De Only Good Red Thing is a Dollar

A calm Sunday evening while taking a drive with some friends around the savannah, we saw this gorgeous red-skinned girl. Her skin flawless, legs for days as she was showing them off in short shorts, curly hair, and brown eyes. Plaint talk… She was a looker (coming from a heterosexual female) even I did a double take, along with my two male and two female friends. Comments were “Damnnn that body”, “Omg, I love her hair”, “Woman to have”… and then out of the blue, “Too bad de only good red thing issa dollar!” that last comment had everyone else saying “For real” and in agreement. However, I’ve heard this all my life and its a social belief that majority of Trinibagonians use. Let’s be real if you’re a Trini there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve heard that phrase.

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“De only good red thing is a dollar?” but why? My friends didn’t know the girl personally so why jump to that conclusion? This is where my curiosity to understand such a stereotype came from.

What does this statement even mean?

In the simplest way to put it, “De only good red thing is a dollar” with reference to a female who has lighter skin or as we know it “red skin” (usually mixed women), means that when it comes to red “things” the dollar beats back the woman, as the woman isn’t good, then she obviously has to be bad, right? Not really, this statement also attaches a connotation behind it that implies that “all red woman bad”. Don’t front here people we know what bad in Trini slang means.

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Patriarchal Society

As much as we have feminists in an abundance these days, we can’t forget that we live in a patriarchal society where in the colonial era women were objectified and seen as objects to use, this is where we get the reference of encapsulating a women when speaking of “red things”

Unfair Stereotype

Being as objective as I can be and also doing research, surveys and ethnographic studies, I came to the conclusion that this stereotype is completely unfair to say the least. Majority of these women are usually perceived in a negative light because of this local stereotype that has existed since I could remember myself.

Why do people think red women are “bad”?

So I did some investigation into why people assume this. My method was to post a status on Facebook and allow the comments and opinions to pour in, the following images are screenshots of what was said.

The status I posted
The status I posted

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From the screenshots you can see that although there is some division among the comments, the majority of people agree that “the only good red thing is indeed a dollar”

The following are screenshots from a heated conversation about “red women” on Twitter:

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Now these screenshots are extreme opinions of red women

People have usually said:

  • Red women have a bad attitude
  • Red women feel they better than everyone else
  • Red women like to “horn”
  • Red women too stush
  • Red women like material things
  • Red women can’t cook
  • Red women too high maintenance
  • Red women only good for looks and nothing else

The list goes on and on and on and on

Good “red women”

I can’t agree with the popular consensus because I have red skinned friends who are nothing like what these stereotypes state. My friends are all humble, friendly, faithful , down to earth, independent and ambitious. These young women have more to offer than just their great looks and complexion. They’re all furthering their studies and have never been in any compromising situation where they characters were questionable. However, they have all been victims of these stereotypical comments and even thought they’ve complained, they moved passed them because their goals are bigger than stereotypes that aren’t true, especially those that are attached to them because of their complexion.

adri
Adriana Salandy Student at UWI BA in Psychology
faithy
Faith Espinoza Administrative Secretary, Student: Associates in Tourism Management
lizzie
Elizabeth Cox Corporate Secretary Student: Business Management

So to conclude this blog, the only good red thing IS INDEED a dollar, because women aren’t things… We’re human beings.

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