Women Portrayal in Indonesian Folklores: a Semiotic Study

Niswatin Nurul Hidayati
Journal article An-Nas • 2019 Indonesia

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(English, 16 pages)


“Indonesia consists of many islands, tribes, and cultures, so that the folklores possessed by this country are diverse. For Indonesian people, those folklores are not only used as a tool of entertainment for children, but also as a device for adults in teaching values and norms of society. Most of the folklores tell about the relationship between woman and man, whether they are as husband and wife, parents and children, lovers, friends, and others. That kind of relationship is closely related to gender, especially about the woman's position. This writing analyzed about 15 Indonesian folklores and how women were portrayed or represented in those stories. In analyzing those folklores, the writer used descriptive qualitative research method, in which the writer concerned on how women were portrayed. From the analysis of the fifteen Indonesian folklores chosen randomly, it could be concluded that some folklores described women positively, but mostly described them negatively. Some folklore shows a woman who is smart, tough, wise and more concerned with the interests of others than herself. However, women are also described as negative figures, for example as stepmothers, as spirits, animals, objects of curses, and only doing domestic work (housework). Almost in every folklore above, it is stated that a female figure is a figure who has a beautiful face. So, it can be said that women are judged by their physical characteristics.”





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