Mengingat Kartini di Negeri Liberti

Bersama Zainab Bangura, staf PBB untuk Kekerasan terhadap perempuan, dan teman sekelas
Bersama Zainab Bangura, staf PBB untuk Kekerasan terhadap perempuan, dan teman sekelas

Suatu hari di kelas “Experiencing the United Nations” yang saya ambil di Semester Musim Semi ini, ada diskusi panjang tentang “Why do I want a Wife?” Sebuah esai pendek yang ditulis oleh Judy Brady. Diskusi terasa semakin menarik karena teman-teman yang ada di kelas berasal dari berbagai negara berbeda, seperti Rusia, Ukraina, Cina, Hongkong, Afganistan, Indonesia, dan Amerika. Perbedaan budaya dan norma yang ada di negara asal mempengaruhi cara pandang kami terhadap isu tentang perempuan. Jarang ada satu pandangan yang mendominasi di dalam kelas ini dan itu bagian yang saya sukai. Judy Brady menulis:

1- I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am A Wife. 
And, not altogether incidentally, I am a mother.

2- Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh 
from a recent divorce. He had one child, who is, of course, with his 
ex-wife. He is looking for another wife. As I thought about him while I 
was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that 1, too, would 
like to have a wife. Why do I want a wife?

3- I would like to go back to school so that I can become economically 
independent, support myself, and, if need be, support those dependent 
upon me. I want a wife who will work and send me to school. And while I 
am going to school, I want a wife to take care of my children. I want a 
wife to keep track of the children's doctor and dentist appointments. And 
to keep track of mine, too. I want a wife to make sure my children eat 
properly and are kept clean. I want a wife who will wash the children's 
clothes and keep them mended. I want a wife who is a good nurturant 
attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling, makes sure 
that they have an adequate social life with their peers, takes them to 
the park, the zoo, etc. I want a wife who takes care of the children when 
they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need 
special care, because, of course, I cannot miss classes at school. My 
wife must arrange to lose time at work and not lose the job. It may mean 
a small cut in my wife's income from time to time, but I guess I can 
tolerate that. Needless to say, my wife will arrange and pay for the care 
of the children while my wife is working.

4- I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife 
who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, 
a wife who will pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes 
clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who will see to it that 
my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what 
I need the minute I need it. I want a wife who cooks the meals, a wife 
who is a good cook.  I want a wife who will plan the menus, do the 
necessary grocery shopping, prepare the meals, serve them pleasantly, and 
then do the cleaning up while I do my studying. I want a wife who will 
care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time 
from school. I want a wife to go along when our family takes a vacation 
so that someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a 
rest and change of scene.

5- I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a 
wife's duties. But I want a wife who will listen to me when I feel the 
need to explain a rather difficult point I have come across in my course 
studies. And I want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have 
written them.

6- I want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life. 
When my wife and I are invited out by my friends, I want a wife who will 
take care of the baby-sitting arrangements. When I meet people at school 
that I like and want to entertain, I want a wife who will have the house 
clean, will prepare a special meal, serve it to me and my friends, and 
not interrupt when I talk about things that interest me and my friends. I 
want a wife who will have arranged that the children are fed and ready 
for bed before my guests arrive so that the children do not bother us. I 
want a wife who takes care of the needs of my guests so that they feel 
comfortable, who makes sure that they have an ashtray, that they are 
passed the hors d'oeuvres, that they are offered a second helping of the 
food, that their wine glasses are replenished when necessary, that their 
coffee is served to them as they like it. And I want a wife who knows 
that sometimes I need a night out by myself.

7- I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes 
love passionately and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure 
that I am satisfied. And, of course, I want a wife who will not demand 
sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it. I want a wife who 
assumes the complete responsibility for birth control, because I do not 
want more children. I want a wife who will remain sexually faithful to me 
so that I do not have to clutter up my intellectual life with jealousies. 
And I want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail more 
than strict adherence to monogamy. I must, after all, be able to relate 
to people as fully as possible.

8- If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the 
wife I already have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with 
another one. Naturally, I will expect a fresh, new life; my wife will 
take the children and be solely responsible for them so that I am left free.

9- When I am through with school and have a job, I want my wife to quit 
working and remain at home so that my wife can more fully and completely 
take care of a wife's duties. 

10- My God, who wouldn't want a wife?

