Abstract

“‘Roll It Gal’: Alison Hinds, Female Empowerment, and Calypso” examines the ways in which Caribbean women's bodies, namely those of black women, have been overly sexualized in calypsos. More importantly, this article examines how Hinds (re)claims calypso and its dance forms to empower women cross-culturally. She subverts traditional representations of womanhood in her songs and performances, thereby expanding existing definitions of womanhood. Hinds addresses women's ambivalent relationships with the performance and celebration of Caribbean culture through dance as she recovers/reinvents the female body. Hinds's ability to demand respect for her “wining” skills is also discussed. She validates the “wuk up” as an art form intrinsic to Caribbean culture, and openly challenges colonial ideologies that conceptualize “wukking up” as inappropriate or disrespectful. Simultaneously, in her claim of being “de ruffest gal winer” that no man/woman can test, Hinds's own dance performance becomes a subversive text and not merely dance as aesthetic pleasure.

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