Two days ago we published a series of photos from an annual entertainment event known as Heels and Leggings, held at the Plantation Garden Theatre and organised by Colorz Entertainment. For us, it really was no different from many of the entertainment events that take place in Barbados each weekend.
In fact, if we compare it with what we see in other Caribbean news publications, it is a reflection of what happens in just about every Caribbean island each weekend. Women, or girls, put on as little clothing as possible and head out for the party scene.
For the news photographer, it is not possible to cover these events without including some of these “fashion statements” — perhaps the least provocative among them. From time to time, we will get a call or two from readers who are of the view that Picture “A or Picture “C” might have been a little too revealing for a general audience publication.
This week, however, we got a call from a regular Barbados TODAY reader who was not in the least happy with some of the photos. She made her position absolutely clear and she went further: “Some of them just look plain bad, disgusting. Tell them Idamay Denny said so. Some of them should not be in public looking like that!”
Yes, we are talking about former Deputy Chief Education Officer, Dr. Idamay Denny, and anyone who knows her knows that she is no prude. When she calls to vent, you know she has reached that tipping point.
We are not prudes at Barbados TODAY either, and we certainly do not believe we have to agree with or support something to publish it. But the veteran educator has said something with which a growing number of Barbadians agree, that what passes for party fashion these days too often should never be worn in public.
But what compounds the situation is that far too often many who wear the clothing ought to invest in a full length mirror and not trust the opinion of their party partners. The tights, leggings, body-hugging dresses and pants, tops made of even less material than bras etc, just do not suit some figures.
Now add to that the styles which seem to say they are most effective when everyone who sees can, at a glance, tell the size, shape, cut, colour and possibly brand name of your underwear. Underwear is now the new outerwear. Fashion trends have always pushed the envelope, but of late it seems that too many have been leaving the envelope at home all together.
What is also becoming increasingly clear is that the younger the patron accepted into these events, the more risqu√ the fashion worn, although too often we are seeing individuals well beyond their sell-by date trying to pass themselves off as fresh milk.
We accept that in her complaint Denny was also making that point that as newspaper editors we have to draw a line somewhere on what we will publish. And we do, but the challenge is that in an environment governed by the subjective there will be differences of opinion on where that line should be. We accept too, on reflection, at least one of the photos should not have been published, even if for no other reason than to save the subject from herself.
But whether or not we publish, as a country we really do have to tell our young people that everything, including fashion, has limits and that because it appears on a mannequin in a store does not mean they should wear it into the public arena. Because someone in the party wore a dress with a slit to the waist last week does not mean yours has to go all the way to the armpit this week.
A “good time” does not have to be synonymous with near nudity, and “look good” does not have to mean exposed underwear.