If you ever visit Jamaica, you might be amazed and admire or be disgusted and intolerant of some Jamaican women. Certainly, if you are from a culture like mines, you will be culture shocked. You might be wondering what can be so intriguing or possibly disgusting about said Jamaican women...
The first time I travelled to downtown Kingston, I could not believe my eyes. I know it is not good to stare but could I help myself? From the technicolor wig and weave, to the long glued on eye lashes and constantly fading complexion to the long, bending fingernails and at times toe nails. This was topped of with short pants or leggings and fashionable tops. They lined a particular street doing nails or hair, right there on the street. Was I amazed and mortified at the same time! What would possess a person to bleach themselves to redness so that their skin, especially on their cheeks is bruised? And what mothers would wear something so short so that their cellulite legs bounce from side to side and their 'bang belly' hang over their pants or shorts? Yes, my initial reaction was filled with disgust.
Well I have spent over 5 years here and this is what I now see. A unique people with a unique culture. I might not agree with it or even like it, but I must respect it. Looking good is the order of the day. When you hear, 'gel yo sell off',' you know that person have done justice in the eyes of her beholder. They walk the streets and stores looking for their look good pants and look good tops. The music and lifestyle of the island supports the 'sell off' mentality. What may disgust me or you, is a unique culture of the ghetto people. Sure some might have gone too far and are cause for concern for health officials, especially with skin cancer, however, I see strong, brave independent women who have established their own identities by living outside the box of what may be deemed 'normal'. Whether they are fat or slim, black or brown or red, old or young, these women have created an identity for themselves and remain with it in spite of all that is said. Unless we understand who they are and where they are from, we would only be judging from the standards of the norm our society has set for us and if we intend to help, we would get no where.
Regardless of who a Jamaica is or where she is from, they take pride in their physical beauty. The only difference is while some have remained within the societal norms of what looks good, others have break free and have created their own. If you want to help those who have gone too far, try and understand them first, where are they from and why have they taken on this form of identity.