Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

Under the lights, onto the stage: becoming waria through national glamour in new order Indonesia

journal contribution
posted on 2018-08-01, 00:00 authored by Benjamin Hegarty
Indonesia's waria commonly assert that the bodily transformations they undertake on a temporary but daily basis, which they call déndong, are central to their understanding of the self. The onerous efforts that waria make to craft their male body in line with frequently glamorous forms of feminine beauty nests within efforts to achieve visibility on the national stage. Waria also describe their gendered embodiment in terms of a personal narrative of self-actualization that sees it as one aspect of a process they call becoming. However, waria do not see déndong primarily as the expression of an individual self but assert that it is a reflection of the work of others. In this view, meeting more waria and interacting with them results in irrevocable changes to one's outer self. This article describes the historical emergence of this common understanding of selfhood and embodiment during the New Order in Indonesia (1967–98), a period characterized by the rapid growth of the mass media in the context of military rule. Emphasizing waria's own memories of this period alongside archival sources and personal photographs helps us understand how gender presentation both animates and undermines the fragile promise of national belonging in Indonesia.

History

Journal

TSQ: transgender studies quarterly

Volume

5

Issue

3

Pagination

355 - 377

Publisher

Duke University Press

Location

Durham, N.C.

ISSN

2328-9252

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Duke University Press