Living with Stereotype and Expectation: Being A Sundanese Woman

I suppose we all agree that it’s almost impossible to live without any stereotype and expectation. In the broader scope, I suppose there are some sexist thing about how men and women do the job or live their life. And to get it smaller, there’s also some prejudice based on things like religion or where they come from.

Maybe you’re the Brit who can’t even make your tea right so you feel like a failure for not being able to do what the society expects you to do. And for us Indonesian, maybe it’s such a failure for never visiting Bali. You see what I did there? I am that failure. 😛

But even among Indonesian, as we get used to dividing ourselves with ethnic, religion, and all that, I came across to make this post. In particular, I’m actually interested to find out what stereotypes that people have towards me.

And this time, what I did is to google what stereotypes out there about Sundanese women in general. I am one of them, and I want to see whether it fits me. And if not, why not?

Living with Stereotype and Expectation: Being A Sundanese Woman - The BeauTraveler

What’s Sundanese?

So, taken from Wikipedia, the Sundanese are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the western part of Java. They number approximately 40 million, making them Indonesia’s second most populous ethnic group after the Javanese.

I suppose taking the DNA test to find out your ancestor is so expensive here, so I haven’t taken any of those things. What I know is that I’m like 100% Sundanese. Like the grandma of my grandma had lived in the village that my grandma lives since a long time ago.

If there’s any stereotype glued to being a Sundanese woman, that would be the stereotype about how Sundanese women are usually pretty with fair skin and all that.

Okay, I gotta say, I’m not even mad with that kind of stereotype because I AM pretty. But for fair skin and all? It’s just most of Asian propaganda that one must have fair skin to be pretty. Not into that.

For this post, I was trying to post a picture that could make me look as Sundanese as possible. And I could only find this one, since it’s the only portrait of me wearing kebaya that I’ve got with no filter. 😛

So, for this post, I’ve been googling about Sundanese women stereotype and I found this article and this for me to match and see whether it’s a yay or nay.

The Stereotype and Expectation of Being a Sundanese Woman

Now, let’s start with the stereotype they’ve written about Sundanese women on the internet. I’ve skim-read some and honestly felt somehow some of the things they wrote are kind of degrading at some point. And I’m not even a hardcore feminist. Okay.

1. Sundanese are considered soft and easy-going. Due to their welcoming nature, the penetration of Islam among them was faster and easier compared to Javanese. They are more religious compared to the Javanese.

While I agree that it’s quite rare to find a multi-religion home in Sundanese family, I gotta say if anyone would expect me to be religious just because I’m Sundanese, they’d be hella disappointed because I’m not.

However, I suppose I’m quite easy-going in a way I can easily make friends with anyone although no, I’m not soft. My skin is maybe soft, but not my personality. *lol*

2. Some will say that they lack ambition and they are not willing to live far from their home.

Well yeah, you won’t find me being as ambitious as Hermione Granger, but I definitely have a vision about where I want to be in life 5 years from now. And despite the fact that there’s no place like Bandung, my hometown, and I’d definitely always say yes to come back home, I wouldn’t mind to relocate, even far from home.

I could survive in Saudi Arabia, and definitely enjoy my time in Turkey. The only place that I found too hard to bear is Jakarta. I can’t explain why, but really it all depends on the place. While Jakarta is not for me, I wouldn’t mind Saudi Arabia.

3. If you date a Sundanese, you might experience a surge in your monthly expenses. Sundanese girls love to spend on clothes, cellphones, laptops, shoes, beauty products and entertainment.

While I wouldn’t deny this since I know a lot of my friends who are like that, let me tell you an anecdote about what Sunda means. Sunda is a short form of suka dandan, or we love makeup. We just love taking care of ourselves. Not because we’re self-centered, because we know how to present ourselves in public.

But, I disagree about how you might experience a surge in your monthly expenses if you date a Sundanese woman. Despite the fact that we love makeup, not all Sundanese women need you to spend money for their makeup. At least not me.

Also, I’m not the typical Indonesian who are really consumptive when it comes to their gadgets. Like, honestly, ever since I had my first cellphone, the only way I could change my phone is when my phone got broken and irreparable. Otherwise, better fix it than buy a new one.

Pretty much the same as laptop. I still used the laptop I used in my college (I started college in 2007 and graduated in 2011) until probably 2 years ago. And the one that I’m using now, I bought it from a friend who needed money for his wedding. The money I spent on my laptop is the money I earned because I had to work 2 jobs to make my end met in Jakarta.

4. High maintenance, spoiled, overly dramatic and proud of their appearance.

I’m so sorry that I’m not sorry because yes, I’m high maintenance and definitely behaving like a diva. Why? Because my parents raised me to make sure that everything in me matters. Be it the experience I’ve earned in life, the ability to stand up for myself, and this DNA though… It’s so hard not to be proud of.

5. No bad attitude, genuine interest in meeting you, and they are very horny because they rarely have sex.

I’ve got a mixed feeling about this part, I’m not sure whether I want to laugh because how funny it is, or how much I feel like I want to kick who wrote this in the nuts.

While when I decide to meet someone, I usually expect something beyond just free dinner, I gotta say that I’m very horny because I am just horny. Not because I rarely have sex. For the latter, I’m sure I’ve had plenty, probably more than the article’s writer.

Well, yeah… Stereotypes could be misleading in a way that it’s just what some people believe about one thing and another. I’m actually in a love-and-hate relationship with my own stereotypes because while one is just totally wrong, sometimes it’s so right I just can’t deny.

But if anything, try to look beyond it. Because that way, you’ll see that person as an individual. Not as a part of group he/she belongs to. Stay positive, everyone… And cheerio! 😀

Like my post?

7 thoughts on “Living with Stereotype and Expectation: Being A Sundanese Woman”

  1. I love how you addressed these stereotypes with your commentary! Some of them surprised me, but stereotypes in general can be so annoying. It’s important to point out when they aren’t accurate.

  2. This is well written. You inspired me to make another version of this – Being a Filipino Woman.
    You’re beautiful. I totally agree that having a fair skin is just an Asian propaganda. I lived in Korea and in Philippines, it’s really crazy how much whitening products are available in the market as if everyone wants to have fair skin.
    I think that our natural color is perfect.

    1. yes, please… i want to read about the stereotype of being a filipino woman. we all have our own struggles, in fact, we asian women could even unite to talk about the stereotype of being one. haha. 😀

      and the whitening products though, it’s harder to find skincare without whitening effect in this part of the world, i believe? i don’t mind using it, i only get annoyed a little whenever i hear women complaining about getting tanned when really they’re just pretty as they are. i think the standard to get that kind of self-esteem is pretty high when all people believe that the brighter the skin, the better. 🙁

  3. Really interesting post. I feel that Stereotypes are really bad for everyone, no matter what there race or religion. Be who you are and don’t worry about others.

  4. Hey girl 🙂
    Your post was really an interesting read…. I don’t really know much abut Sudan or Sudanese people… Unfortunately I’ve never had much contact…
    Thankfully I’ve never been stereotyped whenever I was living abroad…Tht I know of, of course! hahahaha

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