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FEMINISM IN PRINCESS MANDALIKA: SASAKNESE FOLKLORE

By Agus Khairi - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 No Comments




Agus Khairi
NIM. 157835401
Language and Literature Program
Post Graduate Program
The State University of Surabaya

Abstract: This paper is aimed to investigate on of famous Sasaknese Folklore, Princess Mandalika. The investigation focused on feminism in this folklore showed by the main character of the story is that Princess Mandalika and the environment, in this case in the Kingdom. The method conducted in this paper is qualitative method by analyzing the data in form of folklore in English version. Based on the analysis in this paper, Princess Mandalika showed feminism in equality of moral and having right to choose and make decision as the woman, not like in patriarchy system that rule and control women.    

Keywords: feminism, folklore, sasaknese

1.    Introduction
Folklore as oral tradition can be found almost in every part of Indonesia. It is spread out in society which have different story based on tribes who live in each island and their culture. Folklore in certain society describes culture developed in that society. It can be seen how culture in society by understanding the folklore. Folklore developed in the society since long time ago and told by word of mouth from generation to generation (Dundes, 2007, p. 53).
 The difference of folklore in every tribe in a certain place can be influenced by nature and beliefs of the tribe. In Lombok can be found many folklores spread out in Sasaknese, the origin of Lombok people, such as Princess Mandalika, Princess Rengganis, Dewi Anjani. Those are the famous folklores that spread out in Lombok and believed by Sasaknese. Those three samples of Lombok folklore, the main characters are woman. All of those folklores told about how woman’s role in her society told in the story. It is very interesting considered patriarchal culture is very strong in Sasaknese at the past till know.
In this paper, the writer will focused on one folklore as an object of research is that Princess Mandalika. This research will find and discuss about feminism and to what extent the role of woman character in the story. As we know that feminism is ism about woman movement for right and equality. As Tyson (2006, p. 116) argues that “For centuries feminism has worked for gender equality: for a dissolution of the patriarchal gender roles that, even today, continue to short-circuit efforts to achieve complete equality between women and men.” From this point of view the researcher tries to find out how the woman’s roles, in this case Princess Mandalika, are involved in the story.
              
2.    Theoretical Framework
2.1    The Nature of Folklore
Nowadays, term of folklore commonly used in literature field because the development of discussion about folklore. Indeed, it is important to know what folklore is. It is aimed to know more about folklore and types in order to give brief knowledge to people. It is probably that people do not know the term of folklore even folklore is often told for them. So, they can’t distinguish which one are folklore and other types of literary work.
The term folklore is generally used to refer to the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people which have been disseminated in an informal manner -- usually via word of mouth (americanfolklore.net). Folklore consist of two words, those are folk and lore. Folk is group of people who has physical characteristic feature, social and culture which can be differentiated with others. Those characteristics can be hair form, skin color, language, religion, beliefs and culture. While lore is a part of culture passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth or through example or mnemonic device (Danandjaja, 2003, p. 3).
Focused on the term folk and lore as part of term folklore was formed, the writer try to conclude what Dundes (2007, p. 3) mentioned about folk and lore terms. Folk means behavior act and social setting and lore means the content of folk. The unity of them, folk and lore give brief explanation what actually folklore is. As (Danandjaja, 2003) stated that “folklore is part of group’s culture spread and passed down from generation to generation, traditionally in different version, orally or by example followed by sign or mnemonic device.” If Danandjaja stated the folklore is partially of society’s culture, Dundes (2007, p. viii)  “folklore was a  mirror of culture, a lens for society, a key to behavior, a projection of mind.” In other word, folklore describes culture of certain society and through folklore can be seen how the society life in the past.
There are many types of folklore in society, such as folktale, myth, legend, fable, hero and heroine, god and goddesses, and fairy tales. Those types of folklore are generally divided into genre based on the characteristics of lore. According to Sims and Stephens (2011, pp. 12-16) folklore can be classified into three main genres:
1)        Verbal folklore is a genre of folklore which includes any kind of lore involving words, whether set to music, organized in chronological story form, or merely labeling an activity or expressing a belief with a word or phrase. Some of the most recognizable forms of this genre which are studied by folklorists are folksongs, myths, and folktales.
2)        Material folklore is a genre of folklore which takes a number of different forms such as architectural structures or functional tools, and some of it temporary, such as food, body painting, or paper ornaments.
3)        Customary lore, is a genre of folklore in which it deals with people’s custom. A custom itself is repeated, habitual action, a usual way of doing something.

