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Don’t knock mas women, join them

 Why this lambasting of women dancing in carefree abandon on the streets during Carnival? Is it any difference from what pertains with soca artistes on stage and with patrons in the crowds, at the fetes, and parodied in comedy tents? Is there a law against women wining as they let go for Carnival?

From someone coming from a non-Carnival, non-feteing family, since my return I understood on observing women’s abandon on the streets for those two short days that it was their way of shrugging off their worldly cares and responsibilities and other people’s rules to which they feel they have to adhere during those brief hours which is why I suspect that the much maligned bikinis, beads and feathers are so attractive to them.

On Carnival Monday and Tuesday, female masqueraders have not a care in the world except moving to the rhythm on the road.

They know very well what awaits them on Ash Wednesday, verbal, physical and psychological abuse, daily disrespect on the street and at work, the constant fight for respect as a female human being while shouldering their responsibilities at work and at home once more.

Critics, if you don’t like what you see when women let their hair down, look away but the cameramen were fascinated, weren’t they, and so were you!

So I ask you all, is sex vulgar? You’re damn right it is and it leaves you wanting more, doesn’t it and that, my friends, is why so many are so up in arms about some women’s wining/grinding display on the streets. Their sensuality and raunchy sexuality were on display and it made you feel very uncomfortable.

Our eminent UWI Prof Bridget Brereton (Express of 27 February 2014, page 12) shared Percy Fraser’s autobiographical memories of  his 1947 and 1948 Carnivals with us where he waxed nostalgic for those of his youth when there was “real mas” and not the current “ridiculous disguises” that pertained. 

He deplored the “objectionable behaviour of the working class”—he was talking about us black folks—“following the steelbands, singing and performing the most atrocious, vulgar and sensuous torsorial contortions”. Sound familiar? 

This white man believed “the practice of the young following these savage bands had to be stopped by the police and if necessary put a stop to the Carnival”.

So, in 2014, I ask you, who is imitating whom? Check yourselves, people!

Let the carefree abandon continue. It is the security valve many women need to release the pressure of their daily lives. They have made me determined to play mih mas come 2015.

 Catherine Hidalgo

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