The Carnival Debate – a mature approach

I like to think of myself as thirty-something. There is just such a ring to that. The energy of that thought alone gives me a rush. Anyhow, about the carnival.

I actually grew up getting my hands dirty with the carnival business. In my time in St. Lucia, we were not only wearing costumes, we were building costumes. We came from the age of people who kept both feet on the ground at the same time and we still managed to move to the steel pan music. And believe it or not, we came from the age of revellers who wore long dresses! Okay granted I saw the length move from the ankle to the knees and then to the mid-thighs, but still for the most part we were wearing substantial clothing.

So this year, as we get closer to another crackling carnival season, I was sharing this thought with a woman who herself is (well was) a carnival reveller. We have thrown out the idea to other women now enjoying their 70-something and 80-something years that they should form a band. The criteria should be g-strings; and bellies out; and of course the famous bra tops! Or perhaps these may be too limiting?

Needless to say we cracked up with laughter, and I can see you smile as well. But why is this funny. Aren’t their bodies still beautiful? Is this the only thing that carnival has become – a showing off of the body that is tanned; bronze; big breasted (as Caribbean women tend to be); with buxom cheeks…; in some instances cascading all around? This is certainly the representation that the television camera inevitably finds, follows and exposes during the 2-day parade.  

Imagine an older more mature woman who still loves the music and the fun. Imagine a group of them in a band, and imagine that they are bold enough (I almost want to say confident enough) to strip to their bare under garments and jump carnival 2012 in St. Lucia. I wonder what the police would do. Better yet, I wonder what the younger women would do; and the men! I wonder how they would react.

Sadly I fear this thought will not see the light of day; at least not for this year’s carnival spectacular! But perhaps if women in Trinidad did it, or in Rio! After all it is after these countries that we pattern our development in carnival! So there is something to look forward to yet!

And I have not even started on the music debate.


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