Home / View Point / Guest Columns / Of sensuality and vulgarity: why Tim Kee is foolish but not misogynistic

Of sensuality and vulgarity: why Tim Kee is foolish but not misogynistic

I wonder if the wide spectrum of persons who have used the words “misogyny” and “misogynic” to describe ex-Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee following his asinine statements on the murder of pannist Asami Nagakiya either believe what they are saying, or understand the definitions of the words?

Photo: Former TTFA president and ex-Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Women's World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former TTFA president and ex-Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

According to the Oxford English dictionary, misogyny means “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”.

And misogynic “is very close to the meaning of ‘misogynistic’, or ‘hating women’, but he may not feel full-out hatred toward them”.

Now I don’t know Tim Kee except as Mayor, and as someone who does not have a way with words to the extent that he often plants both feet in his mouth when he speaks. Witness his war with the Savannah vendors, which saw him backing down after uttering disparaging remarks, and his frequent bouts with other vendors and burgesses of the capital city over which he presided.

Based on these conflicts that were all triggered because he seemed to have spoken before thinking, I would say Tim Kee is a foolish man.

In the Nagakiya issue, before he knew anything about how she was killed—the autopsy was still pending, and whether she was raped has yet to be determined—he mouthed off on the way women un-dressed for Carnival, on their lewd behaviour that he had harped on earlier, and so on.

Photo: Late Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya. (Courtesy Andrea De Silva)
Photo: Late Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya.
(Courtesy Andrea De Silva)

In other words, he seemed to have suggested that Nagakiya might have invited her own demise through her conduct during Carnival, which was a very stupid insinuation that warranted condemnation, and, indeed, his resignation as Mayor.

That said, does anyone among the few thousand persons who came down on him like the proverbial tonne of bricks really believe that Tim Kee hates women? That he has contempt for them? That he bears ingrained prejudice against them?

I don’t know the man, but surely he must have a mother, probably a wife, sisters, daughters, aunts.

Do those in the pack that attacked him believe that he hates or holds in contempt all these female family members, or women in general? I think not.

I should add my own position before the fem-pack turns rabid on me: nothing that a woman says, does or wears or does not wear, justifies advances from any man, far less rape. A person’s body, be it man or woman, but more so women because of their physiognomy, is sacrosanct.

And when it comes to sex, consensual is the only format that is acceptable.

Photo: Rape check list... (Courtesy The Logical Indian)
Photo: Rape check list…
(Courtesy The Logical Indian)

What the ex-Mayor was trying to get across, though, his abhorrence toward rampant lewdness on the streets and stages during the Carnival, with women being the prime offenders, is a very valid issue that needs to be discussed.

Many people in the society feel strongly about this overwhelming affront to our sensitivities, so much so that they have voted with their feet: they stay away from fetes and street parades where such behaviour is predominant. Note the steep decline in spectators on Carnival days, from Jouvert ot Las’ Lap.

But they do not speak out against the vulgarity for fear of being pounced upon by the feminist and ultra-liberal lobbies that are aggressive as they are intimidating.

Me? I don’t give a damn. I’ve been around for too long, having established my bona fides as an architect of change and defender of human rights and women’s rights, for me to fear a backlash from anyone, any group or segment of the society.

I ask the women who claim full rights to their bodies if such rights include exposing their every crevice in public, before children, whose impressionable minds might tell them such behaviour is acceptable?

Photo: Revellers enjoy themselves on the road during Carnival 2015. (Copyright Loop TT)
Photo: Revellers enjoy themselves on the road during Carnival 2015.
(Copyright Loop TT)

I ask them if simulating sexual acts of varying contortions, no holes barred, and their seeming fixation with rear-ending each other, on stage, on the road, before television cameras, is right?

Citizens surrender our rights to drive on most streets of cities and towns for the duration of Carnival, give way to masqueraders whose hired thugs even beat us up if so much as step close to their gyrating bodies, for what?

