Sun | Apr 30, 2017

Kaci versus Rapunzel

Published:Sunday | February 1, 2015 | 2:01 AM

In the Miss Universe contest between Kaci and all those Rapunzel lookalikes, our girl didn't stand a chance. In his review of the show which is on YouTube, the comedian Dutty Berry makes a pretty good guess about why Kaci didn't win: "I don't know if is because her hair short an a whole heap a hair company a sponsor di show an dem love di Rapunzel look."

If you don't remember the fairy tale about Rapunzel, here's how the story goes. A man and a woman live next door to a wicked witch. Maybe, she was just a lonely old woman. But this is a fairy tale, so she has to be a witch. The 'normal' woman gets pregnant and starts to crave rapunzel, a plant that grows in the witch's garden. It has a beautiful flower and the leaves and root are

edible.

The man steals a plant and is caught by the witch. He begs for mercy and she proposes to let him off on condition that the couple give her their child. Yu see how she wicked! Or lonely. The poor man agrees. His wife gives birth to a beautiful girl and the witch claims her prize. She calls the child Rapunzel.

As the little girl grows, so does her hair. She ends up with long, golden hair. This is going to be a big problem. When she turns 12, the witch locks her up in a tower in the middle of the forest. There are no stairs and no door, just one window.

I suppose this fairy tale is a warning about what happens to girls at puberty. They end up trapped by wicked witches who are afraid that the girls will get pregnant - especially if they are beautiful and have 'tall' hair. Sometimes, the wicked witch is the girl's own mother.

BEAUTY A BURDEN

Rapunzel's only visitor is the witch who would give this command: "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair so I can climb the golden stair." What a stress on poor Rapunzel! Her golden hair becomes a ladder. Can you imagine the pull on her scalp! Of course, since this is a fairy tale, one is not supposed to raise these practical questions. But I think this story is quite subversive. It suggests that beauty can be a terrible burden for women.

Anyhow, the story gets better. You know there has to be a prince to rescue the damsel in distress. He comes riding through the forest and hears Rapunzel singing. He falls in love with her voice but can't figure out how to get up to the tower. Then the wicked witch comes and he learns the magic words. In his case, letting down Rapunzel's hair is foreplay. Next thing, the prince climbs up and in two twos Rapunzel is pregnant with twins.

Locking up girls isn't a reliable contraceptive if there's a prince on the loose. It's the boys who should be locked up. When the wicked witch finds out that Rapunzel is in the family way she cuts off the golden hair and casts the disgraced young woman out into the wilderness. A familiar fate for pregnant teenagers!

The witch sets a trap for the prince who comes climbing up Rapunzel's detached hair - now a weave. So many men have been caught by weaves! The witch pitches the prince down to the ground and he falls on thorns and is blinded. I suppose this is his punishment for impregnating Rapunzel.

The prince wanders around the forest for months. He eventually hears Rapunzel singing and is reunited with her and his children. Rapunzel starts to bawl and her tears of joy cure his blindness. And they go off to his palace where they live happily ever after. So what's the moral of this improbable story?

TRUMPING DONALD

Women all over the world have been tricked into believing that 'tall' hair makes them beautiful. Even when it becomes a rope around their neck! And so many of the Miss World contestants seem to have weighed themselves down even more with Rapunzel weaves. Dutty Berry asks Donald Trump a wicked question: "A vex yu did vex because yu tink seh Kaci

woulda mek hot gyal stop buy weave?"

On her return to Jamaica, Kaci Fennell did an 'On Stage' interview right at the airport. Naturally, she was asked about the short hair affair. Her response was beautifully plain and

simple: "This is how I look best. And if this is not what they wanted, then it just wasn't for me." I wish more Jamaican women could be sensible enough to realise that 'tall' hair can't make them beautiful. In fact, some weaves are downright ugly.

Beauty contests and language are two issues that continue to cause contention in our society. Dutty Berry deals with both of them. He commends Kaci for her answer to the social media question: "Fen-Fen sit down pon da question deh like hassock."

Then he continues, "An di old Kardashian reject Colombia, wid di waist-trainer glue inna her waist, tek bout 10 centuries fi give fi her response. You tell me now. Yu see why Jamaica need fi mek Patwa be di official language! So we can buy time too and pause and think after each line."

Dutty Berry has been nominated for a Youth View award in the category Favourite Breakout Celebrity for 2014. With lyrics like that, he's a sure winner. Unless he's trumped, like Kaci.

n Carolyn Cooper is a teacher of English language and literature. Visit her bilingual blog at http://carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and karokupa@gmail.com.