Contemporary Masculinities and Young Men In Indonesia

This article is on three kinds of contemporary young masculinities in Indonesia. Proceeding through a discussion of three composite profiles of young men assembled from fieldwork data, the argument is made that these three identifiable discourses of lived masculinity correspond to some dominant images of men circulating in the Indonesian media. Theoretically, these seem to be new or alternative constructions of masculinity, if considered against the men’s studies literature. Yet there is evidence that these persuasive new forms of cultural leadership for young Indonesian men still constitute a configuration of hegemonic masculinity, even though the patriarchal bapak stereotype is challenged. It is concluded that young men in Indonesia are under various kinds of pressure: to become a good citizen and dependable provider for the family on the one hand, and on the other hand, to match the fantasy images of global ‘hypermasculinity’ – tough, hard and heroic. To a certain extent this applies in both the secular and religious domains.

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