The People’s National Movement (PNM) continues to receive backlash for the controversial sari skit portrayed at the party’s family day in Chaguanas last week Sunday.
The Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA) is the latest group to condemn the skit, which portrays the disrobing of a woman in a yellow sari.
CAFRA, in a statement, said the skit evokes violence and insensitivity.
It says the messages intended to feed into some of the worst aspects of Trinidadian life.
CAFRA added that the skit feeds directly into rape culture.
“The act of removing another’s clothes without consent is an act of violence. When men do this to women, it is usually in the context of a sexual assault. This kind of ‘skit’ therefore feeds directly into rape culture. The men’s conduct of violating a woman’s privacy and freedom of expression is also a feature of gender inequality where men express power and control through domination. And yes, the idea of the disrobing of an Indian woman feeds into harmful stereotypes of Indian women’s passivity and brings to mind the polarizing centrality of ethnicity in the political dynamics of this country,” CAFRA said.
The feminist group also slammed the response of Minister of National Security Minister Stuart Young who is reported as saying that the skit was a ‘bit of fun.’
“So CAFRA disputes that this is just ‘a bit of fun’. And if it is, we ask, at whose expense?
The country requires better from our political parties. We deserve thoughtful debate and dialogue. We deserve decency and intelligence from our politicians. And we deserve and demand men who reject harmful masculinity in the private and public domains,” it said.
CAFRA added that it was also disappointed by aspects of the skit carried in the newspapers and even more so by the expressions of support which it received from leaders of the country.
The group is calling on the PNM and all other political parties, to embark on internal education programmes with their supporters to deepen understanding and commitment to non-sexism and to a culture of diversity, respect, tolerance and non-violence.
CAFRA said it stands ready to support such initiatives as a non-partisan membership organization.