The women’s advocacy group National Organization for Women (NOW) has slammed as textbook “misogyny”, Minister of Education Ronald Jones’ criticism of “nakedness and exposure” on the road during Grand Kadooment.
Even though Jones had not singled out women, NOW First Vice President Mechell Marshall insisted the inference was clear, and the minister had no right to attempt to inhibit a woman’s choice to express her sexuality, especially during cultural events which permit it.
“This is misogyny raising its head again and there seems to be a rise of misogynist perspectives emerging for whatever reason. I am not sure if the minister is conscious of the gender bias in his statement. The National Organization of Women believes that women are guaranteed freedom of expression within the law. Once it is legal, a woman’s freedom of expression should be protected,” Marshall said.
Addressing Youth Explosions’ annual church service recently at the St David’s Anglican Church in Christ Church, Jones had said the level of nakedness was absolutely appalling, and he appealed to revellers to “lift the standard of respect”.
“I’m extremely appalled at some of the behaviour I’ve seen on the streets. Some of the nakedness and exposure at a time where there is supposed to be an expression of life, and revival of hope has become a very naked exposure on the streets,” he complained.
However, Marshall told Barbados TODAY the Minister of Education would better expend his energies by promoting national discourse on morality versus market demands among all of the industry players.
She also said Jones’ comments were poorly timed, and the morality debate would be more useful after the festive season.
“Crop Over does not lend [itself] to a moral conversation as its construct is based on revelry. With revelry being the context I can’t see morality running parallel. They are contrasting. There is no essence of morality within the Crop Over festivities. I think persons try to maintain themselves with a sense of dignity and respect and we do advocate this because we want a society that is civil.
“We want a society where women feel valued and they value themselves; but to be patriarchal in demanding that women conform to such, ruins empowerment. Women did not create the costumes at home because Crop Over is not a cottage industry, this is costume from mainstream costume suppliers, so any conversation should be all-encompassing,” she stressed.