Words don’t mean, people are (mean)


I watched this movie, Water (2005) last year when I was writing my PhD thesis. This movie explores the lives of widows (baca: JANDA) at an ashram in Varanasi, India. This movie perfectly portray how janda, or widows have a diminished position in society. Picking out the word ‘janda’ (Indonesian translation for ‘widow’), here I highlight the Indonesia context, where janda are deposited to shame of having bad karma and thus are expected to spend the rest of their life in renunciation.

Please do make me understand, why people (when it comes to relationships with men) bring up the idea that a janda is not only worthless without a husband. A janda is also considered as a chick with bad attitudes, an oversex slut, lonely thus she is a promiscuous woman (or is longing to be sexually objected) – so they are sinful, dirty, cheap. She is also runs around frantically trying to get the men in her lives to be ‘that into’ them. On top of all, janda are inherently immoral (haha!).

Note this. We leave out the fact that being a janda means is having a role as a woman single parent (if she has a kid or kids). We ignore that in reality a woman single parent has more burdens as she juggles with household, single-handedly child care, food, career, money, her self and every single fucking thing else. Thus, having a relationship with man (or men) – is not the top priority in a janda’s live. Our shallow mind might not understand this life, that being a working single parent janda should be a cause for celebration, not shame.

Annie McDonnald, a daughter of a single mother (in your word: j-a-n-d-a) says:

My mother fixed the plumbing and the wiring when she could. She installed linoleum, ceramic tile, and wall paneling. She framed out a wall in the basement to create that second bedroom. She learned how to make stained glass windows and took on small commissions.

She raised us with a firm hand and was a strict disciplinarian. Granted, she had her faults and was by no means a saint. But she raised us with a capacity for learning and curiosity that was unparalleled among my childhood peer group. And from our experiences, my sister and I have developed incredibly strong coping devices that have gotten us through hard times of our own.

Standing proud, I say – as a woman single parent that single-mother or janda households — not as half empty (also not whores, not sluts, not cheap, not desperate), BUT  as half full of strong women.

Oh. however, we have left out the most important stereotype. All women are crazy. It is true.

…. and this is how to make YOU understand that words do not mean. People are (mean).


I borrow the picture from this flicker account, thank you.


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