Social Commentary

The Upcoming Revolution most people didn’t expect: The Tambourine Army

 

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There is a revolution brewing in the most unsuspecting of places, the hearts and minds of our women. I have been observing these past few weeks, especially on social media, a renewed sense of urgency to stop violence against women and children. The co-founders of this movement, notable advocates Ms. Nadeen Spence and Ms. Latoya Nugent, have managed to galvanize support from women young and old across the Jamaican society.

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To provide some context about this movement, it all started when one of the co-founders, Ms. Latoya Nugent, who goes by the alias Stella Gibson was featured in the media in January 2017 for using a Tambourine to assault, then president of the Moravian Church, Paul Gardner, who was also subsequently charged with carnal abuse. It was this incident that spawned the idea to start an activist group to tackle gender-based violence which came to be known as the Tambourine Army.

Since these women launched their challenge against the system, I’ve observed strong support as well as strong opposition from both men AND women on the issue. Most people, especially the women, seem to be fully behind the cause and have taken to social media to break their silence and speak up! The opposing minority however seems to be indifferent towards the methodologies used and have even gone as far as to question the motives of some behind this movement. They seem to be of the view that the force and aggression will do little for the movement and are suggesting a more balanced, inclusive approach to get a larger buy in from other stakeholders of society.

While in theory that approach should work, in actuality that hasn’t been the case and I commend the women of the Tambourine Army for finally accepting this and choosing to be BOLD FOR CHANGE. There are many issues like gender-based violence affecting us as a nation that we spend most of our time writing letters to the editor about, talking on the radio/TV about or posting on social media and then get frustrated when these methods produce little to no results. Maybe this approach was wrong, but that is something we will have to wait and see as time passes. However, we must acknowledge the courage of these women for trying and fighting; a lesson we all could take away and apply to our personal fights.

I would never pretend to understand or even relate to the pain these women must be feeling; especially the survivors. The overwhelming anxiety for change and the strength to bear that pain and keep it subdued, while the system considers their plight. At some point enough will be enough, and it is not our place to judge them for taking this position now if they feel, the time is NOW.

To my brothers reading this I want you to imagine for a second, you were born into a world where society counted you as inferior before you were old enough to understand what it meant. And imagine a superior group of counterparts whom are knowledgeable of the perceived limitations placed upon you and take advantage of you in the worst of ways to further their agendas of greed, power and pleasure. I’m not certain if that fully captures it, but I’d imagine that’s how our women have felt all these centuries. Centuries of psychological, physical and emotional abuse that constantly gets overlooked because the people beyond this social glass ceiling are all men; looking amusingly at the woman’s effort to try and break it.

This nuh feel right and I would hate for the situation to get bloody before oonu Jamaican people realize this! This issue affects me personally, because I have witnessed for myself the emotional, physical and psychological abuse of the women I grew up with by men who were suppose to be my father figures. Not knowing what to do as a young boy I silently shared their pain, cried with them and prayed with them for better days until I was old enough to know better and to do better! I have been blessed with two beautiful little sisters that I’m worried about honestly. I’m worried they will be forced to pay a gruesome price for their beauty, and have to stifle their potential to fit into a society that fails to see the value in allowing them to just be. This isn’t just a fight for our women and children, but a fight for Jamaica’s sake. We all have a part to play, because we all are affected by this issue; in one way or another.

If the women behind this Tambourine Army believe they have exhausted all avenues of “proper” ways to advocate that they taught us in their schools, then I say do what you must to maintain the fight. If you must shout, then shout; if you must march, then march; if you are attacked with force, fight back with force; but please don’t give up the fight. Your courage and nationalism is not unnoticed and my children and the children of ALL MEN will thank you dearly for your service to Jamaica. History will absolve you.

 

-G.B

 

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Lifestyle

Who dives first (if at all)? He or She

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Is oral sex still a taboo in Jamaica? is it slowly becoming a norm? or is it a normative practice already but still facing resistance from a few stubborn traditionalists? Well, to me in any society, culture is the driver of norms and value systems and I think it’s safe to say our culture has accepted oral sex as a part of conventional intercourse, but to an extent. Unfortunately for our trying culture, this acceptance is embraced on the heels of a double standard hell-bent on standing firm, “’cause badman nu bow”. So maybe it’s the men, some of them at least, whom are holding back culture from fully leveling the playing field. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe the women, some of them at least, have something to do with this as well? I think some of the women actually encourage this double standard and here’s why I say it.

When Dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, whom I would credit for being the instigator of this cultural revolution, came out with the hit single “freaky gyal”, at first it was met with mixed reviews. Of course the men praised him for coming out so bold and machismo with it, but most women were either quiet about their opinions or vaguely rejected the song.  After a time now, when the song started to climb the radio waves and dominate the radios of every taxi and coaster bus, women sneakingly started to change their minds; this started with quiet nods of their heads to the song when it was being played in the party, taxi, bus, anywhere; to now where women gyrating with conviction to this anthem of  sexual liberation.

The way the woman is portrayed in these song lyrics, seems to be very empowering to some (though submissive) and I beg to argue that the female community have actually come to appreciate this (subconsciously). But, let’s bring the discussion back to where it was intended to go, which is to have some discourse on the aforementioned title: who dives first? Maybe next time we can explore this double standard more in length.

For all my intelligent readers out there, by “dive” in the title of this piece I am inferring oral sex; and based on the social context I have just set, I am also assuming both parties are comfortable, capable and willing to perform such practice on each other. I decided to take this one to the streets of social media and whatsapp, and asked a few people the question, Who dives first (if at all)? He or She? Here were their responses:

Lee-Ann*, 22 y.o, stage actor:

“..Isn’t that a part of foreplay? That question makes me think there’s hesitation on both parties part. I guess whoever enjoys giving oral.”

Thanto*, 25 y.o, recording artiste:

“..Dependent on the dynamics. The aggressor should initiate OS then the other, based on the understanding, return or get into penetration mode. But sex is very complex because the aggressor might not be a bowaz and would want the other to get it going. Its weird caz sex varies from person to person.

David*, 19 y.o, CARIMAC student:

“Hardly think it matters. I’d hope two adults having sex are doing so because they want to both enjoy themselves and please each other. Similarly, I assume anyone giving oral sex wants to do it so I doubt it is as calculated as “who goes first” in most instances. Whoever wants to go first should I suppose. A part of the beauty of sex is the element of surprise/spontaneity.”

Felix*, 30 y.o, teacher:

“I don’t think the responsibility to initiate oral sex should be that of one partner. Both parties should initiate whenever they please. Speaking from the heterosexual framework which I think this question was posed from, the culture of some Jamaican male is to not engage in oral sex and as such the notion is that females should initiate and be the only ones who do it. A power play dynamic is always present…. The lens is broader tho and I stick to my first point, the responsibility to initiate is not the job of only one party”

Janice*, 30 y.0, accountant:

“it depends on the feeling, and it depends on the persons and what each person is feeling for at that time. caz sometimes yuh have a man who just wants to eat! and the woman doesn’t want to return the favor then if that case he wud initiate. But what if the girl has been thinking about sucking his dick all day and he’s not thinking along those lines then she would be the one to initiate.”

Rodney*, 25 y.o, herbalist:

“gyal dem fi start it off bredda, cause without a proper erection sex will not be sex; but just two people fooling around. I think it should be the duty of the woman fi clean the rifle and kick off the game, cause a wet front from me giving her head won’t get my dick hard. there can be moments though when the man step up to the plate and kick it off; me personally like fi deal with it when me see seh she come home tired and moody; and mi deeven ask fi nuh sex after. But you see anytime mi do that G, next morning under the sheets me wake up with it inna her mouth; a just how the thing set. Cause my girl good like that. is a give and take sometimes, but by right woman fi kick it off under normal circumstances.”

Camille*, 22 y.o, writer:

“Listen, I don’t care who does it first all I know is I love sucking my man’s dick; and I think other girls would once they give it a shot. My man used to be one of those dudes acting all tough like him don’t waah do it too, but after I did it once and told him he wouldn’t get it again unless he did it to me, nigga wake me up one night and sucked me dry lol. And best believe, my man is a gangsta according to society’s standards. But I guess when you’re in a relationship compromises can be made, and this business about who dives first becomes trivial. I still love giving it to him though, first or second it don’t matter”

Well, there you have it. Ordinary Jamaicans young and old giving their views on who should dive first. Some believe it doesn’t matter, and that sex should be allowed to flow in the direction it wants to go; others are adamant that someone has to start the oral for the sex to actually happen. Personally, I say before getting into that position with someone try to have some constructive dialogue with them about it; play devil’s advocate and test your partner’s tolerance level before getting into the sheets with them. That way when you guys go to bed, there are less uncertainties because you know what turns to take on your way to the promise land. Oh, and practice safe sex everyone. Peace.

*Disclaimer: identities of respondents were changed for security reasons.

-GB

 

 

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