As Crop Over gets into full swing, a number of party events are scheduled for this upcoming climatic week and thousands of Barbadians will be on full display – both in their deportment and their attire. We urge everyone, while they may be focused on revelling and having a good time, to also show some self-respect in their choice of dress.
Though it may seem inconsequential, the way a people dresses says a lot about them and helps shape the cultural norms of society. Over the decades, there has been a marked change in culture in this island. The ‘appropriate dress’ decades ago compared to what some consider appropriate dress in this day and age has caused a clash in cultures between generations, leaving many – largely those who are in positions of authority – wondering if there is any way that both the young and old can come to an agreement on how to move forward with a public dress code.
Case in point, there has been an increase in young women and girls who go into the public sphere in short pants and ‘shirts’ that can pass for undergarments within the more conservative circles.
There is also the fad of wearing see-through clothing, especially tops, in inappropriate settings. This standard of dress seems to be filtering into the professional environment and many responsible and right-thinking individuals are becoming concerned about this trend.
With Crop Over heading towards its climax, we must exercise extreme caution because the dress code in public is starting to swing out of control. Numerous posts on social media of various fetes or cruises show people not adequately covered and looking lewd. And one can only hope that for Grand Kadooment there is no repeat of past instances where revellers used body paint to cover their personal areas. Indeed, the state of dress in public is rapidly deteriorating and too many adults are contributing to this downward trend. This behaviour is disturbing, particularly as children are able to observe the lapse dress and may emulate the culprits when they grow up.
As such, the effort by the local Roman Catholic Church to get people to respect their bodies as they celebrate is commendable. The campaign, dubbed ‘My Body, Celebration’, will comprise of different phases, including Public Service Announcements in the printed media, on the radio and television, to spread the message of celebrating with dignity and respect for themselves and others.
“We are calling on Barbadians and our guests and visitors to celebrate the body, to see the human body, to see their bodies as gifts from God, specific gifts from God that they are meant to enjoy and celebrate… Our goal is to get people to celebrate their bodies because whenever the Church refers to festivals like Crop Over and others as well, we are always worried and upset and quarrelling about the gyrations and the nakedness, and it’s almost as if we can’t appreciate the human body, we can’t celebrate the body,” Coordinator of the Roman Catholic Family and Youth Commission, Father Clement Paul said.
Anglican cleric, Reverend Dr. Marcus Lashley, who was speaking at the launch of the campaign, noted that, “The festival is about identity, we are celebrating who we are. As such, we are hoping that Barbadians look deep within themselves and realise that there is no need to go overboard with their dress, or behaviour, to make an impression. Celebrate the body while keeping it reasonably
covered. Simple steps like buying a costume in the correct size goes a long way.
In the final analysis, every one should be able to enjoy the festivities without feeling uncomfortable. Crop Over is, after all, for “all o we”.