Recently many people have asked me why I dressed up as Darth Vader to the Women’s March Jakarta on March 4.
I came to the march dressed as Darth Vader because he is unique. He was a good man at first before turning bad and then good again. I think the same thing applies to us. We might be in a world where people are still patriarchal, sexist and racist today, but we can change them. They can be good.
Of course with all of the trouble in wearing the Vader suit, I didn’t come alone. I came to the march with the biggest inspiration of my life, my mom. Everything I am would be literally nothing without her.
My mom took good care of me on her own for many years after she got divorced. She experienced marital rape from her forced marriage that resulted in my birth. Every time I asked her whether my seemingly unwanted birth stopped her from achieving her dreams, she would always say, “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” And by all means, she proved the hell out of it. My Mom ended up getting scholarships for master’s and doctoral’s degrees in Finland and Germany. Now she’s an anthropologist working in some NGOs for good societal cause. I must say, I am a proud son.
Seeing all the achievements, I can’t help but idolize my Mom. Growing up without a Father figure and surrounded by incredible women have even made me idolize women in general too. I believe that hard-working, formidable women like my Mom and women like the Dulur Kartini Kendeng, Mama Yosepha Alomang, and Ibu Maria Catarina Sumarsih are the living testament of the importance of feminism.
We live in a world surrounded by more and more incredible women like them. They are inevitable proofs that women are capable to be whoever they want to be, despite the social, political, and cultural limitations they face.
Women’s March Jakarta and other marches around the world has also proven that feminism isn't only about women per se. It is about building a collective awareness in our society that dignity, equality and justice must be facilitated by the government indiscriminately, and about how it is up to us to respect those aspects in our lives. It's about the dissolution of our own ego, which makes us see and treat people differently based on their genders or other parts of their identities.
We are the masters of ourselves and above all the choices we make, the differences we have from womb to tomb, we are all still the same mortal, imperfect human beings. And we are capable of giving unconditional affections to each other, regardless of who we are or what we choose to believe in.
The fight for equality is far from over, but the Women’s March has reminded us that we'll never be alone. Let’s keep the fight going! We'll walk this path until the crowds that comprise us becomes the majority population, and until the principles we believe in becomes the reality we live in.
May the force be with us.
Margianta Surahman Juhanda Dinata is a soon-to-graduate International Relations student of Paramadina University. He’s a sucker for movies and free stuff, and he’s been engaged in some activities in regards to tobacco-control and human rights issues, particularly children’s rights.