2.2    Sasaknese Folklore
Before talking about Sasaknese folklore, I want to describe about Sasak and Lombok. Sasak is the name what people called tribes who live in Lombok Island and spread out in five regencies in Lombok. Lombok is a part of West Nusa Tenggara and divided into five regencies, those are West Lombok, Mataram City, Central Lombok, East Lombok, and North Lombok. Lombok has many beautiful beaches and Mountain which is the second highest Mountain in Indonesia, 3726 masl.
There are many folklore in Lombok and very well known by Sasak people. Those folklore are believed and develop until know in Lombok. The most famous folklore in Lombok such as Princess Mandalika, Dewi Rengganis, Cupak Gerantang, and Dewi Anjani. The story Princess Mandalika becomes background of an event held every year by Lombok people in Seger Beach around February and March, named Bau Nyale. While Dewi Anjani is story about Queen of Genie who lead all of the genies in Lombok Island and She Lives in Rinjani Mountain as her Kingdom. And also there are many folklore that spread out in Sasaknese people. Most of them told about the story based on the Kingdom period setting.      
  
2.3    Feminism
Feminism becomes popular and sensitive term in nowadays in many fields such as politics, social movement and development, also in government. The term feminism often occurs and become topic in public discussion and academic forum held by Government Institution, Non Government Organization (NGO), Foundation and Social Movement Organization. It is usual to hear and read about “gender equality” in mass media whether printed or electronic. In public point of view Feminism is closely with term of feminist movement. This in line with what Hooks (2000, p. 1) stated, “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” From the definition can be seen that it is matter of different sex, between male and female, man and woman. Those different caused different of way treating someone based on sex.
   Above has already explained the definition of feminism according to Hooks, sated that feminism is a movement. Moreover, feminism consists of ideas and actions in unity. Feminism is not only understand as ism but struggled become condition that appropriate for the woman through movement by people who beliefs it, called as feminist. Feminism concern with women’s inferior position in society and discrimination encountered by women because of different sex. Feminist movement deal with changes in the social, economic, political or cultural order, to reduce and eventually overcome this discrimination against the women (Freedman, 2001, p. 1).
It is become universal movement in feminism, even as a universal basis assumption of feminism is that cultural order, patriarchy or masculine domination. Butler (1990, p. 3) argues:
The political assumption that there must be a universal basis for feminism, one which must be found in an identity assumed to exist cross-culturally, often accompanies the notion that the oppression women has some singular form discernible in the universal or hegemonic structure of patriarchy or masculine domination.
            Patriarchy is common “enemy” for feminism in culture of society. Patriarchy as form of man domination put women as subordination of man in structure of society and family. In line with Tyson (2006, p. 87) “patriarchy is thus, by definition, sexist, which means it promotes the belief that women are innately inferior to men”. This happen almost in all of culture in many tribe’s life in Indonesia.
From those definitions of feminism I want to separate it into two main elaborations of feminism based on my interpretation. It is important to clarify dealing with this research that will discuss about feminism within the folklore as an object in this research. First, as an idea, feminism is movement to end discrimination happen to the women in their daily life. Feminist beliefs that they can be equal position same as men in work, government, society, there is no limitation based on different sex. Second, feminism as an action, feminist wants to have power and role in society, act with the power and role they can do such as leader in government and organization, make a decision for themselves like what men do. Both of ideas and action actually as unity in feminism.          
3.    Method
Research in this paper is qualitative method in which the data gotten from one of Lombok Local Folklore is that Princess Mandalika. Then, the data will be analyzed based on reader’s point of view and refer to academic writing, books, scientific article, journal and material from blog or web.

