Indonesian women’s rights group criticizes Atta Halilintar’s conservative views

It has been less than a month since popular Indonesian Youtuber Atta Halilintar got married, but he’s already facing heated criticism for his remarks on women’s roles in marriage that got the attention of the country’s women’s rights organisation. 

Atta Halilintar got married to Aurel Hermansyah on 3rd April 2021 and has been making headlines ever since – first for his lavish wedding amidst a pandemic, second for his views on marriage that have been called outdated, and the latest for being infected for a second time with COVID-19 soon after his honeymoon. 

Atta Halilintar’s view: man leads, woman follows

Image credit: @aurelie.hermansyah 

In a podcast uploaded to Youtube, Atta sat with host and mother-in-law, Ashanty Hermansyah, to discuss everything from his new wife Aurel, to his family, life goals, and his take on marriage.

During the conversation, Ashanty asked Atta on his readiness to become a husband and later father, as well as his views on marriage, in which Atta responded by saying, “aku udah kepala keluarga, Izin suami, suara suami adalah dari Tuhan. Kalau aku nggak izin ini, kamu harus nurut,” (The husband is the head of the family and the husband’s voice is the voice of God, if I don’t allow her to do something, she must obey me), referring to his belief in the roles of a husband and wife in a marriage.

He further explained that “Istilahnya hidup kamu sudah diserahkan ke laki-laki yang sudah bertanggung jawab atas kamu.” (The woman’s life has been handed over to her husband from her parents to be responsible for her).

A still from the podcast
Image credit: The Hermasyah A6 

In addition, Atta has also expressed his desire to have 15 children from his marriage to Aurel numerous times to local media and through his Youtube channel. Atta comes from a family of 11 siblings, including himself, and wishes the same for his family. 

Young, popular, and controversial

Atta Halilintar
Image credit:

Atta’s views on marriage raised many eyebrows, especially from those in the women’s rights organisation. The Commissioner for the country’s women’s rights organisation, Siti Aminah, addressed these remarks in a statement saying, “Bentuk ketidakadilan gender yang dilanggengkan adalah subordinasi, yaitu perempuan dianggap sebagai bukan pengambil keputusan, tapi ditentukan oleh suami. Perempuan yang berstatus istri kehilangan haknya untuk ikut menentukan atau memutuskan rumah tangga seperti apa yang akan dibangun.”

(The form of gender injustice that is perpetuated here is subordination, in which women are considered not to be decision-makers and the decisions are made by the husbands. Wives lose their rights to participate in determining or deciding what kind of household to build).

The women’s rights organisation
Image credit: @komnasperempuan

Aminah also commented on Atta’s desire to have 15 children, saying, “Sudahkah hal ini disepakati? Perempuan tidak bisa diposisikan sebagai ‘pabrik’ anak saja, perempuan memiliki hak untuk menentukan kapan, berapa jumlah anak, dan jarak setiap anak dalam perkawinan.”

(For example, if you want to have 15 children, has this been agreed upon? Women should not be in the position of only being a ‘factory’ for bearing children, as women have the right to determine when, how many children, and the age gap between each child in a marriage).

Atta has not commented on this issue. He has recently revealed on a Instagram post that he is being treated for COVID-19, having caught the virus for a second time. 

The battle between gender equality and societal pressure for women

While women across the globe are standing up for themselves more and are defying outdated traditions, we are still often under social pressure to fit into roles deemed acceptable by society. 

Many women choose to be stay-home wives and mothers while others choose to continue their careers full-time. Whatever a woman chooses to do, she has the right to make decisions affecting her mind, body, and life.

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Cover image adapted from: @aurelie.hermasyah and @aurelie.hermansyah 

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