‘You can’t avoid sex and cigarettes’: how Indonesian Muslim mothers teach their children to read billboards

Hanny Savitri Hartono, Sharyn Graham Davies, Graeme Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Muslim mothers in Indonesia find many roadside billboards confronting, especially those advertising harmful products such as cigarettes or using sexualised images of women. This unease is exacerbated by the fact that during daily commutes neither they nor their children can avoid seeing these billboards. However, while billboards pose a challenge to Islamic sensibilities, some Muslim mothers use these billboards as sites to educate their children about piety, modesty and tolerance. Such reflexive engagement is informed by an ongoing dialectic between mothers’ interpretations of Islamic teachings and the realities of contemporary Indonesian media culture. This article explores this dialectic through interviews with Muslim mothers in Semarang, Indonesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-196
Number of pages18
JournalPacific Journalism Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Advertising
  • Billboards
  • Communication
  • Culture
  • Indonesia
  • Islam
  • Muslim mothers
  • Parenthood
  • Piety
  • Public space
  • Reflexive media engagement
  • Religion

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