To see them simulate sex?

We pay hundreds of millions of dollars, pay thousands of soldiers and police officers to protect them (hardly us) during the festival, not to see the spectacle of colour, creativity and listen to good music, but to be assaulted by deafening noise and seas of near-naked, gyrating bodies.

To add insult, they tell us they have the right to bare their backsides in our faces, and we must accept their animalistic behaviour or, well, stay home and do not even watch local television.

Photo: Port of Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee (second from left) and councillor Farai Hove Masaisai. (Courtesy Facebook)
Photo: Ex-Port of Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee (second from left) and councillor Farai Hove Masaisai.
(Courtesy Facebook)

They seem to not know that a woman can be sensual, ooze sexuality, without baring her all, without being vulgar.

But then, what do they know of sensuality who only vulgarity know?

About Raffique Shah

Raffique Shah
Raffique Shah is a columnist for over three decades, founder of the T&T International Marathon, co-founder of the ULF with Basdeo Panday and George Weekes, a former sugar cane farmers union leader and an ex-Siparia MP. He trained at the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was arrested, court-martialled, sentenced and eventually freed on appeal after leading 300 troops in a mutiny at Teteron Barracks during the Black Power revolution of 1970.

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170 comments

  1. It had it’s glaring mistakes, but I think it was a good piece, generally.

  2. I shall now embark on a column entitled “why Raffique Shah is foolish fullstop.” I’ll be finished by next April.

  3. Hmmmm, Raffique Shah prob said “Finally! A man who knows what’s what” when he heard Tim Kee’s statement. This is not a matter of right thinking wrong timing.
    When our (the) men get profiled & assaulted or killed we women jump in the fray in support of them.
    When we women get attacked & murdered where is our support? Where are our men saying no, nope, not gonna happen on my watch!! Where????
    We women are human beings and we deserve the right to live a life free of being shamed. There is no ‘hoe uniform” that gives anyone permission to treat us as less than human. To each his own & how Tim Kee likes to see women dress is between he & his wife if she so chooses to oblige his censorship of her wardrobe.
    Ummmm ummmm ummmmm……. Disappointed in these 2, fist bumping over “women should dress like they expect to be treated”
    If they subscribe to this mentality, they are prob dishing it out too!!

  4. Trini endorsement of slackness! A fact

  5. I liked Shah’s editorial letter

  6. Apparently we’re all dying to run around naked and are trying to bully the right-minded citizens of this country into seeing our naughty bits. ?

    • I think that Mr. Tim Kee’s sensibilities were seriously affronted by the behaviour of women during Carnival, and that is what was uppermost on his mind when he was asked to comment. He simply failed to censor himself and give the politically correct response. He is no misogynist. We can all agree that his comments were extremely ‘outta timin’. However, I think it is foolish for anyone to leave their house without taking sensible precautions as to their safety, or predominantly rely on the police for same. What we want society to be is definitely not what society is in reality, and while I believe that the only person to blame for rape is the rapist, we must know that personal perversions aside, other factors also influence this type of behaviour. I remember a former classmate telling of his mindset after an afternoon of watching porn with his friends. He said if it were not for his upbringing, if the opportunity arose he very well could have raped a woman on his way home. Now, not every man has this self-control, and a woman dressed in revealing clothing or behaviour is like waving the flag before the bull.

      There are very different rules for men and women, whether we like it or not, so what a man does at Carnival is never as challenged as with a woman. This is fact, and won’t be changing anytime soon, so these are the standards that inform our opinion. Talking about the gender double standards is beating a dead horse – it is what it is. Women ought to know this, that they are held to a different standard than do men. It doesn’t have to be right for it to be so. So, let us forget Mr. Tim Kee, and remind women that the rules have not changed, that they have to be careful of those weak-minded men who are predators awaiting opportunity.

