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Considered as the resistant group, teenagers are identical with activities categorized by Webster (2010) in the discourse of pergaulan bebas (literally, free socializing). She said that pergaulan bebas can be defined as social interactions and behaviours deemed ‘outside of the norms of society’ or ‘free of rules’.

Pergaulan bebas is a negative used to express disapproval carried out by young people. Behaviours considered pergaulan bebas include premarital sex, alcohol and drug consumption, clubbing, consumption of pornography and cybersex, smoking, and gang fighting.

Pergaulan bebas is a term often used in President Soeharto, the New Order Regime (1966-1998). The discourse was believed caused by unfiltered foreign culture influence in globalization. Consist of  ‘pergaulan’ and ‘bebas’, negative stigma on this discourse was from the word ‘bebas’ (literally, free) which can be described as irresponsible behaviour.

However, as Webster elaborated, the different definition of normative socializing (not free) and non-normative socializing (free) are similarly subject to change. In this regard, the example of this changes were the change of social interaction after the New Order and the technology improvement, or the government policy change, nationally or globally.

The usage of the same phrase can be understood differently by certain groups, such as the term ‘free sex’ means sexual intercourse without safety (condoms) in gay community. It does not mean pre-marital sex or changing partners in sexual activities just like what has understood the dominating conservative group.

I have conducted a research on teenage films. I got the complete definition of the phrase ‘pergaulan bebas’. It refered to behaviours quoted previously from Webster categorization. This phrase was used to identify easily. Besides, it has been generally used before. Even though it was identical with concepts and moral panic issues in New Order era, the phrase, in fact, is still used and becomes general knowledge in public.

The usage of the phrase is still relevant as there are many films use it as their titles, such as Akibat Pergaulan Bebas (2010) and Akibat Pergaulan Bebas 2 (2011). In Nayato Fio Nuala’s films, this issue was present and identical with the young characters. Girls in Nayato’s film were the main focus of the stories. It can be seen from the plot and the posters of the films.

Interestingly, Webster has made a relevant statement about this. Pergaulan bebas by Webster, is often related to young women, especially if we relate this to Indonesian norms which put women in the taboo position with many restrictions. Furthermore, Webster (2010:342) also conveyed that in teenage films, hetero-normative expectation on feminity, virginity and marriage were attached to good image of women by conveying disastrous consequences faced if we violate the three concepts. (*)

Author: Dyestari Dyanutami

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