Fri, 09 May 2003

Inul's body politicized

Inul's gyrating body has become an extremely interesting subject of discussion at all layers of Indonesian society recently. Almost all television talk shows raise the issue of Inul's rags-to-riches story. Only the government hasn't said a word yet on this controversial matter.

For a long time, any provocative incident, particularly when the object has concerned women, has always been eye-catching and quickly lodges in people's consciousness. The same case applies to the Inul phenomenon -- a young, attractive girl with a unique dance movement that has produced a variety of reactions.

What has become the focus here is Inul's body, not her attitude, vocal quality or beauty. Maybe the politics of the body apply to talk about Inul's body, which has become a hot topic of discussion everywhere. Inul's body has become a political issue, not because it goes through various reproductive health processes, such as menstruation, pregnancy and birth, but because it has become an exceptional issue for discussion, not only by ordinary people but the elite as well.

Inul's "drilling", which might have been discussed within more limited confines, such as in the home, is now a matter of open discussion by a wide variety of people, and under a wide range of circumstances. More and more people enjoy talking about Inul.

Imagine if the government felt obliged to make a judgment regarding Inul, as the Indonesian Council of Ulemas and Indonesian Malay Artists Association have done. Inul's case would then have become politicized as a "national issue": Each and every one of us should therefore be careful.