Tara is a 20-year-old Indonesian-Chinese, second generation Australian who is studying at the University of Technology Sydney. She is a fashion influencer and a business student.
What’s your relationship with your mother like?
We’re close. I know it’s common for a lot of my Asian friends to have a relationship with their mothers/ parents where love isn’t/ often verbally spoken of. My mum says ‘i love you’ to me almost every other day, and has my whole life. She shows me she loves me in everything she does, and I love her back (which I don’t say enough back to her). Like most familial relationships, we do fight here and there, but as I’ve gotten older, we get along more than fight. I’m still her baby and I always will be — so it’s harder for her to see me grow up, have a boyfriend, travel to the other side of the world without her, and the like.
Can you tell us a bit about your style? Who/what is your biggest influence?
My style has definitely developed into the typical ‘instagram’ style, mixed with hints of vintage and an excessive amount of accessories where I’m quite certain my neck posture has been effected with the weight of my 2 chokers and 30 necklaces.
How is your style different or similar to your mom’s expectations?
My style is definitely different to my mum’s expectations in the sense that it’s more “riskay” & skimpy than she’d like. My mum would love me to wear more ‘conservative’ and stereotypically ‘female’ clothing — which I definitely do wear when appropriate for the occasion or when I feel like it. But more often than not I love my crop tops and oversized tees with baggy jeans.
How do these expectations fit in the larger context of her living/having lived in Indonesia?
I definitely think this stunts my ability to wear clothes that I would wear if my parents/ mum wasn’t so strict with how I dressed. In regards to my style identity, I’d be a lot more ‘scandalous’ in my dressing choices. I think a part of me is rebellious in the sense that I do wear clothes I know my parents won’t approve of. —— also, these expectations are a topic that’s very touchy between us as I feel like there’s a line between the objectification of my body, only caring about how others see me, and what I truly want to wear. 100% of the time, my mum needs to understand I wear what I wear because I want to and I like it!! (This was a super wishy washy answer oops)
Since you grew up in Australia, how has this experience affect the way you dress and/or present yourself?
I definitely think I show more skin than if I grew up in Indonesia for example. Showing skin in Australia means nothing. I also think I’ve been more exposed to different styles and certain social media scene/ people as a result of growing up here. I’m more outgoing in how I dress and I feel more comfortable in my style in Australia than when i’m in Indonesia.
Is there a perception of femininity that you hope could change in Indonesian society?
Honestly, I don’t know the Indonesian perception of femininity too well. But based on assumptions that I still see in pockets over there (obviously not translated throughout the whole society), I think I would change the idea that women are here for men, and that showing skin is bad. Covering our skin is empowering for many, showing skin is empowering for others.