Indonesian International Development Specialist Shaffira Hermana and Australian Journalist and academic Max Walden got married during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo supplied.

There are many things that drive migration to other countries, and one of them is romantic relationships and marriages. But Asian women who are developing relationships with men from Western countries, like Australia, be it through snail mails, online sites or other means, often have to face the stereotype of the ‘subservient woman’.

This stereotype has a history that still haunts us. In the case of Australia, the history goes way back to the First Fleet, but it also has a lot to do with the way multiculturalism is framed in this country.

In her new book, anthropologist Emeritus Professor Kathryn Robinson looks at intercultural marriages between Asian women and Australian men. The book, titled ‘Marriage Migration, Intercultural Families and Global Intimacies’, mostly looks at the lives of Filipina women who married Australian men, but the book is also about multiculturalism in Australia and the history of the damaging stereotype of the ‘subservient oriental woman’ that many Indonesian women, in Australia, Indonesia and around the world, still have to face.

In this episode, Tito Ambyo also chats with Kathryn about the importance of food and dancing for Filipina and Indonesian women who have migrated to Australia, digital ethnography best practices and some tips on how to do good research on Indonesia today.

In 2023, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Tito Ambyo from RMIT, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Elisabeth Kramer from the University of New South Wales, Tito Ambyo from RMIT and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.

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