Exploring Gender Roles in the Story of I La Galigo
( Murni Mahmud )
EXPLORING GENDER ROLES IN THE STORY OF I LA GALIGO
Fakultas Bahasa dan Sastra Universitas Negeri Makassar
Abstract This paper aims at exploring the gender roles in the story of I La Galigo. This story is an epic of the Bugis
society featuring the adventure and the lives of the rst humans occupying and living in the Earth. Based on the
analysis, gender roles can be seen in the story, such as the roles of Datu Palinge’ as the wife who can inuence the
decision making of the King, Sang Patoto’e. The reection of gender can also be seen in the expected behaviors
of Bugis men and women for masculinity and femininity. Men are expected to be warani (brave) and women are
expected to be malebbi’ (modest). These expected behaviors can be seen from women characters, We Nyili’ Timo
and We Datu Sengngeng, and from men characters, Batara Lattu’ and Sawerigading. Another gender issue can also
be seen in the pattern of patrilineal society and the tendency to marginalize women’s position.
Key words: Bugis society, I La Galigo, Gender roles.
MENGUPAS PERAN JENDER DALAM CERITA I LA GALIGO
Abstrak Makalah ini mengupas peran jender dalam cerita I La Galigo. Cerita ini adalah kisah sejarah masyarakat
Bugis tentang petualangan manusia pertama yang tinggal dan hidup di bumi. Hasil analisis menunjukkan adanya
peran jender dalam cerita ini, seperti peran Datu Palinge’, istri dari Sang Patoto’e yang dapat mempengaruhi
pengambilan keputusan. Reekesi jender juga terlihat pada sikap panutan yang diharapkan oleh masyarakat
Bugis terkait maskulin dan feminim. Laki-laki Bugis diharapkan menjadi seorang pemberani (warani) sedangkan
perempuan Bugis hendaknya menjadi perempuan yang angun atau dalam istilah Bugis malebbi’. Sikap ini dapat
dilihat pada tokoh perempuan We Nyili’ Timo dan We Datu Sengngeng, dan juga dari tokoh laki-laki, Batara Lattu’
and Sawerigading. Isu lain seputar jender dapat juga terlihat seperti pola patrilineal yang mengutamakan peran
laki-laki dan juga kecenderungan untuk memarginalkan posisi perempuan.
Kata-kata kunci: Masyarakat Bugis, La Galigi, Peran jender
Indonesia is a country which is rich with language
and culture. Bugis society is one of them, located
mainly in South Sulawesi. As the main ethnic group
in South Sulawesi, Bugis society is known to maintain
their own culture and tradition, although they adjust
to the increasing needs on modern Indonesian society
A crucial point regarding Bugis society is their
cultural concept of siri’ (shame). Matthes stated
that, siri’ is the feeling of being ‘ashamed, difdent,
shy, shame, sense of honour, and disgrace’ (cited
in Graham, 2001:2). Idrus (2003), for example, did
research on Bugis women integrating the roles of
gender, siri’, and sexuality. Another study (2008)
is by Mahmud, by looking at politeness concept of
Bugis people which is embodied by the concept of
siri’ na pesse (shame and compassion).
Other studies by Millar (1983, 1989), Acciaoli
(1989), Brawn (1993), Pelras (1996), Robinson and
Paeni (1998), and Alimi (2012) bring the ideas that
Bugis society has plenty of socially and culturally
distinct and unique facts that are worthy of discussion.
Several of these studies explored other important facts
in Bugis society such as social status and religion.
Bugis people are also rich in historical texts, usually
written in the font of lontara’. Studies on Bugis
texts had also been conducted by plenty of scholars
(Abidin & Macknight, 1974; Sirk, 1983; Tol, 1996;
Koolhorf, 1999; and Macknight, 2006).
One of these important historical texts is the story
of I La Galigo whose original manuscripts were kept
in Netherland. The manuscripts were rst collected
by Colliq Pujie Arung Pancana in the 19th century.
