On Thursday 1 April 2021, the Dutch anthropologist and medical sociologist Anita Hardon will give an online talk on the use of sexual enhancement products by young Indonesian men and women, and its relationship to changing sexualities and gender relations. The talk is free, but we kindly ask you to register through this link or via the link in the attached invitation. Please note that the talk will be interpreted simultaneously from English to German.

The use of sexual enhancement products by young women and men in the eastern Indonesian city of Makassar reflects changing sexualities and gender relations. To examine the relationships between the use of these products and socially sanctioned gender roles, their ’gender scripts’ were studied – the assumptions embedded in the products’ design and advertising. What kinds of femininity and masculinity are expressed through their use? It was found that the most popular products – ’magic tissues’ that promise to prolong erections and a ’neotraditional’ vaginal wash that promises to cleanse, perfume, and tighten vaginas – espouse the dual purpose of promoting sexual pleasure and hygiene. While it was found that the images in advertising reflect changing gender relations in the field site, this research also points to enduring gender scripts in Indonesian culture: men should be virile, women should be clean and attractive.

Trained as a medical anthropologist and biologist, Anita Hardon has been engaged in ambitious multi-level, multi-sited and often interdisciplinary studies on immunization, new reproductive technologies, and AIDS
medicines that have generated important ethnographic insights on the appropriation of these technologies in diverse social-cultural settings, their efficacy in everyday life, the role of social movements in their design,
and the dynamics of care and policy-making in their provision.

The talk is part of a health humanities lecture series on non-Western approaches to health and illness, organized by the Leuven Centre for Health Humanities (LCH²). You are of course welcome to the other talks too.