mas (noun) WEST INDIAN – carnival celebrations. 1. “mas bands”
más (adjective) SPANISH – more
All my skinny days I would have never been caught dead on the streets of Kingston in a bedazzled bikini! Fast forward to today …at 200 + LBS I proudly bear it all for Jamaica and the world to see!
Last week Jamaican social media was buzzing about a newspaper feature on plus size ladies and mas. The average Jamaican had A LOT to say. Unfortunately, most of the comments were less than flattering.
At the end of last year’s road march, I overheard some “on-lookers” blatantly criticizing the bodies of passing revellers which made me so angry. I thought to myself, in 2017 why were people still so hung up on an “ideal” body that may I add NOT ONE OF THEM EVEN HAD!
When did carnival become an excuse for people to body shame?!
Jamaica Carnival admittedly has absolutely no cultural significance in Jamaica. It was literally started because a group of friends missed Trinidad Carnival thanks to Hurricane Gilbert. However, the real roots of Carnival in the Caribbean is so much bigger than stretch marks, a gut or anyone being too fat to play mas.
History of Carnival and its Elements
The Mas tradition started in the late 18th century with French plantation owners organizing masquerades (mas), dinners, balls, concerts and hunting parties extending from Christmas to Ash Wednesday.
The Africans started to participate in the festivities from 1833 after the Emancipation Bill was passed. The Africans brought Canboulay to its festivities. Canboulay (from the French cannes brulées, meaning burnt cane) is a precursor to Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. Canboulay was first played on August 1st, Emancipation Day, but subsequently took place after midnight on Dimanche Gras, the Sunday before Carnival.
Source: http://www.ncctt.org/new/index.php/carnival-history/history-of-carnival.html & Wikipedia
For me, playing mas represents freedom and joy. It is an exhilarating experience that, contrary to popular belief, is not necessarily for the genetically skinny or gym sculpted body. Kudos to all the designers creating an avenue for all forms and shapes of females to feel confident and sexy for Carnival.
Black women come in all shapes and sizes, therefore, there is no need for us to restrict our beauty standards. Within my band I saw every ethereal representation of the black woman and it was a splendid sight to behold.
So to all you body shamers, look within yourselves and sort out your own issues because only HURT people actually hurt people.
To all my fluffy masqueraders…you ladies killed it on the road!!!!
Thanks for reading fam!
Published by shannydelioness
Shannydelioness is a lifestyle blogger living on the beautiful island of Jamaica.
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4 thoughts on “Mas is for Every BODY-Type”
Great post. I love your body positivity stance and how well you spoke about in this post! Great job!
Thank you Nella!
Now I don’t play mas, but as a fellow 200+ lb gyal I am with you. Mas IS for everyone, and the fat shaming that took place was a hot no go.. BUT!!! I believe that someone should always wear something that fits and flatters their body, in size and shape. It was very much obvious that that the outfit she wore was not her size. It didn’t fit her properly at all nor did it flatter her. That still didn’t give ppl the right to say what they said eh. I just wish that as plus sized women wore what worked for their size and their shape. Side note.. you are looking freaking fabulous in your costume darlin.
I agree with you 100%! Thank you Nelly!