4.    Discussion
Princess Mandalika is one of famous Folklore in Lombok believed by Sasaknese, Lombok People. The setting of this story was in Central Lombok, one of regency in West Nusa Tenggara. The climax of this story happen in a beautiful beach named Seger Beach part of Tourism Area Kuta Beach Lombok. Because this story as a folklore, there is no valid time mention within it. The English version summary of the story taken from (http://ceritarakyatnusantara.com/en/folklore/41-Princess-Mandalika-the-Origin-of-Bau-Nyale-Festival) as follow:
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom in Lombok Island that was ruled by a king named Raja Tonjang Beru. He was a wise king. He had a queen named Dewi Seranting. He also had a beautiful daughter named Princess Mandalika. It is said that princess Mandalika was the prettiest girl in the whole island. Everybody knew about Princess Mandalika’s beauty and kindness, even the people from other kingdom around the island.
Princes from all over the place wanted to marry her. One by one, they came to propose her. Princess Mandalika was a kind girl. She hated to make people sad. So, when those princes came to propose her, she was very confused. She could not decide, and she didn’t want to make them sad. She also didn’t want to cause a war to happen because of her.
To solve the problem, Raja Tonjang Beru then held a competition in Seger Kuta beach. He asked all the princes to take part in archery competition. The rule was simple; whoever shot the target perfectly will be accepted as Princess Mandalika’s future husband. One by one, all participants tried their best. After some time, there was no winner. All the participants were great in archery.
Because there was no a winner, all the participants started to argue. They claimed to be the best. The argument was getting hotter. Finally, they all were fighting. Soon, the fighting got bigger. It was like a war, because all the princes brought their soldiers in the archery competition. Princess Mandalika was really worried. She did not want the war to get bigger and hurt many people. Finally, she had an idea. "Everybody, listen up! I know you all love me and want me to be your wife. But I don't want you to fight because of me. And I don't want you to be sad either. I want you all to have me, but not as your wife. I want to be someone that everybody can have," said Princess Mandalika.
Raja Tonjang Beru and all other people in the beach did not understand what she meant. The king then came to her. But suddenly, Princess Mandalika jumped to the sea. She disappeared in the big waves. Everybody was surprised. It was chaos on the beach. All the princes tried to swim to find the princess, but they found nothing.
After several hours trying to search the princess, suddenly they found a lot of colorful sea worms on the beach. Raja Tonjang Beru then realized that his daughter had returned as sea worms. The worms were then called Nyale. Until now, people in Lombok always try to catch nyale. Nyale is very delicious and that is why a lot of people come to Lombok to catch it. However, they can only find it once a year, in February or March. The tradition to catch the sea worms is called Bau Nyale.

From the story of Princess Mandalika there are some discussion will be elaborate based on the reader’s point of view refer to feminism focus on Princess Mandalika act in the story. The discussion will be presented based on the citation of story’s sequence.
First of all, discussion will be started by analysis of when Princess Mandalika was given chance to decide whether accepted or refused the Prince who came to marry her. There is no force from her Father, The King. It is extremely contrary, unusual custom in Royal Family that let Princess decided by herself about who will be her husband. Usually the decision maker is The King as her Father.
According to what Princess Mandalika got, the right to decide about her marry, is far from patriarchy. Patriarchy is a assumption of that males are superior of females and should rule over the females (Hooks, 2000, p. ix). Yet, it is not occur in the story that The King as a father (Male), ruled over his daughter (female) to marry the Prince that He chosen for Princess Mandalika. The story showed us how female (Princess Mandalika) has right to decide her marriage. Till Princess Mandalika decided to refuse all the princes propose by her way.
Second analysis is about Princess Mandalika decision to jump to the sea as the solution in avoiding war. She did not choose one of the princes, because if she chooses one of them, war will happen and the victims are the people. It showed us how high morality The Princess had, she disposed to sacrifice herself for the sake of the people in the island. She said that she is not for one person but for all of the people. This kind of humanity which is think and act for others and not selfish.
Moral showed by Princess Mandalika as part of feminism which demands equal assumption in morality. Freedman (2001, p. 19) argues “One facet of sexual difference that has been explored by feminists is that of women’s different moral stance”. The feminist want to undertaken the claims about a biologically determined sexual difference in morality, women is weaker in moral development than men. This claim argued by Frued in (Freedman, 2001, p. 19) “a  biologically determined sexual difference in morality”. By the action of Princess Mandalika sacrifice herself in order to give peace and save for the people showed us women’s moral is not weak, not lower than men. It is equal between women and men; women have morality as well as men. It is not just focused on ethic care only as claim of Carol Gilligan in (Freedman, 2001, p. 19).
      
5.    Conclusion
From the Sasaknese folklore Princess Mandalika shows us about feminism in action, not only in ideas. Having right to choose her future husband without forced by his father showed there is no male rule (patriarchy) in the story. The sacrificing of Princess Mandalika to avoid war among the princes who has numerous armies and change into Nyale (sea worm) which can be eat for all of people as a part of feminism in equality of moral. Women can have morality and care about others even the have to sacrifice themselves for sake of the people need. The feminism in this folklore can be followed by Sasaknese women that they can do same as what men do and have moral as well as men.

Reference
Butler, J. P. (1990). Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge.
Danandjaja, J. (2003). Folklor Amerika: Cermin Multikultural yang Manunggal. Jakarta: PT Pustaka Utama Grafiti.
Dundes, A. (2007). The Meaning of Folklore. Utah: Utah State University Press.
Freedman, J. (2001). Feminism. Philadelphia: Open University Press.
Hooks, B. (2000). Feminism is for Everibody: Passionate Politics. Cambridge: South End Press.
Sims, M. C., & Stephens, M. (2011). Living Folklore: An Introduction to the Study of People and Their Traditions (2 ed.). Utah: Utah State University Press.
Tyson, L. (2006). Critical Theory Today. New York: Routledge.

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