When I went with my boyfriend to renew his Saint Lucian passport in downtown Castries, we climbed five flights of stairs to get to the top. Taking the elevator would have still left us with one or two flights of stairs to get to the office where passports are issued. Public buildings in Saint Lucia still leave a lot to be desired when it comes to accessibility. If it isn’t ramps positioned at 75 degree angles, it’s a lack of elevators or proper accommodations for physically disabled people.
Carnival is not a feminist space simply because there is nothing that materially or theoretically differentiates carnival from what it is like living as a woman in the Caribbean on a daily basis. While carnival can be a positive space for some women on an individual basis, we cannot too liberally apply the label of “feminist” to any space where women feel happy.
Striking anti-buggery laws are not a big priority for West Indian politicians, despite the fact that these homophobic laws are relics of a hateful past. We are willing to hang onto harmful colonial ideology as long as it’s homophobic. Politicians do not even see it as a priority to protect LGBT citizens from violence.
CW: rape & abuse
Male victims of rape and/or abuse deserve more than being used as a “trump card” to invalidate women’s issues. Men who do not care about male victims of abuse love to point out that men are also abused as a tactic to divert attention away from discussing women’s issues. These people do not care about women. (I bet you already figured that out!) They feel annoyed that women have the gall to discuss their social issues and their entitlement to be at the center of attention at all times supersedes their empathy for male victims of abuse or rape.
Discussing race and class with regards to Caribbean feminism can be tricky. The mythology of our islands being a racial “melting pot” has led to many people wrongly believing that we have no issues of race and class or that these issues are irrelevant to feminism. The fact that there are many wealthy black people in the Caribbean has confused people.
Despite the fact that there are wealthy black people and despite the fact that there are many black women, issues of race and class are still of utmost importance to women’s issues. When thinking about race and class, we need to focus on systems of oppression, not our individual, anecdotal beliefs (many of which are informed by misinformation by international mainstream media).
Ironically on the day I’ve chosen to write this post, my iron levels feel low and I’m overall exhausted and experiencing chronic pain. But I’ve decided to try to push through and even if I keep this short and sweet, hopefully, I would have given you something to think about.
Empowerment is one of those subjects for feminists that sounds like a good idea in theory and of course since the entire focus is on feeling good/strong, it can be a compelling “focus” for feminists. Caribbean feminists, however, should be focused on anything but empowerment. Empowerment is a feeling, an idea, a notion. Empowerment is nothing concrete and tends not to have any real long-term measurable impact.
In the Caribbean, there’s a strong sense that feminism and LGBT liberation are two separate issues. However, I worry that this separation is less for practical reasons such as different needs from society and the community. I suspect a large portion of the separation between Caribbean feminists and the LGBT community is flat out homophobia.
Think I’m wrong?
Hear me out…
My new commitment to blogging daily has kicked off and today I wanted to start with Men’s Issues Mondays. “Well Eriche, that’s a weird way to start off a week of feminist blogging,” you might say. And I agree. I wish it weren’t this way, but I didn’t choose “Men” and “Monday” to both start with the letter “M”, so here we are.
As promised, I’ll be trying to stick to different themes on each day and I will try to keep up daily short posts as long as humanly possible. This should be a fun challenge!
So, here are my themes:
- Men’s Issues Monday
- LGBT Tuesday
- Women’s Wednesday
- Ableism & Feminism Thursday
- Race & Class Friday
These may not make a lot of sense to you, but they make sense to me and help me to categorize my thinking so that I can write something that’s clear, concise and interesting to you. So this has been a long preamble before the actual topic of this post which is…
This usually happens to me. After maintaining this blog diligently for months at a time, I inevitably slack off and forget to post on here. I’ve been working hard at my small business recently and I’ve also started a YouTube channel and picked up photography as a hobby. This keeps me busy. All. The. Time. In between juggling all of that, I somehow manage to maintain a near spotless house and spend tons of time reading or perusing home design on Pinterest.
In reading a book on home design, I came across tips for maintaining a blog that of course led me to think about my poor neglected blog over here. I’ve come to the conclusion that I may have limited my scope too much here and that it’s time for me to expand what subjects I write about. As with everything, consistency over time is of critical importance. But consistency on this blog isn’t all that’s important to me.