News broke late last evening on Twitter that former Miss Jamaica World, Yendi Phillipps, is with child. My timeline immediately erupted with commentary on Yendi’s bundle. Reactions ranged from surprise and congratulations to absolute judgement and condemnation. The judgement arose from the allegation that the beauty queen is unwed, and therefore the child was conceived out of wedlock. I took strong exception to this. I’d like to share my thoughts.
One young lady had the audacity to call Yendi an “uptown slut”, while others remarked that they “expected better of Yendi” and my question was simply, who died and made you God? When did we all find our moral compasses? I have a hard time understanding how we came to the conclusion that Yendi is a slut when so many of us were born out of wedlock. What does that say about our mothers? Would we be willing to extend the ‘slut crown’ to our own relatives bearing children out of wedlock? One of my followers made the point that so many of our mothers had to do things that would make a prostitute blush just so we could have a decent life, and yet we want to judge Yendi. This entire episode carries the stench of hypocrisy and demonstrates how quick Jamaicans, living in glass houses, are to cast stones. It appears to me that we have set one standard for Yendi, and another for ourselves and our relatives. How many of you are having sex out of wedlock right now? Are you prepared to condemn yourself if you become pregnant? Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, after all this is the very society that is made up of people who ‘bun out’ in public what they do in private; just attend any street dance or party and listen for the ones who “buss” the loudest blanks. We see you.
The condemnation of Yendi put my mind to the times before former Prime Minister Michael Manley acted by passing legislation to give status to poor people’s children – a time when children born out of wedlock were regarded as ‘bastards’. This was a period where psuedo moral dictates relegated some citizens, children at that, to a lower status than others. That was the era of children being declared illegitimate and therefore having no rights to their father or any hope of an inheritance. In essence that was what happened lastnight on Twitter; we put Yendi and her unborn child in a category for undesirables. The suggestion was given that there was something inherently wrong with having a child out of wedlock, I’m yet to see the reasoning behind that. This is the year two thousand and twelve, no one needs to explain or justify the relationship status of their parents, and Yendi certainly doesn’t owe anyone an explanation about her relationship status and the co-relation to her pregnancy.
The reality is that marriage is not a state everyone wishes to take upon themselves and there is nothing wrong with that. It does not make that person any less than a married couple. Marriage is no longer the exalted institution of ancient times, it is now a union of convenience in many cases, a transactional affair used to secure financial or immigration benefits and in some cases arranged as a tool to take away the rights and dignity of women. This union is now so relative and varied, can we really elevate it as a standard and judge people for not meeting that standard? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting all marriages are worthless, but there seems to be a growing tide against the proper use of the institution. We just need to look at the divorce rates all across the world or ask Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez. When did marriage become so important to us? The same ones who preach that “man fi ave nuff gyal and gyal inna bungle” – we are living hypocrites, and it is high time we stop it. I’m watching carefully to see how the media reacts, it is my sincere hope that members of that fraternity will not buy into this nonsense of the child being conceived out of wedlock. Frankly, it is a non issue.
Yendi has distinguished herself both locally and internationally to much acclaim; she is a young, bright, talented Jamaican who has done this country proud. The contents of her womb is nobody’s business. Congratulations Yendi!! I wish you a happy pregnancy and every good wish as you carry your bundle of joy into this world. For those who rose so quickly to condemn, ask your Mommy if she was married when she had you, I’m almost certain 1 in every 2 persons will hear “no”, does that make your mother a slut? And are you nothing but a bastard? Oh look, your glass house has shattered. This is why you shouldn’t throw stones.