Sexism And The Mayor

Did I hear you say that women’s sexuality could not only put them in danger of rape…but now murder?

Mayor Tim Kee’s statement is precisely sexist. Linking your response of the death of a woman, the protection of women and the safety of women in Carnival to perceptions about their behaviour and performance is sexist.

It is not a Freudian slip of the tongue.

It is an androcentric Freudian thesis statement.

 

By his standard, legislation should be simplified and clear:
Women, when men come to kill yuh, stop being vulgar! And you might be saved!

Mayor Tim Kee’s Office released an apology. It was not an apology. It was a distraction from the calls made against him to account for his sexist remarks. Furthermore, expressing a distinction between “Feminists and activists” who challenged him and “support from women” that gave him both calls of comfort and expressed agreement with his statement on women’s self responsibility is a politically artful but deceptive attempt to divide women on the issue.

This morning, my phone rang off the hook with media persons asking for a comment. Students on campus reached out to me to discuss what options are possible for them to raise the issue of violence against women. And I must say, my mind is always in two places about my involvement in these movements. The reason I get called so often is because of male privilege and I am sometimes seen as a “progressive man” speaking on gender…the thing is that…women have been saying the exact same things I say and doing much more than I have ever done to attack patriarchy. At the same time, I know that it is strategic for movement building; my appearance as a man, dreadlocks and tattoos, building solidarity and fighting for freedom with my sistrin and other women because the burden to end patriarchy is not theirs alone. Sexism is a men’s issue even if in the short term or by a glance it appears that the patriarchal dividends make men feel secure.

So Tim Kee not mad allyuh. Is sexism. In this case of sexism, it is about using gender stereotypes, confining women to a social prison of ‘good behaviour’, and shrugging off the role of the state in defending and protecting all citizens.

Mr. Mayor…what was vulgar this Carnival?

Cro Cro’s “Ah Feel For Gayle” with the chorus “Ignore Woman” at the Dimanche Gras Finals was vulgar. The song delivered blame on white racism instead of critiquing sexism articulated by black Caribbean men in public; it scorned women for the assertions of independence outside of narrow patriarchal definitions; and provided the most toxic and prejudiced homophobic attack on gay men.

“If a woman capsize and she ankle sprain
you cyah render assistance again.
Ignore Woman
Ignore Woman

I rub a macomere man because he foot sprain
he went back and sprain it again
Ignore Woman
Ignore Woman.”

What pains me is that the reality of violence against women is real. In a rape culture, victim blaming appears to be logical.

Was the nine-year-old schoolgirl who jumped out of a moving red-band maxi, in January, in an abduction situation, dressed “vulgar” in her standard three school uniform?

Mayor Tim Kee’s statements further made it clear that the State is neither prepared nor concerned with protecting women. It was not an “out of context” statement he made. What he communicated was not innocent. In carnival, yuh cyah play mas and fraid powder – he now has to account to a public that found what he said as unacceptable and sexist.

Nuff respect to those who have tried to build solidarity, provided openly critical statements, and engaged in small and public debates.

A representative of the State cannot dismiss the job to keep Port-of-Spain safe, women safe, and Trinidad and Tobago safe. It is inconceivable.

Maybe for all this time, we had the wrong Kee to the City.

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