Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2015 Contents B6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt February 1, 2015
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There is empirical evidence that in T&T our
women are exploited, demeaned and abused daily,
yet it seems that little is being done to reduce this
situation or better still, eliminate it altogether.
Now that we are smack into the Carnival season,
when abuse and exploitation of women is at its high-
est, there is a compelling need to highlight the sit-
uation. One only has to look at the daily newspapers
and the television and recognise the insult, where
barely clothed women are put on display like ordinary
Sadly, the women themselves are eager to have
their photographs, mostly in scanty costumes, made
public. And all it does is provide some kind of carnal
pleasure to the public, particularly the male of the
Carnival, therefore, is the time of year in this coun-
try when women suffer the greatest indignities. In
the calypso art form women are constantly being
demeaned, when artistes place more than normal
emphasis on the female body and what can be done
Then there are the Carnival parties and fetes, now
almost all being all inclusive, where to be almost
naked is the criteria used by so many women when
they dress (or should that be undressed) to go out
to shows or these parties.
There is a theory which presents as fact that women
behave this way at Carnival because they want to
"free up"...get rid of the frustrations in the workplace,
or even at home which haunt them during the remain-
der of the year. That would be great if it was true,
but it really is an excuse to "play yuhself."
But more than that. What is the message women
send to the younger people, including their own chil-
dren? It is acceptable to parade on the streets on
Carnival days wearing only bikinis and sometimes
a bra with only beads and feathers for cover, prancing
and gyrating and so many times making sure that
the TV cameras pick up the contortions through
which they put their bodies.
And when Carnival is over they go back to their
regular dress, but the memories of their actions at
Carnival time remain, sometimes indelibly engraved
in the minds of the young and not so young, and
we wonder about the accompanying hypocrisy.
Up until a few years ago, these scenes were only
witnessed on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, but the
society has moved beyond that to the point that
today, even the fetes provide our womenfolk with
great opportunities to display their bodies, while
wearing the skimpiest of clothing.
Given all of this, can it not be said then that women
are just as culpable for demeaning themselves by
their choice of Carnival costumes and the accom-
panying behaviour. Are they not opening themselves
to abuse and disrespect? Are they not being exploited
by the bandleaders, whose ready answer is: That is
what the call for and that is what we give them, so
don t blame us.
So talk about exploitation and indignity, while
prevalent in many other areas in our society is not
a one-sided affair. We know it is being done by
employers, husbands and even family members, we
must also bear in mind that on many occasions
women are the architects of their own exploitation,
which ultimately leads to great indignity and loss of
When respectability falls victim to bikinis, beads
and feathers, the result is a disrespectful society and
to change it means a complete change in mind-set.
But the Black Stalin gave the advice many years ago
when he sang, "We can make it if we try."
Vernon Khelawan is media relations officer of
Catholic Media Services Limited (Camsel), the
official communications arm of the Archdiocese
of Port-of-Spain. Its offices are located at 31
Independence Square. Telephone: 623-7620
'Women just as culpable
for demeaning themselves'
It is acceptable to
parade on the
streets on Carnival
days wearing only
sometimes a bra
with only beads
and feathers for
cover, prancing and
gyrating and so
making sure that
the TV cameras
pick up the
through which they
put their bodies.
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