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Monday, 20 June 2011

"Obedient Wives Club" Opens in Indonesia

by: Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux 
After the success of Malaysia's new "Obedient Wives Club," a group that teaches women to be submissive and encourages them to provide their husbands with a fulfilling sex life, Indonesian women will now have the opportunity to learn to be "100 percent obedient to [their] husband[s] in all aspects."  According to NPR, about 50 women and their husbands attended the club's launch at a restaurant in southern Jakarta earlier this weekend.

The group was founded by the conservative Malaysian organization Global Ikhwan, which claims that it can "cure social ills such as prostitution and divorce" by promoting female subordination.  It has hundreds of members in several Malaysian cities.

"Islam compels us to be obedient to our husband. Whatever he says, I must follow. It is a sin if I don't obey and make him happy," said one woman.

There was significant backlash to the group in Malaysia by women's rights activists and government officials.  But Global Ikhwan said that it expected this kind of reaction, and that they hoped to expand across southeast Asia.

"This is a violation of women because women have the right to be independent and to be respected as human beings," said Husein Muhammad, a theologian who is also a commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), told the Jakarta Globe.  "I see this as a new style of slavery, and sadly, they do this in the name of religion."

One of the most bizarre aspects of the group is the explicitness with which they tackle sex.  "Sex is a taboo in Asian society," explained one of the group's founders.  "We have ignored it in our marriages but it's all down to sex. A good wife is a good sex worker to her husband. What is wrong with being a whore...to your husband?"

Of course, as Care2's Annie Urban pointed out when the Malaysian club was founded, obedience is not the key to a happy marriage, even if women are taught to be less shy about sex.  There is absolutely no way for women to be equals in a relationship like the one promoted by the Obedient Wives Club, and it's distressing to see such a damaging organization spreading throughout southeast Asia.

Read more: marriage, sex, islam, muslim, indonesia, malaysia, oppression, womens rights, obedience, reciprocity, subordination, southeast asia, obedient wives club

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