This story had been brought into the stages in other
countries in the world such as in Europe, America,
and Australia. Proving to be one of the important
masterpieces of the world, Memory of the World
(MOW) had been awarded by UNESCO in 2011
There have been a lot of books about the story of
I La Galigo. Rahman (2012), for example, wrote the
story from the beginning until the birth of I La Galigo.
The story started when Sang Patoto’e sent his oldest
son, Batara Guru, to start occupying and managing
the lives in the Earth. The story then continued until
the birth of I La Galigo, who was the great grandson
of Batara Guru. Another book still continues to depict
the adventure story after I La Galigo birth.
This paper focuses to explore this Bugis historical
text from gender perspectives. The analysis is based
on the novel story written by Rahman (2012). Several
important women characters such as Datu Palinge’,
We Nyili’ Timo, We Datu Sengngeng, and We Cuda’i
become the central of this discussion. I examine their
characters as women in Bugis society which brings
the ideas of gender roles. I employed the concept of
Bugis behaviour for men and women that have been
discussed in the literature of Bugis society, especially
the concept of siri’(shame) In addition, I observed
Murni Mahmud, graduated from IKIP Ujung Pandang in 1991, nished her
Master Degree at American Studies Graduate Program, Gadjah Mada Uni-
versity 1999, and did her Ph.D at Anthropology Department, the Australian
National University 2008. She is a lecturer at English Department of UNM,
majoring in Anthropolinguistics, Sociolinguistics, and Discourse Analysis.
Sosiohumaniora, Volume 16 No. 1 Maret 2014: 23 - 28
gender roles in the story based on the concept of
patrilineal society and other gender issues such as
marginalisation or discrimination that have been
encountered by women.
Gender in Bugis Society
In early time of the Bugis history, women are
said to possess high social status. Baso and Idrus
(2002:199) had noted that ‘some of the rst rulers,
who descended to earth and whose superior status
was acknowledged, were women’. Rottger-Rossler
also emphasized that the rst divine ruler of Bontoloe
was a woman, BombongKoasa. This woman came
out from a bamboo trunk and then become the king
of Makassar in Gowa (cited in Baso and Idrus,
According to Pelras (1996:160), Bugis women
enjoy their ‘distinct but complementary roles’.
Therefore, women’s participation in public space can
be seen in Bugis society, as noted by Brooke:
All the ofces of state, including even that of
arumatoa, are open to women; and they actually ll
the important posts of government; four out of the
six great chiefs of Wajo being at present females.
These ladies appear in public like the men; ride, rule,
and visit even foreigners, without the knowledge or
consent of their husbands (Cited in Pelras 1996:164).
However, Bugis people have different expectations
for Bugis men and women. Pelras (1996:163) states
that, for Bugis, ‘whoever, although a man, has female
qualities, is a woman; and although a woman, has
male qualities, is a man’. This shows that Bugis men
and women have already got different qualities as
either a man or a woman.
Due to the above qualities as men and women,
Bugis people have already acquired specic roles for
each of them, based on their existence as men and
women. Specic tasks are given to women and some
others are specic for men. This is in reference to the
Bugis saying noted by Millar (1983:163) that ‘the
woman’s domain is around the house while the man’s
domain reaches ‘the borders of the sky’. Therefore,
women’s roles are around the house, whereas for
men, their roles may spread outside of the house.
Jayadi (2002:1-2) notes that Bugis women are
expected to be (1) mancaji makkunrai ‘to be a
woman’, (2)mancaji missing dapureng ‘to know the
area of the kitchen’, (3) mancajii mattaro‘to be a
money keeper’, (4) mancaji baliperi’ ‘to accompany
in all conditions’, and (5) makkunrai sirupa‘to be
only as a woman’ (Cited in Mahmud, 2008). This
shows that the main area for Bugis women are mostly
in domestic roles such as cooking and arranging
money spent for the household.
