Inspired by Riot Grrrl, these women in Jakarta use zines to talk about sex, dating and 'the f-word'
As politicians call for the criminalization of homosexuality and premarital sex, these zines break taboos
"Feminism is still a dirty word here, and now with the conservative turn, it's again become a very dangerous thing to declare yourself a feminist."
Kartika Jahja, an activist and musician in Jakarta, is pushing back against what she sees as a growing tide against women's rights and sexuality in her country.
The chill on talking about sexuality and feminism is both social — "In Indonesia we like to think that people don't have sex before marriage when we actually do" — and a question of political power and oppression. In the province of Aceh, women are caned in public for kissing and hugging outside of marriage. Recently one of Jahja's events in Jakarta was recently raided by "fundamentalist religious organizations."
See more of Kartika Jahja's story and more artists using art to defy norms in Interrupt This Program: Jakarta this Friday at 8:30pm. Watch the season premiere from Mexico now.
By writing the zine I just want to offer an alternative point of view because that's what we lack here — the diversity of perspectives.- Kartika Jahja
Facing this, these women and their collective's zines such as Swipe Right — a zine about Tinder — are a radical political act as well as a fun educational tool. Jahja says that she "didn't learn about sexuality and gender issues and feminism in the classroom" but instead learned it from the feminist punk movement Riot Grrrl and the zines her friends wrote.
Kartika Jahja is an activist and singer with the group Tika and The Dissidents. Much of her work is related to issues of gender and sexuality. In 2016, the band released a video Tubuhku Otoritasku (My Body My Authority) that sparked controversy for tackling issues like slut-shamming, body positivity and women's issues.
Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure and airs Fridays at 8:30pm.