      Self expression is great, but please note that because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should – unless you are the last human being on earth. You do not live in a bubble. Your self-expression impacts on others, and you will be assessed and judged, positively or not. I do not see why certain behaviour is ok at Carnival but outside of Carnival you are looked at askance. If it ok yesterday, it ought to be ok today, not so? Otherwise, everyone is lying to themselves under the flag of double and triple standards.

      Mr. Tim Kee has been forced out of office, and us right-minded folks yell ‘hurray’ in self satisfaction, but I tell you, no one is laughing as much as the murderer. He was able to do a double trick – rape and kill a woman, and get a Mayor fired. That is power. Mr. Tim Kee is gone, but the joke’s on us.

  7. And if we’re building the discussion on assumptions rooted in that bullfriggery, we’ll get nowhere.

  8. Well said, Calisa Paulson. Bullfriggeries is the order of the day. One goalpost for women and another for men.

  9. But, has there ever not been a line drawn as regards what is acceptable in public?

    Three things are bugging me here:

    1. Lack of acknowledgment of the fact that the lines are in a different place for men and women.

    2. Lack of acknowledgment of the fact that many people’s ideas of vulgarity and propriety are informed by antiquated religious principles which themselves spring from a foundation of misogyny.

    3. The shifting definition of vulgar. If something is not vulgar in a certain space on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, how does it become vulgar in that same space on Ash Wednesday?

    And, as an “extreme” example of the first two issues: why are men allowed (legally and socially) to be bareback 365 days of the year and women are not?

  10. If Keith offer me body guard services FB might never see me!

  11. You weren’t complaining about policing when Rowley was offering bodyguard services though Rhoda! Lol.
    Okay. If the point is that women always shoulder the blame when talk turns to immorality, then I can see your point.
    Although that can be a chicken and egg situation too.
    Still do we agree there should be a line drawn somewhere as regards what is acceptable attire in public?

  12. misogynist
    [mi-soj-uh-nist, mahy‐]
    Spell Syllables
    Examples
    noun
    1.
    a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.

  13. Raf score an own goal here…just like Tim Kee last week. Both men of a particular era from conservative religious backgrounds. They should stop policing my damn body and see after themselves.

  14. Well, I can agree that an additional paragraph explaining why there is a distinction between male and female vulgarity would be helpful.
    I won’t say the absence of that alone makes it comparable to Tim Kee’s statements though.

  15. The comment is comparable because without even entering into a discussion about what constitutes vulgarity the author concludes that women are the “prime offenders”. Tim Kee raised the issue about vulgarity and then immediately went into the idea that women should refrain from said vulgarity for their own good. Vulgarity is being equated with feminity in both cases, like if it’s a switch applicable to women alone that they can turn on and off, subject to their approval of course. Incendiary.

  16. Vulgar also has context….given the context of Carnival how are we deyermining vulgarity? Look, miis me with all yuh bullshit, eh.

  17. ..Ok. I done. Open discussion is available only to those who are open. And is worthwhile only if it results in ” change”. Right? Supporting gender equality doesn’t mean supporting ANYTHING some women believe. I done yes..

  18. No it does not lead there. What we as a society need to do is have an open discussion on these issues and come to a concensus. Many of our laws are archaic and need to be updated or even removed entirely as they are just not relevant anymore. Further, we need to evolve our thinking on a great many issues, bearing in mind that they can be extremely emotive issues. And yes, that means some of us are going to have to give up some deeply held notions and beliefs and consider new ones as we navigate and negotiate a new and progressive social contract. But make no mistake, change is happening whether you like it or not. Women aren’t going to remain silent anymore. I rather we discuss and progress than we go kicking and screaming into the future but I know we like the drama…

  19. ..Right. So just leave everybody to do their thing. Right? Including being “vulgar” to a woman? Who has the right to criticize vulgarity aimed at a woman as in fact being vulgar? The man got his opinion too. You see where your argument leads? Or is it that all opinions are not equal and that some are in fact incorrect and self-serving? And btw, why we still discussing Tim Kee? We agree his statement was inappropriate and he was forced to resign. Let’s move on..