Mattulada also discusses Bugis women’s roles
based on pangngaderreng ‘a customary law’ from
Latoa, another kind of Bugis text. It was stated
that men and women may both be involved in
deliberations, but women’s opinions can only be used
as a complement and not to make a nal decision
because women are considered to have ‘physical’ as
well as ‘psychological’ weaknesses (1995:440). This
means that women’s opinion is just secondary and just
be taken as suggestion only to the main decision.
Different expectations for Bugis men and women
are also in terms of behaviour. The concept of being
malebbi’ ‘modesty’ is encapsulated in Bugis men and
women’s behaviour. Idrus (2003:58) notes that being
modest for women can be from their ‘non-aggressive
behaviour’ or ‘female-hiddenness’, whereas for men,
being malebbi’ can be by being warani ‘brave’ or
by showing ‘male openness’. Men should be warani
‘brave’, maringngerang ‘conscientious or alert’, and
marisaliweng ‘visible’ indicating a ‘male-openness’
which is the opposite of ‘female hiddenness’ (Idrus,
Idrus (2003:55) further mentions that there are
some notions underlying the modesty of Bugis
women. Bugis women are like a kaca ‘mirror’,
pennépinceng ‘porcelain plate’, or tello’ ‘egg’. These
notions indicate that women need to be carefully
protected since mirrors, porcelain, and eggs are easily
broken and once broken, they become worthless and
Furthermore, female Bugis are often considered
to be maperreng ‘hidden’, indicating that they
should be able to control themselves. This means
that Bugis women should not show aggressiveness.
Idrus (2005:45) states that ‘women have to restrain
themselves from expressing desire, while men’s
desire should be demonstrated’.
Millar also notes that Bugis men need to behave
‘aggressively and formally’. On the other hand, Bugis
women are required to act ‘cautiously and informally’
(1983:489). This means that aggressiveness and
formality are men’s characteristics whereas women
are identical with cautiousness and informality. Idrus
(2005:46) further conrmed that
The aggressiveness and the formality of a man’s
behavior are associated with his performance and
social location. By contrast, a woman’s passive
behavior is associated with her honor. To complement
the behavior expected of men, women are supposed
to be obedient and timid, not only to show her honor
(alebbireng), but also to prevent transgression of siri’.
Therefore, it can be seen that the Bugis norm siri’
‘shame’ is one aspect concerning the gender roles in
Bugis society. In order to be malebbi’, women should
be masiri’ and try not to be masiri’, not only for the
women themselves but also for other people.
Because of siri’, women are expected to have
good attitude. Women should be malebbi’, not
aggressive, as they are the honour for their family.
‘A Bugis woman is placed in a ‘position of honour,’
as a jewel (intang paramata) of the family’ (Idrus,
2005). Mahmud (2008) also conrms that the person
who possesses siri’ will follow the principal taro ada,
taro gau’ ‘similar words and similar actions’. This
principle means what is said should be suitable to
what is done. It is not laing ada, laing gau’ ‘different
words, different actions’.
Exploring Gender Roles in the Story of I La Galigo
( Murni Mahmud )
Exploring gender roles in the story of I La Galigo
This section is deeply examining the roles of
gender in the story of I La Galigo. The main focus is
on several women characters. Throughout the story,
women are put in different positions which may
reveal their gender roles.
Gender Roles in Decision Making
I start with Datu Palinge’, who was the wife of
Sang Patoto’e. It is explained in the story that Datu
Palinge’and Sang Patoto’eare the First Rulers who
lived in the Kingdom located in the sky known as
Istana Boting Langi’. They were the rulers of the life
in the sky, together with another Kingdom known
as Istana Peretiwi, located in the sea. Sang Patoto’e
always asked his wife’s opinion when he wanted to
take decision. In fact, he sometimes followed his
It is explained in the story that there was the Earth
which was still empty with no people in it. Sang Patoto’e
then initiated to send one of his sons to occupy the Earth.
Sang Patoto’e then discussed with all of the followers in
the Kingdom. Then he came to his decision to choose
his older son to become the ruler of the rst Kingdom
in the earth, known as Istana Ale Luwu’, which was
then known as Batara Guru. However, he waited for his
wife’s suggestion about that.
