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.
Yes, Caribbean women deserve to feel happy, positive about their bodies and to enjoy their lives. I would never debate this! However, Caribbean feminists need to recognize that feminism isn’t the accidental result of large groups of women gathered together. It is intentional activism that requires challenging the patriarchal system of oppression in the Caribbean daily. We cannot assume that feminism will manifest without work.
There are many angles to approach change in our culture since issues affecting women and feminists appear on every level. But it’s of utmost importance that we do something and avoid falling into the trap of neoliberal white feminism like what’s popular on social media. We need to be cautious and more importantly, we need to invest our time in constructive community building activities that can ensure a safer country for our women.