I remember that day. It was Wednesday and the clock on the wall showed that it was seven o’ clock. We were working on our homework. We had to write a respond for Critical Theory class. Two of us are librarians. We had the key so that we can stay in English Library for long time. However, two of my friends, Cika and Adetya, started to panic. They lookedt the clock. In my mind, I tried to think about it. Why Rizky and I was still calm when the others looked panic? Did it happen because we were man and they wereWhy does it can be different? How it can be different?
We were very stress at that time. It is the first time we wrote a response so that we did not have any idea what we were writing. Therefore, we wrote it slowly. I looked to the clock. It was still seven o’clock and we wrote nothing. Although the questions have been clearly written in the website, it was very hard to understand. While trying to get an idea, I reflected it again. We were same. We confused together. We were students. We were doing something same here. We are same. Then, why did they look to the clock again? Why did the women look worry?
I looked to the clock again. It was eight o’clock. Fortunately, I had written some words although it was not much. Rizky, Cika, and Adetya did the same as well, but we were still far from finished. Yet again, Cika and Adetya looked at the clock and their faces showed that they were bothered to stay or go home. This was the problem. I guess that Rizky and I were still calm because we are men, while Adet and Cika were worried because they are women.
Cika and Adet rarely go back to their boarding house late so they never spend their time in the university at night. It is fairly understood because our university does not put lights in every corner. Thus, when the night comes, there will be some points that are completely dark. Moreover, our university does not put many guards on the dark spots, which mean it will be desolate and dangerous to walk in the night. This condition consequently makes women fear to stay longer in the campus.
The next question arises. Does it happen to man as well? It will be yes and no. Yes, I will also be frightened if I walk in the dark pathway alone. However, it is also not because it is my habitual. Rizky and I usually go home late because we need to study more in the library. Therefore, we have become accustomed going home through the dark pathway. Furthermore, none questions us either going home late or sleeping over in the library. Our parents easily agree or even support it.
Differ from us, Cika and Adetya are different. They do not have this special treatment. When they want to stay at the campus they need to make sure that they will not go home alone. They need to safe their body first while Rizky and I do not need to. However, it could be impossible as well because there are some women boarding homes which applies curfew. It means that if they are late, they cannot go inside and be trapped outside.
However, it came to the option of sleeping over in the library or not. It was hard for Cika and Adetya to do it back in the day. It wast only because they never slept in the library before, but our society also disputed it. It is unusual for woman and man sleep in one place. Although we were studying or even writing our responses here, still, our society will not see it in that way. This condition therefore, makes Cika and Adetya could not stay long in the library.
Now, I am asking myself again. Why we are different? We are students. We should have equal treatments. It is not only man who can go whenever he wants in the university. It is not only men who can stay in the library all night long. Women should have this advantage as well. She should be able to access to all facility as man has. Based on what Beauvoir says that man is free because man is a creature who can define himself. Woman is “Liyan” (The Other) because she is not a man. She is an object who cannot establish her extension. If woman wants to become Self, a subject, woman, as man, must transcendence her definition, label, and essence which bound her extension (Beauvoir in Tong, 1998, p. 9).
Finally, we finished our responses. I looked at the clock. It was twelve o’clock. It was midnight. We were confused what will we do next. Should we stay here? Should we go home? We were tired and did not eat yet. Adetya and Cika insisted to go back to their house. Rizky and I did not have any choice. At this time, we should go home as well to look after them. This is the culture which our society constructs. Man should protect woman as if man is better than woman. The stronger had to guard the weaker.
The culture, indeed, does not only make woman becoming an inferior, Liyan, but it also constructs the ideal concept of man. Therefore, it becomes a problem from man who is weak. Both woman and the weak man could be placed as inferior and treated as Liyan as well. As what I can see, our world is not fair anymore.
Tong, Rosemarie Putnam. (1998). Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, Second Edition. Westview Press: Colorado.