Sang Patoto’e hidup tenteram dan bahagia.Dia
bertindak sebagai penguasa tunggal.Tetapi, bila ingin
memutuskan sesuatu, dia selalu berdiskusidengan
sang istri. Dalam ha ltertentu, Sang Patoto’e sering
mengikuti saran istrinya (Rahman, 2012:13).
(Sang Patoto’e lived prosperously and happily. He
became the single ruler. However, when he wanted to
make a decision, he always discussed with his wife.
In a certain matter, Sang Patoto’e sometimes agreed
with her wife’s suggestion).
The same case happened when he wanted to take a
decision to set other two kingdoms in the earth beside
the Kingdom of Ale’ Luwu as the oldest Kingdom.
In order to maintain the strength of humans in the
Earth, he needed to set other kingdoms in other parts
in the Earth, namely, Kingdom of Toppo Tikka’ and
Sang Patoto’e duduk merenung di kursi
kebesarannya di Istana Sao Kutta Parappa’e
sembari menunggu kedatangan permaisuri. Ia ingin
meminta pendapat permaisuri tentang rencananya
menurunkan istana ke Bumi (Rahman, 2012:111).
(Sang Patoto’e was sitting in his chair at Sao
Kutta Parappa’e while he was waiting for his Queen.
He wanted to ask the Queen’s opinion about his plan
to set other kingdoms in the Earth)
This shows that the wife in Bugis history had
acquired good roles in determining the decisions.
Throughout the story, Datu Palinge’ always was
given a chance to show her opinion in every matters
occurred. Sang Patoto’e always discussed with her
wife and waited for his wife to ask for her opinion.
This shows that in early time in Bugis history, women
had been given good chance to have their opinions.
Gender Roles in Expected Behaviors
Another reection of gender roles in the story of
I La Galigo is the expected behavior of women. This
can be seen in the two women characters, namely
We Nyili’ Timo and We Datu Sengngeng.These two
women represented the expected behavior of women
in Bugis society that is by being malebbi’ (modest),
by acting rmly and not aggressively.
We Nyili’ Timo, the wife of Batara Guru, the rst
King in the Earth, sent by Datu Patoto’e, resembles
the expectation of Bugis women in society. In the
rst time, Batara Guru and We Nyili’ Timo met each
other, We Nyili’ Timo did not show her love, although
Batara Guru had tried to attract her attention:
Batara Guru sangat terpukau melihat WeNyili’
Timo yang sangat cantik jelita. Ia menyapanya,
tetapi We Nyili’ Timo hanya menunduk dalam diam…
Batara Guru lalu mengajak We Nyili’ Timo menuju
Istana Ale Luwu’. Tetapi, We Nyili’ Timo hanya diam
membisu…We Nyili’ Timo tetap menunduk di atas
usungannya di bibir pantai. Ia tak mau menentang
mata Batara Guru (Rahman, 2012:82)
Batara Guru was very impressed with We Nyili’
Timo who was very beautiful. He tried to talk, but
she did not raise her head, just look up down and
kept silent. Batara Guru then asked her to go to the
palace, but We Nyili’ Timo just kept silent. She just
looked up down and never wanted to have eye contact
with Batara Guru.
This shows that We Nyili’ Timo had tried to
maintain her feeling and love showing that she was
malebbi’ (modest). As expected by Bugis society,
women should be malebbi’ by not showing her
aggressiveness. By looking up down and not keeping
eye contact, women in Bugis had shown her modesty
or her being malebbi’, not aggressive, although deep
in their hearth, they feel the love.
We Datu Sengngeng, another character in the
story also reected the women roles in Bugis society.
We Datu Sengngeng, in the story was the princess
in another Kingdom known as Toppo’ Tikka. As
stated in the story, after Batara Guru, the older son
of Sang Patoto’e settled the life in the Kingdom of
Ale Luwu’, Sang Patoto’e then decided to send two
other Kingdoms to the Earth to accompany the old
Kingdom, Ale Luwu’. These two manurung‘sent from
the sky’ Kingdom were Toppo’Tikka and Wewang
Riu’. Each of them had the King. Toppo’ Tikka had
two beautiful daughters, in which one of them would
become the wife of Batara Lattu’, who was the son of
Batara Guru and We Nyili’ Timo.
