Oh gosh! Where do we start with this one! As bands are preparing and launching for the 2020 carnival season, we see the same issues arising. Now this is a topic we feel we shouldn’t have to speak on, however we are seeing the same thing year in year out…so let’s get into it.
This is just one instance, but we know this happens all the time. It’s disappointing to say the least. Not only are you forgotten at band launch, but it seems you’re not invited to be a part of the band at all. We rarely see women with darker skin tones or curvier body types represented and catered for at band launches or even for costumes in general. However, when you hit the road for carnival we see women of all colours, sizes, shapes and age enjoying and playing mas. So how is it that there is such a misrepresentation at the band launch stage?
Now let’s move to after carnival, Instagram now has a huge part to play in the depiction of carnival. So, it’s a shame that we see the exact same misrepresentation. Of course, we see pictures of beautiful women and we don’t wish to knock these women, however it’s clear to see that these women all have something in common. They’re around the same age, have the same hourglass figure and skin tones remain in the same sort of range. So, as someone new to carnival wanting to get involved and from band launch to after carnival you saw the same type of image, which you didn’t feel you fit into, wouldn’t that make you weary of getting involved? But of course, those who are seasoned masqueraders know that this is a huge misrepresentation of carnival.
Okay, so we spoke about the issues women face when it comes to carnival and costumes but what about the men. To be honest many bands don’t have costume sections for men at all! Instead men are forced to just simply buy a T-shirt package (maybe T-shirt and shorts if they’re lucky) at extortionate prices. How is this fair? So men shouldn’t play mas? Bands that do have male sections seem to lack the same creativity and energy put into female sections. Men are treated like a side of accessory, just an afterthought but yet there’re plenty of males who enjoy and would like to play mas. So why are they not catered for?
We have fought and continue to fight to be included in so many aspects of life. We are fighting for Soca to be recognised as a genre. We are quick to voice our disgust when make-up brands don’t cater for a diverse range of skin tones. We are outraged when the media or clothing brands don’t include us in their marketing. But yet when it comes to carnival, our culture, something we are so passionate about, something many of the islands are becoming known for, we don’t exercise the same inclusivity we fight for elsewhere. Make this make sense.