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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Don't Await It.... Create It

These are privileged sketches from the Band Oracle, a sneak peek for all those curious as to what is in store. And if anyone is wondering will the costumes match the creativity displayed here, I have been reliably informed that at the launch actual costumes will be on display to show that this is not a "fantasy" of what the designers want the costume to look like. "Don't Await It.. Create It" is Oracle's mantra and from these designs they have certainly done just that!

doubt crosses us, tangles us, hides our true image from the world, however doubt is necessary to grow through the motions leading to finding answers, it is necessary and deadly

the knowledge of one's self leads to a glorious peace in ability, knowing yourself is one of the most fulfilling earth experiences

when we have made decisions that do not serve us and our higher values we end up burning,. searching for answers, spinning round and round to no avail

the spirit of adventure is the fuel that causes us to make those wild decisions that could ultimately lead to progress or error

the evil heart will cut all down in its path if it its own self belief is bad, no faith in one's own abilities causes us to rip down everyone else to make us feel better about ourselves,

Silent on the issue of Size

Please note that if your size does not appear in the drop-down menus below, this means that it is no longer in stock and you would either have to choose another size or register in another section

That is the notice that heads the online registration page at Island People Mas for all potential masqueraders signing up online. The whole issue of size restrictions hit the newspapers in an onslaught of discrimination cries against TRIBE in 2005 when two of their sections carried a size limit; Tale of Benguela and Nylon Pool frontline. For weeks newspaper articles berated the TRIBE band leaders and online communities hotly debated the whole issue of sizing out the thicker, black sisters who supposedly did not meet the colour requirement as if race and body type were one and the same. The issue came to a head when the bandleaders of TRIBE were forced to make a public statement about their size restrictions and now, in the aftermath of that controversy, one can register for a bra of any size with TRIBE. Yet little is being said against the new trend of “pre ordered”, “pre sized” costumes where if you do not fit into a certain category you do not stand a chance of getting into the section or band you desire, and it is the lack of a voice against this new form of discrimination that disturbs me.

Now, to be fair Island People Mas is not the only outfit indulging in this practice, new band Ronnie and Caro also has costumes that are sized XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL and not by bra and hip measurements given in “real sizes”, that is your actual bra size and inches. Since other bands have yet to launch as well I do not know how many others have subscribed to this type of inane sizing system. For the life of me I cannot see how a woman wearing a size 42B bra is the same size as someone wearing a 38DD and therein lies the first problem. Apparently these bras are made of some sort of advanced adaptable fabric that can turn an A cup into a DD cup because as we all know, well those of us who are female, there is no way that the cup sizes of a B and DD are the same. The back size just means how many inches the person is AROUND their back so 38 inches is surely smaller than 42! No wonder there were ladies with tops sliding down their chests on Carnival Tuesday this year, not being some of the “lucky ones” who were given shoulder pads to stuff their bra by staff at a certain mas camp hopefully avoiding the embarrassment of flashing all and sundry when the top slid down too far. Is it really too much to ask at the price we are paying for costumes to get a decent fitting bra? A proper bra sizing system that works by cup size is all that is needed; women should not have to be lumped into a size category for something so particularly individualized as a bra.

My second issue with this whole obscure size method has to do with the pre ordered bras and belts; really Island People’s largest size available this year is an XL. Since they offered no size chart to interpret what this sizing means I will go with what is on Ronnie and Caro’s website and inform all those wondering that a XL is tantamount to a 38A , 38B ,40A, 36C,36D, 34DD and 45-49 hip. While Ronnie and Caro offers costumes up to a size XXL and “other” am I to gather that XL is the largest that Island People desires in their band? In that case I can never get a costume if I wanted to since they do not cater to my bra size which falls into the XXL category according to the sizing chart, even though my belt is sized as a medium. And to add insult to injury not only can one NOT get anything larger than an XL the costumes are pre ordered meaning if there are only 10 XL sizes available when they are gone you need to move on to another costume selection even though the section of your choice is not sold out! Shouldn’t it be you sign up masqueraders as they register into the section they choose once there is room and not based on the fact that someone has already pre determined how many small, medium and larger chicks are welcomed into the section? The excuse bandied about is the costumes are pre ordered based on the previous years sizes, but if the larger ladies were left out the year before how then can they be accommodated the following year,it is like a chicken or the egg syndrome!!

So how come I am not reading about this in the newspaper, why are masqueraders not writing letters to the editors like they did when TRIBE had the D cup limit with Tale of Benguela? Why hasn’t this hit the news as it did when our Bajan sisters made their voices heard when the same thing happened with Baje International for this year’s Crop Over? Why aren’t the internet Carnival forums and chat rooms in an uproar about this? Is it because one band is okay to vilify while another we just let it slide? Maybe the majority of masqueraders fit the XS, S and M categories anyway so once it does not affect them they don’t care, or maybe I am just being overly sensitive since I know how difficult it is to be fitted with a proper bra for Carnival; I have seen how ladies with a bigger cup size are discriminated against, with some bands skimping on decorating a bigger bra to cut costs and others simply being made to feel they were an anomaly when staff members at the mas camp insult them to their face. Whatever the reasons for our silence and by that action acceptance of this type of treatment, I think it is pretty disgusting that when a costume costs as much as my custom made Heather Jones wedding dress that we as masqueraders are not even afforded a custom made bra, being lumped into a size category as if one size fits all.

Women with larger breasts are not a freak of nature nor does that mean they are all plus sized, (I mean look at all the ladies having plastic surgery to be a size D and DD) or not fitting some predetermined demographic of what a band aspires to present as their face of Carnival. If Victoria Secrets and Fredericks of Hollywood can cater to D cups and up and their bras are made in Thailand and Sri Lanka surely whichever Asian countries these allegedly imported costumes are coming from can do the same. As for the locally made costumes I know for a fact that the simple seamstress can make custom made bras and they do not need to be ordered way in advance either, which is the reason some bands are giving for pre ordered bra sizes. I know this because when I switched sections in TRIBE 2 weeks before Carnival this year they were able to order a bra for me at the very last minute and I do not wear a generic size B. I empathize with all the sisters who when registering have to choose that “size label” and pray that when they get their costume it fits, the ones who are being forced to choose other sections because their size “ran out” and even the sisters with the A cup who are drowning in a too big bra on Carnival day because their size M also caters to a D cup as well. The longer you stay silent on this issue is the longer it will continue, we as masqueraders have much more power than we are aware of and when we are being milked thousands of dollars for a costume it is definitely not too much to ask that every part of it fits and fits well! Let your voices be heard.

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