In the story, it was explained how was the meeting
of Batara Lattu’ and We Datu Sengngeng. Both of
them had fallen in love each other. Batara Lattu’
could not wait to meet We Datu Sengngeng, who was
very beautiful with her very long hair, twice of her
height. We Datu Sengngeng had also felt the love
since Batara Lattu’ had come to her dream. Despite
her love to Batara Lattu’, We Datu Sengngeng chose
not to show his love in front of Batara Guru. She
Sosiohumaniora, Volume 16 No. 1 Maret 2014: 23 - 28
always tried not to express her feeling to Batara
Batara Lattu’ menyerahkan daun sirih khusus
kepada We Datu Sengngeng. Dengan malu-
malu, We Datu Sengngeng mengambil daun sirih
tersebut.Tetapi daun sirih hanya diremasnya tanpa
dimasukkan kemulut. Ia tampak malu-malu dan
canggung (Rahman, 2012:192).
Batara Lattu’offered betel leaves to We Datu
Sengngeng. Looking ashamed, We Datu Sengngeng
took those leaves. But, she didn’t eat. She was still
ashamed and reluctant.
When Batara Lattu’ gave daun sirih (betel leaves)
which was the symbol of love, to We Datu Sengngeng,
We Datu Sengngeng just took and kept in her hand
while looking up down and never trying to look at
Batara Lattu’. Deep in her hearth, she also liked
Batara Lattu’ since Batara Lattu’ came in her dream.
This is because as a woman, it is not acceptable for
her to expose her love.
When they already got married to each other,
BataraLattu’ as the man had to persuade or itter his
wife in order that We DatuSengngeng was sure of his
Di atas ranjang, We Datu Sengngeng masih
terdiam dan membelakangi suaminya…BataraLattu’
terus membujuk dan merayu istrinya dengan kata-
kata sayang, lembut, dan romantis. Setelah tujuh
kali terus merayu dan membujuk istrinya, We Datu
Sengngeng pun berbalik kearah suaminya sambil
meneteskan air mata…(Rahman, 2012:206)
In the bed, We Datu Sengngeng was still
quiet and sat back from her husband. Batara Lattu’
continued to persuade his wife with romantic words.
After seven times, We Datu Sengngeng faced him with
This shows that women in Bugis society need
to be modest or malebbi’, by not showing her
aggressiveness. We Datu Sengngeng represented
that expected attitudes. This can be seen in We
Datu Sengngeng, in which she just tried to look
on the oor whenever Batara Lattu’ was talking
to her in their early marriage. Women should not
be aggressive. Women should be modest. Although
We Datu Sengngeng had fallen in love, she would
rather not show to her husband directly. Her
silence and tears became the symbol of her love.
She demonstrated the expected behavior of Bugis
women to be ‘hidden’ or maperreng, instead of
being ‘open’ or marisaliwing.
When We Datu Sengngeng had to separate with
her sister, when Batara Lattu was going back to
Ale Luwu’ with her wife, We Datu Sengngeng, We
Adiluwu’, her twin sister, gave advice to her sister:
Sebagai seorang istri, engkau harus patuh dan
taat pada suamimu selama itu tidak melanggar
perintah Sang Patoto’e…Engkau harus menjad
ipermata yang indah buat kesenangan suamimu.
Jangan pernah bersikap sesuatu yang bias membua
jengkel atau marah suamimu.Jagalah siri’ sebagai
As a wife, you must obey your husband as long
as it does not obey the rules from Sang Patoto’e. You
must become a beautiful jewelry for your husband.
Never do something than can make your husband
angry or annoyed. Keep your siri’ as a woman.
