World Cup 1994 will always live in my memory. That event has marked my whole life towards football. Although I only watched final match (between Brazil and Italia), I was so impressed. Since that day, I considered myself as a football lover.

At that time, girls who love football were considered as an abnormal girl, simply because in Indonesia almost people had never seen a girl play football. In reality, Indonesia had a famous football player, Muthia Datau. She was a goalkeeper of Indonesian national female football in 1980s. At that time Indonesia also had a female football league called “Galanita” (Liga Sepakbola Wanita / Female Football League)’

My parents knew my affection towards football. They didn’t prohibit me from watching football match but prohibited me from playing football with boys. The problem was that i didn’t have female friends who liked playing football. Many times, without my parents knowing, I played football with boys.

The boys didn’t mind if I joined them to play. They never mocked me. My teachers and my friends in junior high school also knew that I love football. Sadly, most of them who mocked me by calling me “tomboy” are female (friends and teachers). They couldn’t understand why a girl love football. They thought that football is a game exclusively for men. I told them that in Sweden, it is common for women to play football. Even Sweden has its female national team. I kept thinking why women can’t do what men can do. It was a unanswerable question for years.

When I studied in Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia, there was a sport competition and  indoor football was one of them. I was so happy because I could play it with female friends. Few of them even played indoor football when they were in senior high school. I always played as a goalkeeper, because I realized that I couldn’t dribble well. Being a goalkeeper is not easy. You shouldn’t be afraid of falling and you should be tough. I always enjoy being a goalkeeper until now.

In 2004 I took an interesting elective course called : “Women and Law”. I always feel lucky to take that course because it changed my life forever. In the course, I learnt a new word : “gender stereotype”. Males are expected to demonstrate certain characteristics and behaviours that are “masculine”, while females are responsible for being “feminine”. Traditionally, females have been expected to wear dresses, cook, clean, raise children, maintain a beautiful body, and remain passive. Female considered as a “weaker sex”, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This expectation of femininity often results in women being marginalized from participating and competing in physical activities, including football.

Society expects women to be “ladylike”, not demonstrate characteristics that are defined as being masculine. However, when women “cross the line” and exhibit these so-called masculinity, their gender identity, sexual orientation and behavior are often questioned. I felt empowered by taking the course. Finally, my question was answered. Since the day I took the course, I was proclaimed myself as a feminist.

In 2007, I joined a community of football fan called Milanisti Indonesia. I met some girls who are interested in playing indoor football. After that, we formed an indoor football team. We have participated in many friendly and official matches. Winning or not is not the main purpose. The most important is that we, as women, can play football without being stereotyped. Because football is universal , and has no gender, ethnic, or race.

Milanisti Indonesia in Indo Manchester United's tournamen (2009)

Milanisti Indonesia in Indo Manchester United’s tournamen (2009)

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Milanisti Angels , in a friendly match in 2009

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Bolanet futsal tournament, in 2012

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With the coach. Bolanet futsal tournament 2012

Myself as a goalkeeper, defended Arsenal Fan club futsal team.

Myself as a goalkeeper, defended Arsenal Fan club futsal team.

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