Smug white feminists and slut shaming

It’s been a chaotic year for feminism, well, my feminism at least. For a few years before that I struggled to understand why so many women were vociferously rejecting feminism as if they didn’t believe in equality but I needed to learn that what they were in fact objecting to was privileged white middle class feminism. I was adamant it didn’t need a rebrand though, we just needed to reclaim feminism but I’m afraid it’s probably too late for that.

Many of my peers have rejected the word feminist. They subscribe to the ideals but do not agree with the negative connotations associated with that word. As bull-headed as I am I refused to have that word change in meaning for myself; I have always been a feminist and will continue to identify as one but will also point out the distinction and intersectionality is a perfect word to sum that up.

How does white feminism affect our lives as WoC/disabled women/trans women? I joined Twitter at the same time as some of our big white feminist names. We started off raising awareness of the same things. They got a lot more attention than me but I refused to see it instead believing it to be a joint effort; who cares which of us are seen as long as we achieve equality? Then one day I wrote a blog about the woman who died as a result of gang rape in India. It spread very quickly and I received a lot of praise and support. A few people suggested I send it to Helen Lewis, they believed it was just the sort of thing that needed publishing; the opinion of a woman of colour with a foot in both worlds. Perhaps where I went wrong in this piece was my appeal to white feminists to stop othering the issues WoC face because of this belief that it happens to someone else over in that other brutal country full of savages (where the brown folk live). Helen said she’d read it and found it interesting but had already commissioned an Indian woman to write about India’s problems. She proved my point and did it brazenly. Did she think I was stupid or is she really that ignorant? Since then however the white fems I’d allied myself with have written for the big publications. They’ve wasted everyone’s time with their ridiculous self-serving campaigns. They have the support of all the important white men in power. All hail white feminism and how it strives for equality for all white women.. Wait, no, it doesn’t even do that. Sure there are some Marxist feminists in their ranks but most of them are yet to utter the words austerity or food bank.

They go from the blatantly obvious prejudice and white supremacy to misogyny as soon as they find their feet. Some are quick off the mark and proud of their bigotry, others are afraid they’ll fall out of favour, people pleasers if I’m going to be generous, cowards if I’m brutally honest. Yet when they do, it’s a wonder they ever felt the need to preserve their good names; they have such a spectacular fall from grace, it’s cringe inducing.

What the fuck kind of feminist comes up with the term ‘smug sexual’? What would you rather, that we were ‘lacking in self-esteem sexuals’? How about ‘humble sexuals’? Will that make us worthy? It isn’t enough that – regardless of colour etc. – as women we all endure slut shaming and abuses because we are either saints or whores; and if we are whores and damn well enjoy it then we face the condemnation of our white sisters? Fuck off.

I thought better of you white fence sitting sisters. That’s why you were on my blogroll, but you’re just like the rest. I don’t feel disappointment anymore; those feels are so last year. No, I’m bitter and I know it because I should have learned by now. I saw you, and your alliances but foolish optimist that I am, I didn’t trust my own judgement. You complain that we’ve fractured feminism and the golden age is done; for you my white fem cister it probably is but intersectionality? Well, it’s thriving and there are many more like me. Not the me that was so desperate for a place in your superior feminisms but the others you abandoned also, and together we’re making equality a reality.

A big fat thank you for nothing, cisters, we’re going make up for it by having lots of smug sex and eat cake and drink gin. You’re just jealous.

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22 comments

    1. mmhm, see you later, thought you might. tbqh was appalled at your comments on my blog the other day. you are the person i speak about quite frequently. your privileged white position leads you to believe you can spout white supremacist ideology on my blog and YOU DON’T LISTEN. can’t say i’ll miss your presence, from where you leave, a hundred more will spring.

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      1. Sam Ambreen @SamAmbreen
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        Ok. I’m gonna apologise to @wmarybeard because I cannot find any evidence online of racism. I sent out a reactionary tweet and I apologise

        Sam – I did some research on you. You send out a false accusation of racism, onto the celebrity Mary Beard. And you got into a lot of trouble for it. Mary Beard could have taken you to court and you would have had to pay a fine plus court costs. But she had the graciousness to forgive you and to be understanding towards you.

        I will also forgive you and I will also be understanding – but – you are playing a very dangerous game, when you send out false accusations of racism.

        In your post you have accused me of being a “white Supremacist.” That is a false accusation and I suggest that you remove it and apologise.
        You are making an accusation that I follow a political cause that is not legal, not moral and you have no evidence. I am not a member of the BNP, the NF, the EDL etc. I never will be.

        If you found my name on any of the membership lists, then your accusation would be legal.
        You won’t find my name there, because I have no affiliation with white supremacy.

        That is a serious accusation, but I don’t think that you realize it.
        Its time to stop putting yourself in this position Sam. Not all women will be forgiving and understanding towards you, when you attack them in public, in twitter, on a blog etc.