This shows the symbol of women in Bugis society
as a diamond or jewel. In Bugis, a good woman is
symbolized as paramata mattappa’ ‘sparkling jewels’
(Mahmud, 2008).Therefore, a woman should behave
that can preserve their honor. As Idrus (2005) states
that a woman is like a jewel ‘intang paramata’,
which is the symbol of siri’ of the family. We Datu
Sengngeng in the above story, was expected to have
good attitudes as a woman and as a wife in order to
preserve her siri’‘shame or honor’ in the family.
Another case can be seen in another woman
character, I We Cudai’. This woman was the wife
of Sawerigading, the son of Batara Lattu’ and
WeDatuSengngeng. I We Cudai’ was the princess in
China and chosen to be the wife of Sawerigading
after Sawerigading, could not marry his twin sister,
We Tenriabeng. After encountering many challenges
through the sea voyages and battles, Sawerigading
could marry I We Cudai’.
In the rst time, I We Cudai’ was not accepting
the marriage proposal of Sawerigading because she
was told that Sawerigading was very ugly man and
she felt that she did not deserve it. Because of her
refusal to her husband, Sawerigading then married to
I We Cimpau’, but then he left again because I We
Cimpau’ was just a non-noble woman. Although
later Sawerigading and I We Cudai’ loved each
other and had a son, I We Cudai’ still did not want
to admit Sawerigading as her husband because she
was ashamed of her expression that she did not
like Sawerigading. As a woman, she did not want
to reject her words. If she then said that she loved
Sawerigading, I We Cudai’ said, “seluruh rakyat Ale
Cina akan menertawakan. Aku benar-benarmalu.’
(All people in China will laugh at me. I will be very
I We Cudai’ had shown her feeling of being
consistent with what she said. According to Bugis
culture, one should be consistent with the possession
of siri’ (self-esteem).One who has siri’ will follow
the principal taro ada, taro gau’ ‘similar words
and similar actions’ (Mahmud 2008). This principle
means that the ways of talking should correspond to
the ways of behaving. It is not laing ada, laing gau’
‘different words, different actions (Ibid). Even when
she was given a birth to a baby boy, who was named I
La Galigo, she did not want to accept it. This indicates
that the Bugis should have the principle of siri’ and
has to maintain that siri’ in their words and attitudes.
The man in this case should show his brevity and
gentility. As stated by Idrus (2003), a man in Bugis
should be warani ‘brave’. This character can be seen
in several men characters in the story of I La Galigo.
One of the examples is Batara Lattu’. In his journey
to nd his predestined marriage, We Datu Sengngeng,
he had to do the sea voyages for months by using the
Exploring Gender Roles in the Story of I La Galigo
( Murni Mahmud )
ship known as Tanete Manurung. In his adventure to
win the love of We Datu Sengngeng, he had to try
many ways and never gave up.Sawerigading, in his
adventure to meet I We Cudai’, who rejected the
proposal marriage of Sawerigading, indeed faced
many challenges. Sawerigading did not give up and
managed to marry I We Cudai. Sawerigading had
promised that he would never went back to Ale Luwu’
Kingdom, if he failed in his journey.
Both of them, Batara Lattu’ and Sawerigading
had demonstrated the brave and gentle role of Bugis
men to be maperreng, brave, and visible showing the
male openness (Idrus, 2008), the expected character
for Bugis men. In terms of being masculine, both of
them demonstrated that they were brave in showing
their love and desire. Batara Lattu’ won the love of We
Datu Sengngeng and showed that it was the man that
should be aggressive, rmly, and gentle. Sawerigading
won the love of I We Cudai’, together with the so-
many refusals and requirements. Sawerigading had
been brave and gentle and therefore, he resembles
the man expectation for Bugis by being brave, gentle,
and therefore, masculine.
