Academic journal article K@ta

The Construction of Urban Single Career Woman in Indonesian Chick Lit, Jodoh Monica

Academic journal article K@ta

The Construction of Urban Single Career Woman in Indonesian Chick Lit, Jodoh Monica

Article excerpt

Abstract: The text of urban single career women in Jodoh Monica is constructed to be negative and unfavorable as opposed to the text of married women, which is positive and favorable. The construction of both texts is based on a patriarchal ideology that is deeply rooted in every aspect of Indonesian family and social lives that Monica, the protagonist in Jodoh Monica, takes a subject position in this the patriarchal discourse of gender role. The text of urban single career woman in Jodoh Monica seeks to conform rather than challenge the patriarchal ideology.

Key words: patriarchal ideology, subject position, discourse, power relations, regime of truth, construction of text

Chick lit is defined as a 'literary genre that features books written by women and focusing on young, quirky, female protagonists' (Wordspy.com) that gained its popularity in 1997 with the publication of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary. This novel is considered to be the first novel of this literary subgenre and when it was made into the film version with Rene?e Zellweger starring as Bridget Jones, its position as a 'must read' book, especially among urban young single women, is further acclaimed. Following the success of Bridget Jones's Diary, successive strings of other successful titles like Shopaholic, Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella, Jemima Jones and Mr. Maybe by Jane Green, were enthusiastically welcome by the chick lit readers. The steady selling of chick lit has made big publishers like Harlequin, and Simon and Schuster to launch new imprints for this genre under the name of Red Dress Ink and Downtown Press. Other publishers like Ballantine, Avon and Plume, also dedicate a portion of their list for chick lit. Harlequin, best-known publisher of romance novels, and Simon and Schuster have obviously seen a potential market that new imprints are dedicated solely for the publication of this genre. Thus, we can expect that chick lit will not be just a temporary trend because the industry involved in the publishing and marketing of chick lit really means it to be serious business and it will ensure that chick lit will have wider readership.

How would a reader know that she is reading a chick lit or not? A British chick lit is usually written based on a formula. The main character is an anti role model. She is usually a cosmopolitan single in her late twenties or beginning thirties, has a career although not very successful in a media related company, adores the latest fashion, spends more than she could afford, meets several Mr. Wrongs whom she usually thinks as Mr. Right, enjoys sex but thinks that she does not have enough and has several other weaknesses that label her as superficial. Despite these shortcomings, she is warm, brave, generous, loyal to her friends and very naive when it comes to love relationship. Even though romance is one of its important elements, a chick lit focuses more on how the protagonist search for her identity as an urban single woman amidst her career, social life and family problems. The comical way in which the protagonist relates her responses, thought and feelings over her predicaments as a single in an urban modern surrounding, makes her a loveable person whom the reader can identify with.

The identification with the main character means that chick lit has been successful in 'interpellating' its readers. Althusser explains this process of 'interpellation' as 'the ways in which individuals are interpellated into subject positions by a process of identification . . . by an act of recognition: 'yes, that's me, yes, that's how it is' (Giles and Middleton, 1999, p. 40). The chick lit readers can see themselves in the lives of Bridget Jones (in Bridget Jones's Diary), Becky Bloomwood (in Shopaholic), Emma Corrigan (in Can You Keep a Secret?) and other loveable protagonists; to laugh with them over some cheery incidents, to worry with them when they are caught in the middle of a problem and to be miserable with them when they are in a danger of losing the men they love. …

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