Projecting Gender Identity: Woman’s Portrayal in Indonesian Female Directors’ Films

  • Ayu Kartika Julianingsih Tas'an Universitas Bosowa
  • Rosnani Rosnani Universitas Bosowa
Keywords: Gender, Indonesian film industry, Representation, female filmmaker, film


This paper aims to assess the role of female filmmakers in the contemporary Indonesian film industries. Throughout history, the presence of women in the Indonesian film industry brings many effects on the way a woman is depicted on screen. As the portrayal of women in Indonesian films tends to be homogenous, many female filmmakers strive to give another image of women on screen and work against the stereotype of women in earlier Indonesian movies. Hence, this study argues that Indonesian female filmmakers challenge the depiction of women in the contemporary Indonesian film industry. This research uses a qualitative methodology, mainly textual analysis to have a deep understanding of way the Indonesian female filmmakers contribute to the depiction of women in film. By selecting two recent films produced by women, the research portrays women through its cinematic elements. The finding in this research demonstrates that Indonesian women filmmakers contribute to a different portrayal of women on screen and adds more discussion about how female filmmakers speak about the issue of women through their productions. Furthermore, the character of women in the selected film has a strong correlation with the local culture which is embedded in the social life of Indonesian. Hence, it can be concluded that Indonesian female directors contribute not only to the depiction of women but also to the discourse of women in Indonesian films


Antariksa, M. (2021). Representasi Tubuh Perempuan Dalam Film “Imperfect” (Bachelor Thesis, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta). UMS Repository.

Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., & Tynan, L. (2015). Media and Journalism: New Approaches to Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press: London.

Barker, T. (2019). Indonesian Cinema After the New Order: Going mainstream. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press

Baxter, J. (2020). Text and Textual Analysis. in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. 239-243.

Chaudhuri, S. (2006). Feminist Film Theorists. London: Routledge.

Clark, M. (2000). “Men, Masculinities and Symbolic Violence in Recent Indonesian Cinema”. In: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 35(1):113-131.

Eliyanah, E. (n.d). Indonesian Womens Cinema Challenging Hegemony of Masculinity. University of Western Australia

Garland, R. (2021). Female Representation in Films and Television (Honor Thesis, Ball State University). BSU Repository.

Heeren, K.V. (2012). Contemporary Indonesian Film. Leiden: KITLV Press.

Hughes-Freeland, F. (2011). “Women's Creativity in Indonesian Cinema”. Indonesia and the Malay World. 39(115):417-444. doi: 10.1080/13639811.2011.614089

Hyunanda, Vinny Flaviana, José Palacios Ramírez, Gabriel López-Martínez, and Víctor Meseguer-Sánchez. (2021). “State Ibuism and Women’s Empowerment in Indonesia: Governmentality and Political Subjectification of Chinese Benteng Women.” Sustainability 13(6): 3559. doi:10.3390/su13063559.

Imanjaya, E. & Citra, D. (2013). “Dissecting the Female Roles in Indonesia’s Post-authoritarian Cinema”. In Michalik, Y. Indonesian Women Filmmaker. Regiospectra: Germany. pp 95-114.

Kurnia, N. (2013). ‘To be or not to be Feminist’: Feminism, Subjectivity, and Women Film Directors in post-New-Order Indonesia. In Yvonne Michalik (ed.), Indonesian women filmmakers. Berlin: regiospectra.

Kurnia, N. (2014). Women Directors in Post-New Order Indonesia: Making Filmmaking Difference. PhD thesis, Flinders University.

Lauretis, T.d. (1987). Technologies of Gender. Indiana: Indiana University Press

Mantziari, D. (2014). Women Directors in ‘Global’ Art Cinema: Negotiating Feminism and Representation. PhD Thesis, University of East Anglia.

Michalik, Y. (2015). “Indonesian Women Filmmakers”. Indonesia and the Malay World. 43(127):378-396. doi: 10.1080/13639811.2015.1054139

Ramanathan, G. 2006. Feminist Auteurs. London: Wallflower Press.

Thornham, S. 1999. Feminist Film Theory A Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press

Ulum, M. B. Jannah, F. & Nadhiyah, F. (2021). Film Industry As Part Of Global Creative Industry: Learning from Indonesia. TRILOGI: Jurnal Ilmu Teknologi, Kesehatan, dan Humaniora. 2(3):220-227. DOI: 10.33650/trilogi.v2i3.3075

Wahyuni, P. & Adnan, H. M. (2022). “A New Female Identity in Indonesian Films: A Feminist Critical Discourse on Marlina Si Pembunuh Dalam Empat Babak”. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication. 38(3):162-176. DOI: 10.17576/JKMJC-2022-3803-10

Wibowo, G. (2019). Representasi Perempuan dalam Film Siti. Nyimak Joournal of Communication, 3(1), 47-59. DOI:

Widyaningsih, N. (2022). Women And Documentary Film in Indonesia. In International Virtual Conference on Women in Indonesian Film and Cinema. Badan Perfilman Indonesia.

Yngvesson, D. (2015). “Kuldesak and the Inexorable Pulp Fiction of Indonesian Film History”. Indonesia and the Malay World. 43(127): 345-377. doi:10.1080/13639811.2015.1046756


Badan Pusat Statistik. “Jumlah Kasus Dan Persentase Korban Kekerasan Terhadap Perempuan Yang Mendapat Layanan Komprehensif 2017-2019,” 2019. Accessed February 28, 2023.
Abstract viewed = 211 times