Dari tulisan ini, perempuan di pandang sebagai sosok yang bisa melakukan semua hal, sayangnya untuk orang lain, mulai dari mengerjakan pekerjaan rumah sampai kerja mencari uang. Setelah membaca esai, saya dan teman-teman yang berasal dari negara Asia tersenyum seakan mengiyakan poin-poin yang diharapkan dari seorang istri dalam tulisan ini. Dalam diskusi, biasanya pandangan tradisional tentang peranan perempuan yang meliputi dapur, sumur, dan kasur masih kuat di negara-negara Asia. Laki-laki dipandang lebih pantas mendapatkan kesempatan untuk mengembangkan potensi diri. Makanya, banyak terjadi ketidaksetaraan hak antara laki-laki dan perempuan baik yang disadari maupun tidak.

Professor yang mengajar di kelas ini berbagi pengalamannya sebagai istri sekaligus akademisi. Dia bercerita, pernah di satu pertemuan, seorang teman kerjanya yang laki-laki minta izin untuk segera pulang karena waktu sudah pukul empat sore dan dia ingin berkumpul dengan anak dan istrinya. Si Professor merasa seolah kata-kata si teman ini menyindir dirinya yang lebih mengutamakan pekerjaan daripada keluarga. Lalu, dia bertanya,” Apakah kamu mengatakan hal ini hanya pada saya atau juga pada orang lain?” Bagi si Professor, statusnya sebagai perempuan dan istri bukan alasan untuk tidak aktif dan berprestasi dalam karir. Dia punya anak dirumah, tapi ada pembagian tugas yang dilakukan dengan suami, sehingga ketika dia mengajar, suaminya yang menjaga anak-anak dirumah dan sebaliknya.

Penjelasan dari Professor ini mengingatkan saya pada teman-teman mahasiswa yang sedang berjuang menyelesaikan studi di Amerika, negeri Liberti ini, perempuan dan berkeluarga. Tidak sedikit mahasiswa perempuan yang berangkat ke Amerika untuk menyelesaikan studi S2 atau S3 dengan membawa anak dan suaminya. Terus terang, mengurusi diri sendiri saja dengan beban studi yang tidak sedikit serta dengan berbagai urusan administrasi yang harus diikuti sudah bisa membuat sakit kepala, apalagi harus ditambah dengan membawa keluarga. Mereka seakan memberikan pelajaran pada semua orang, terutama perempuan, bahwa selalu ada jalan untuk meraih kebebasan untuk menimba ilmu walaupun beban terasa berat di pundak. Perempuan terpelajar dan tidak pantang menyerah dengan keadaan, sebuah cita-cita yang terselip dalam surat “Habis Gelap, Terbitlah Terang” ditulis oleh Ibu kita Kartini pada teman-temannya di Eropa.

Tahu tidak? Tidak sedikit yang mengeluh pada saya karena tidak yakin bisa melanjutkan studi ke luar negeri karena mereka sudah menikah dan punya anak. Suami dan anak bagai sebuah beban berat di pundak yang membuat sulit bergerak. Ditambah lagi, ketakutan dan kekhawatiran akan bahaya yang akan mengancam perempuan bila berpergian sendiri ke luar negeri. Seorang Muslimah selalu terbayang berita-berita tentang pembunuhan dan penganiayaan terhadap Muslim di negara asing. Sebenarnya, tidak ada yang salah dengan semua pandangan ini, hanya juga jangan dilupakan satu hal: tidak sedikit juga perempuan-perempuan Idi luar sana yang sudah melangkah melebihi batas negara untuk menuntut ilmu dan berkarya; mereka perempuan, berkeluarga, dan muslim.

Mengingat Ibu Kita Kartini seharusnya melihat masa lalu dimana perempuan memiliki ruang gerak yang terbatas, oleh kondisi dirinya sendiri sebagai perempuan, atau pun oleh lingkungan sekitar. Terbatasnya kebebasan untuk menuntut ilmu dan berkarya. Tidak ada yang bisa diperbuat dengan masa lalu, selain menjadikannya sebagai pelajaran. Apakah masa lalu akan terulang kembali di masa depan? Sebaiknya, setiap perempuan mulai merefleksikannya pada diri sendiri. Andai bisa menangkap ikan hanya dengan membuat harapan dan membanggakan cita-cita, pastilah nelayan tidak perlu bangun dini hari, menyiapkan sampan, dan mengarungi lautan ditengah badai, tanpa tahu akan pulang hidup atau mati.

Selamat hari Kartini untuk para perempuan Indonesia!

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Budi Waluyo I BBM 7DCB0622 I Line ID: Sdsafadg I Twitter @01_budi

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