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    2. Speaking as a white woman, I feel that you need to get over it Robin. This is a vital post about prejudice that arises from white privilege, not a condemnation of all white people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sam Ambreen @SamAmbreen
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        Ok. I’m gonna apologise to @wmarybeard because I cannot find any evidence online of racism. I sent out a reactionary tweet and I apologise

        Hello Ruth – You are not a “White Woman”, because you are not a colour. You are human. People who are “white”, come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, and to assume that all of them exist in a state of material comfort, is not accurate.
        And, as for running around calling people racist, when there is no evidence… well.. its not a good idea. Please see above. Sam Ambreen grovels to Mary Beard, after Sam tweeted a false accusation of racism to a public figure like Mary Beard, with no evidence to back it up.
        Mary Beard accepted her apology with good grace and understanding.

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    3. If that’s what you think this piece is about, you are really missing the point. It’s NOT Sam judging people because they are white. It is that so many white feminists (particularly those who seem to receive considerable media exposure and/or backing for causes they lead,) seem to follow the same. damned. pattern of behaviour towards feminists who DON’T share the privileges they take for granted.

      You get lip service to inclusion, to “intersectional feminism,” and appeals for more marginalised feminists to join in with them. But when push comes to shove, it’s clear they want that involvement only on the terms white feminists specify and only on the issues they see as important. Happy to throw them under the bus when they are no longer needed, seem too troublesome by raising issues white feminists see as “fringe” or where they believe advancing less advantaged feminists’ issues might “conflict” with what white feminists want.

      It’s not just a one off. It happens time and again, so it gets bloody hard NOT to see that there’s a pattern – that this is in fact a FEATURE of much of what looks very much like self-serving, white feminism.

      What’s depressing and frustrating is I’m not convinced many of the white feminists who do this have any inkling that they are doing anything “wrong.” They are so sure that their priorities ARE THE priorities for all feminists that they seem genuinely baffled that anyone dares to question or challenge what they say and do. They seem completely unaware (to badly paraphrase Audre Lorde) that they ARE using the masters’ tools, because they work really well for keeping the privilege they already enjoy and helping them progress their own goals.

      Sam is simply pointing out the obvious, but I doubt that will stop most of those she refers to she’s just another “Mean Brown Girl” who doesn’t understand/wants a fight/is jealous/lacks solidarity/insert other explanation to make them feel better about ignoring her here.)

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      1. Sam Ambreen @SamAmbreen
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        Ok. I’m gonna apologise to @wmarybeard because I cannot find any evidence online of racism. I sent out a reactionary tweet and I apologise

        Hello there Miche – I’d just like to present to you Exhibit B. Evidence that Sam does like to call people racists, when there is no evidence for that accusation. .. and then she does a bit of a grovel and expects to be forgiven. And I’m told she usually is. How many times as Sam done this? I mean.. hey.. everyone’s got to have a hobby but hurling out false accusations is rather a dangerous one.

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  1. Oh Dear, how frustrating. That in itself is part of the problem – when someone (real life or online) appears to be a genuine “seeker” or someone who understands who’s wanting to learn and grow. After spending alot of time and energy engaging with them, the sting comes when you realise that they never really wanted to learn or change at all. There was an example of just this on Twitter last night I saw. It’s exhausting, but folks do it because, well hope.

    Having said that, online, there are people who watch from the sidelines and while the message may not be meant for them, they do hear/see it, do learn, so energy-willing, it’s never “time wasted.” Doesn’t make it any less energy-sapping though. 😦

    This latest episode has “flushed out” alot of folks for who and what they really are. I despair that feminism seems to be moving in this direction, but personally I could never, ever accept a feminism that expects unity (and loyalty to those already the most privileged amongst women) at the expense of further marginalisation for some. Nope.

    Keep on keepin on.

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      1. Sam Ambreen @SamAmbreen
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        Ok. I’m gonna apologise to @wmarybeard because I cannot find any evidence online of racism. I sent out a reactionary tweet and I apologise

        Where was your solidarity and love when you made a public false allegation that Mary Beard was a racist? It wasn’t there was it? HOWEVER, when SHE was gracious enough to accept your apology and forgive you, she did show solidarity and… if not love… a certain tolerance towards you. And yet. She is what you say that you hate. A white feminist.
        Ever thought of learning from your mistakes? If so, you owe me an apology for the false allegations that you have made against me. To call me a “White Supremacist”, is not legal. I have no dealings with any white supremacist organisations in the past, present or future. But you are happy to post this lie on your blog… and follow it up with “Solidarity and Love”

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      2. Wow. Have you been lying awake thinking about this since our last run in? Move on, the rest of the world has.

        For my part I would just LOVE it if you sued me. I am waiting patiently for my opportunity to get it down in black and white, all official like, how a huge part of my ill health/disabilities can be attributed to the hell that is life as an immigrant in this not at all racist country. How white people are free to rape and abuse and threaten to kill people of colour like myself (if you’d read past your fixation with me you’d know this), for which they get rewarded with TV contracts and seats in parliament and a free pass to abuse and stalk women of colour online in the name of reason and white supremacy, in the streets, (actually murdering women for looking Muslim now y’know?) and y’all will happily deny it and blame it on all the black men.