  20. The opinion comes in when you try to determine what’s vulgar. How you interpret vulgarity is subjective. What’s vulgar to you may not be deemed vulgar by another. And let’s agree that puritanical, Victorian era ideas on vulgarity are receding more and more. Also let’s agree that many people that find Tim Kee’s utterances and those of his supporters objectionable, are not all members of any rabid feminist group as some would like to paint us in an effort to discount our views. Some of us are ordinary men and women who understand that victim Blaming and shaming is prevalent in our society and needs to be eradicated.

  21. I’m surprised that you think I care what does and doesn’t surprise you.

  22. Yes. I did post that there is a combination of law and opinion. Partly dictated by what is permissible by law and partly by good taste. But I guess that was in another comment.

  23. We have all heard of a Freudian slip ….. let us term the mayor’s comments as a Tim Keeian slip.

    All ah we know what he mean!

  24. Pardna you know me …. when I “suggest” something yuh will know it.

    Ah know Soyini does know it! LOL

  25. ..If vulgarity were merely opinion Lasana then one could literally do ANYTHING. THAT is where tje extreme feminists would lead us. There is also Law. There is role modeling for the next generation. There is common sense..

  26. I think however it’s based on actual emotion of sex and sexuality and human anatomy
    A man can be bare backed but a woman can’t be bare backed in public

    So women would offend easier being in a bra than a man bareback in the streets

    Then in a heterosexual world men need women to be present and to be willing to engage in whatever activity

    So when women are blamed for lewdness it’s because the incidents happen with their voluntary approval

    ….

  27. Lol. And that’s what got Tim Kee in trouble. But are you suggesting that the same applies to Raffique?

  28. I get your point on it being associated with women Rhoda. But the media tends to focus on the women I think. So those are probably the images that sink in.

  29. I get your point on it being associated with women Rhoda. But the media tends to focus on the women I think. So those are probably the images that sink in.

  30. Communication isn’t solely what one says, it’s equally important when it is said and in response to what.

    For instance if someone were to ask me what I thought of their mother and my response was about whores, jammettes and side chicks I’m pretty sure I’d collect a bottle to my head regardless of what I meant or to whom I was referring!

  31. Kyle, the main problem I had with the ex-mayor’s comments were the victim blaming and the discussion of vulgarity in the context of a murder.
    Lewdness and vulgarity is an opinion to me which you can agree with or not.
    I don’t see it as being comparable to Tim Kee’s statements.

    • The mere fact that he can associate lewdness and vulgarity with women…and then justify a woman’s murder with it is what makes him misogynistic. Raffique hasn’t convinced me. Sorry.
      Doh come around me wearing pants, eh Lasana Liburd…because what yuh get yuh look for.

  32. “What the ex-Mayor was trying to get across, though, his abhorrence toward rampant lewdness on the streets and stages during the Carnival, with women being the prime offenders,”

    LOL. This is just a longer, more eloquent version of what Tim Kee said, filled with even more fallacious, misogynist arguments. What really going on in this place boy.

  33. “What the ex-Mayor was trying to get across, though, his abhorrence toward rampant lewdness on the streets and stages during the Carnival, with women being the prime offenders,”

    LOL. This is just a longer, more eloquent version of what Tim Kee said, filled with even more fallacious, misogynist arguments. What really going on in this place boy.

  34. I just wanna break it sufficiently down for the differently logical!

  35. Steups, u splitting hairs. I move on from that misogyny point.

  36. Steups, u splitting hairs. I move on from that misogyny point.

  37. It’s like discussing whether Donald Trump is racist, makes racist comments or if we understand the definition of racism.

  38. I think another failure of the article was naming females as the only/ predominant cause of the vulgarity.