People love talk smack ’bout Jungalists, but
perhaps that’s just a bougie denial of the reality
a woman meets when she walks alone on dese streets.
If you neva had to walk,
then you really don’t know what I talk–in–‘bout,
‘cause I tink a lot of women would fall right out
if they had to live with men constantly shout–ing
at them across the road. One must be quite colorful
to deal with the weight of that daily load.
One must be prepared to ward off men
trying to touch them–again and again.
The nagging. The lyrics. This might shock you, bey,
but we women … we don’ really wanna hear it …
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard someone talk about being Jungalist in a positive way. Usually, I hear, “I een no Jungalist,” as if to be called a Jungalist is a negative accusation. The negative association of Jungalist is pretty well documented. But lately I’ve been wondering if Jungalist energy could also be viewed as a highly adaptive survival strategy. Perhaps, a Jungalist is a woman who is trying to honor her femininity and protect herself at the same time. Perhaps, it is actually very integrative. Perhaps one Jungalist narrative could be interpreted as: “I resist dressing like a man in order to be left alone. I am a woman who wants to honor and express my feminine energy without being submissive and making myself vulnerable to invasion—be it physical, emotional, or psychic.”
To be clear, I’m not saying that jungalist energy is the most ideal to employ at all times. I’m not saying that it’s the only survival strategy. I’m not saying that it’s a peaceful mode of existence. I don’t believe that we are peaceful or whole people when we allow any one energy or narrative to dominate our personalities and interactions. But I wonder if this expression is a highly adaptive mode of integration and a powerful survival strategy. So, rather than criticizing jungalists, I wonder what would happen if we asked what we’re trying to survive when we employ that energy? And, how is it an expression that illuminates one truth (out of many) about Bahamian culture?