        At every conceivable level white people control our lives, flouting every single one of our human rights, from reproductive and domestic (cutting us off first at the first lack of funding) to freedom of expression, thought and association. The standards to which you hold us to are impossible and lead to many of us dying, killing ourselves because this existence is so unbearable.

        It is telling that you are more concerned with the fact your name appears on the internet with some rather damaging words than the chronic conditions I have been battling for a few years now. You’re saying it’s about Mary Beard but do you really expect me to believe you’re this slow to the party? I was put through hell for one false accusation yet no action for the intolerable abuses I am subjected to, how many laws broken, I don’t even know. I’m housebound, I don’t feel safe on these streets. I’ve had enough of white people staring at me in the street for a lifetime. I am not the little Asian girl you assume I am, when you stand in my personal space, at the supermarket or online. You do not let me grieve about my past because you are too busy trying to save me whilst you demonise the ones who dress differently and can’t speak your language. I am sick of having to second guess how racist any given white person is. Whether I’ve got one that’ll be impressed by my superior music knowledge (Pink Floyd is like so not just a middle aged white man ting) and let me sit at their table or one that’ll bud bud me whilst sober but launch a beer can at my head once they’ve downed it.

        Take me to court. Let me tell them how I have CPTSD which is in part caused by the very abusive life I’ve had but is constantly maintained by the people of this wonderful island. I want the chance to tell my story, how I cannot be racially abused on the bus again because I might shatter too small I can’t fix myself back together again. I want to tell everyone about the mistakes that my peers and critics make and compare them to the one incident people keep holding up against me, even when it’s been months since anyone else even gave a shit. Perhaps that is why you’re back here giving me shit. Perhaps you’re rattled by the fact that people are hearing me, that they are finally understanding my rage and don’t hold things against me when they can see where they’re coming from. The ones who get that I’m medicated because of all of this violence. The ones who understand that medication sometimes induces a brain fog (rather that than suicide, my friend) and totally could have made a similar mistake. Fact is, there was a racist on Question Time but it wasn’t Mary Beard, it was David Starkey. Go on, take me to court so I can talk about the horrific racism that went down in that episode.

        It’s bizarre that you thought this was going to have some kind of silencing effect. You have in fact confirmed what I have always thought of you all along (not that I’ve thought about you a single time since now and when you last fucked up). You are, on paper, a white woman threatening a disabled woman of colour, currently recovering from an episode brought on by CPTSD and various other disorders brought on by my very fight for survival. Let me tell them how people like you won’t let me move on, won’t let me grieve and heal in peace. How the stitches in my wounds aren’t fully dry before they’re picked out again by people hellbent on making me relive my hells, over and over again.

        Cross me if you really want to. Go for it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Sam Ambreen @SamAmbreen
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      Ok. I’m gonna apologise to @wmarybeard because I cannot find any evidence online of racism. I sent out a reactionary tweet and I apologise

      Hello there Wild…. just thought you’d enjoy Sam apologising to Mary Beard. She accused her of being a racist, without any evidence, and then had to grovel… Interesting isn’t it?

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      1. I think this obsession with ONE mistake (not a false accusation but a mistake made in good faith which was immediately apologised for, something most people would probably consider admirable frankly but there we are) proves the point of Sam’s blog beautifully.

        There are feminists, like many of those she writes about, who make fuck up after fuck up. They are allowed mistake after mistake after mistake; it’s a misunderstanding, they just didn’t realise, they didn’t intend any offence, they didn’t know cultural appropriation was a thing, they didn’t realise that word had that connotation, they just hadn’t happened to have any black women on that particular panel, they didn’t mean to use an ableist word, they didn’t realise that particular line of reasoning was transphobic and so on and so on and so on.

        Here you are defending them.

        And Sam makes ONE mistake. And apologises, immediately. And Mary Beard immediately accepts it. Because she’s a grown up and that’s what people do when a mistake is made.

        And here you are obsessively banging on about it. Over and over.

        Well. That’s the entire point Sam makes isn’t it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Sam – Some people I work alongside have looked at these comments, and they strongly suggest that I take some action in removing myself from this online debate. Do you have a webmaster that I can contact about this?
    I’m not going to comment on the “defamation of character” remarks hurled in my direction.. because hey – whatever makes you happy, you go for it – but for legal reasons, I need to do something about this.
    So your co operation would be gratefully received.
    And in future, you need to be aware that an online verbal attack and false accusation, is not a good idea. Be careful out there good people and take care. Robin Brunskill

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    1. So Robin you spent a year ‘doing some research’ and that’s what you came up with? …. Shame on you. Do you have ANY awareness whatsoever about racism and white supremacy? No, clearly not. Instead you choose to attack a WoC writing critical, valuable blog posts about subjects of which many are her *direct experience*. I am disgraced by your comments and hope you find the sense to cease, at the *very least*.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t understand either Miche. Someone either needs help dealing with their issues or I’m being trolled by some last ditch type who can’t understand why I’m still on the net. I dunno. I don’t really care though.

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