Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things

By Andrea Plaid

Madame Owner/Editrix has nicknamed my new position of Associate Editor as “Tumblr-In-Chief” because I mostly curate–with generous help from said Owner/Editrix–that part of the R’s universe. There I’ve seen some slaying animated gifs on how white privilege works in everyday conversations about race (deliciouskaek, I’m looking at you) to some incredibly brilliant convos on Racism 101 and feminism (too numerous and ongoing to mention).

And then, to paraphrase comedian Katt Williams, something wonderful happens in the Tumblr World: Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things.

Courtesy: Flickr

The funky-fun and ROTFLMAO offspring of the “Sh-t X Says To Y” meme, M.I.A., and Muslimah Media Watch, this Tumblr lacerates the whole Western Feminist Savior Complex  about women of color, as defined by the curator: “The title was made because of the posts about Middle Eastern women being oppressed specifically, but it could be related to all WoC.” (And to make crystal who she includes in the term of “women of color“: “Queer, non-binary, trans* WoC can submit as well!”) The curator chooses to center the Tumblr on Muslim and South Asian women because of the “insane amount of posts that talk about how awful Muslim/South Asian women are being oppressed” when the women themselves may have totally different ideas of what liberation and oppression means for their daily lives.

How OBGDT lays waste to Western feminists thinking that Brown women and girls are waiting to be rescued by them is the photo/faux-National Geographic Narrator caption combo, like this:

 

When I’m not being oppressed, I’m hanging with the Jawas. Courtesy: carriedinakangaroospouch

 

and this:

When I’m not too busy being oppressed, I like to read. Silly Western feminists, thinking I don’t know who Dumbledore is! Courtesy: insanepoet9

 

this:

This despicably oppressed, brown teenage girl likes to stuff her mouth with burgers, while she is out with guys. Courtesy: allonsyidjits

and this:

This is me being doubly oppressed as a black woman in India. I was so glad when I finally held the American bills of freedom and wore tank tops at home, which is obviously related to being more liberated. Courtesy: kaminapan

I love this satiric take(down) of showing that Muslim/South Asian women may not need us Westerners, especially us Western feminists, the way we think we should be needed. As the women are doing things–like, you know, living their lives–the rest of us may need to rethink how we do things…like, you know, say we’re standing up for “women everywhere.”

 

  • Anonymous

    I’m an African-American genderqueer person who is presented as female, and when I’m not being oppresed or erased, I’m Tumblring! ;)

  • Pingback: The White Feminist Savior Industrial Complex « akelapun

  • Pingback: Weekly Feminist Reader

  • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

    While not all Indian women are oppressed the kind of freedom available to the average Indian Woman in India (Indian is an ethnicity and a nationality. I am Indian ethnically but I am british Indian) and indeed some families in the UK is not the same as we expect as a norm. 

    It’s simple. If you are forced to display your independence in other ways then you are not free, because you are being forced to display independence in ways that won’t get ostracised by your community.  

    Not every woman has the freedom of those on the blog and in your photos. In India atleast the women who you have portrayed are in the minority. 

    • Anonymous

       The point of the blog though is about people assuming brown women are immediatly oppressed-Muslim women get this crap all the time.

    • akelapun

      I don’t think doing these things automatically makes these women less oppressed. Nor does not doing them automatically make them less free. The point of the Tumblr isn’t to say, “Look at these brown women wearing jeans and eating ice cream! They have totally attained equality in their respective countries!” Because no, they haven’t. Guess what, neither have American women. Yet for some reason, Western feminists think it’s okay to adopt a condescending and Orientalist attitude towards Middle Eastern and South Asian women. That’s why the idea of “oppressed brown girls” is so damaging — because the next step is always, “Well, we need to save them from their oppression!” No, we don’t. Or as the OP said, at least not in the way we think we need to.

      And that’s why this Tumblr is so great. The point isn’t to diminish women’s struggles. The point is to stop drawing caricatures of Middle Eastern and/or South Asian women — “oppressed” or not.

  • Pingback: GLG Weekly Round-up « girls like giants

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the link. Nice to see women combating the White Savior Industrial Complex and the Western Superiority Complex and taking no prisoners!

    • Anonymous

      Hooray for breaking the mold!

  • http://twitter.com/Sayantani16 Sayantani DasGupta

    Love it! I was also going to refer to Muslims Wearing Things – which is one of my favorites. Must check out Asians notStudying, Diana, thanks!

  • http://dirty-diana.dreamwidth.org/ diana

    Cool! Though I would think the idea is also influenced by (old in Tumblr years, and one sadly defunct) Tumblrs Muslims Wearing Things and Asians Not Studying.

    http://muslimswearingthings.tumblr.com/ http://asiansnotstudying.tumblr.com/ 

  • Kitadiva2

    Love. This. Site.  AS an AA, all I could do was laugh and laugh and empathize. 

  • Anonymous

    There’s also “I Am Oppressed,” which is about Muslim women: http://iamoppressed.tumblr.com