Gender Roles, Social Status, and Patrilineal
Another reection of gender roles in this story is
the patrilineal culture, emphasizing the roles of the
men. We Nyili’ Timo was the wife of Batara Guru,
soon Batara Guru settled in the Kingdom of Ale
Luwu’. She was also being sent from Sang Patoto’e
and chosen as the Queen. Batara Guru as the King
had already got ve wife known as selir (other
wives). However, it was not complete for Batara
Guru if there were no queen, then We Nyili’ Timo was
then sent to be the Queen by Sang Patoto’e and Datu
Palinge’. Batara Guru was in love with We Nyili’Timo
and decided not to have selir. However, We Nyili’
Timo said that there was no Queen if no selir. The
ve wives of the King actually function to serve all of
the need of the King and the Queen. In practice, selir
(other wives) not only served the King as wives but
also served the Queen (permaisuri).
Therefore, it can be seen that early time in Bugis
history, the man had been allowed to have more than
one wife. That is the man who possesses the main
roles. The acceptable genealogies are from the line
of the King.
In the story, We Datu Sengngeng was given a birth
to twins (men and woman) named Sawerigading and
WeTenriAbeng. However, they should be separated as
they might have been fallen in love together. In the
decision to separate them, Sawerigading was decided
to stay in the Kingdom because he was the man who
then would become the next King in the Kingdom.
It was We Tenriabeng, the daughter, that was sent
to another place. Sawerigading in fact was going to
marry We Tenriabeng after they met each other.
This shows that women have lower bargaining
power than women. Because that is the man,
according to patrilineal society, who will become the
leader, women may be marginalized because of her
inferior position. The man that was Sawerigading,
who was chosen to stay in the Kingdom, because that
was the man who became the leader. The woman, his
sister, We Tenriabeng was chosen to be expelled from
the Kingdom as she was not expected to be the King.
Another thing that can be examined from this case
is about the roles of social status in relation gender
roles. In the story of Batara Guru and We Nyili’
Timo, it can be seen that the Queen should be from
the same level as the King. Other wives known as
selir functioned to serve the King and the Queen.
Throughout the story, Batara Guru was illustrated to
be worried of not having a son born from the Queen,
as that would become the next King in the Kingdom
of Ale Luwu’. Other sons from other wives were not
expected to become the King.
This shows that women and their position or social
status will inuence the treatment in the family and
household. The Queen will be given high priority due
to her status. The Queen should also be the same level
as the King. Other wives or selir are then becoming
the second priority.
The same case can also be seen in the adventure of
Sawerigading and I We Cudai’. Because of her refusal
to her husband, Sawerigading then married to I We
Cimpau’, but then he left again because I We Cimpau’
was just a non-noble woman. The noble wife will be
the primary option in the marriage.
This shows that besides the aspect of gender,
status attained by the women themselves will also
inuential in Bugis society. The high treatments for
women are also inuenced by the status they have.
This is in relation to Moreau’s statement that ‘each
class speaks itself’ (1984:59). This discussion also
emphasized the important roles of social status
in Bugis society that had also become the focus of
discussion in the literature of Bugis society. Mahmud
(2008:117) in the study of politeness in Bugis society,
notes that ‘the social status of a person requires a
particular treatment in a particular situation’.
From the discussion above, it can be seen that gender
roles are reected in the story of I La Galigo. As a part of
Bugis culture, especially Bugis history, the story of I La
Galigo has served as the source of moral and attitudes for
Gender roles reected in Bugis men and women characters
are the symbol for Bugis history. This shows that in
early time in Bugis history, Bugis men and women have
embodied gender expectations. It is explained that the
Bugis concept of siri’ becomes the compass for Bugis men
and women in behaving. Women in Bugis are required to
be malebbi’ and men are encouraged to be warani.
Other gender roles have been practiced by several
women characters. In making decision, for example,
women have been given a chance to participate. Although
the roles are complementary, the chance given to women
is the indicators that women are given high respect in
Sosiohumaniora, Volume 16 No. 1 Maret 2014: 23 - 28
Other gender issues are also experienced in the
story such as the important roles of man in patrilineal
society, which is also experienced by Bugis people.
The man becomes the rst important point in
the family and household. In addition, women
experienced marginalization due to her inferior
position in the family and household.
Apart from the gender ideology, status for women
is an important factor in acting the roles as women.
High status women are given the rst priority. This
status may affect the notions on women’s roles in
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