political and social developments in the last decade,
including, for example, those covered in the other articles in this issue. Barbara Hatley's
article, 'Hearing Women's Voices, Contesting Women's Bodies in Post New Order
Indonesia,' in Issue 16 of Intersections illustrates the centrality of the bill, and response to
it, in discussions of the 'public presence of women' in Indonesia.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Allen, PM
Journal or Publication Title: Intersections
ISSN: 1440-9151
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