Gabriela Deasyntya Kaloka Putri
Negotiating Dangdut Sexuality: A Glance Through Female Audiences’ Music Enjoyment
2018 | Tesis | Media and Communications, Lund University
Dangdut as the most popular music in Indonesia is highly sexualized on its representation of women despite the fact that Indonesia is a religious country. Dangdut’s sexualization is prominent on its performance, lyrics and culture. Banality, is the face of dangdut. During its public shows, many of the male audiences are more often than not intoxicated and engage in physical fights. Yet to date, there has never been a study on the enjoyment of female audiences’ in dangdut’s predominantly male audience. This thesis hence aims to critically paint the picture of female audiences’ cultural enjoyment in dangdut.
Adopting a feminist audience research, the research was conducted by interviewing nine interviewees in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where dangdut is considered more banal than other big cities in Indonesia. Ranging from age 23 to 28, participants in this study explore their dangdut enjoyment and meaning making by the notion of musical pleasure, musical identity performance and female dancing bodies. This thesis aim store late female audiences musical enjoyment to the disciplinary power and their female bodies objectification.
This study discovered that female audiences’ meaning making of dangdut, thus, lies on their personal, sexual, social, and “Indonesianess” experience. Female dangdut audiences are subjected to disciplinary power and have to continuously negotiate and carefully perform their musical identities based on their subjectivity: gender, class, and religious beliefs, especially in the presence of others. Participants in this research want to be identified with some but not all dangdut’s values, especially not its banality and sexualized context. The malegaze’s disciplinary power over female bodies is more over apparent at work with regards to their cultural enjoyment of dangdut in public spaces. Consequently, female audiences of dangdut prefer closed, intimate spaces to perform their bodily enjoyment of dangdut music in response to their bodily security and gender expectations directed at them.
Keywords: dangdut, female audiences, feminist reception studies, disciplinary power, gendered experience of music, Indonesia, popular music.