So yesterday I talked about the inherent hypocrisy of White feminists who demand my time and energy, who are also very into #givewomenyourmoney except when it comes to WOC. Read that here.
Today I want to talk the emotional impact of this behavior.
Some of y’all might not know, but I started out blogging and learning to write non fiction by being a Fat Acceptance/body politics blogger. See my archive here. There is an adult content warning, but that was due to me saying fuck a lot and having fat hating trolls.
I promise I’ll talk about blogging to teach yourself non fiction writing some other time.
Now, I was very into doing this. I have studied body politics and fat acceptance since I was about 20.
During the years I spent blogging there, once I reached a certain threshold of audience size I started finding my words and my work lifted. I found it in other blogs, quoted, etc never with attribution. I chalked that up to writing on the internet, but then in the last say 3-4 years of me blogging there, I saw some folks getting book deals (remember when that was the thing?) and I didn’t want that so I ignored it.
Until I started finding my work used in books that people got paid to write, without proper attribution. I found more than one book both academic and not where a bunch of fatty bloggers were named and attributed, except me. The ONE Black writer/blogger quoted (quite heavily in some instances) without my name. No one asked my permission. No one paid me.
During this time was when I started to see and understand the depth and breadth of this type of intellectual felony theft. I saw it go down with big name White feminists who not only made money off the backs of Black women bloggers, but who then gaslight them, and turned their fans on them etc.
At the time all I could do was talk about it and witness.
Now fast forward to me being a kinda established writer.
Well established enough that people I don’t know to this day will send me notes about seeing my work used, my voice co-opted etc.
People get angry on my behalf. My best friend gets more angry when this happens then I see her over most anything.
And frankly most days I can’t even get mad anymore because I KNOW damn well that the people who think it’s okay to use my work to help sell their body image workshops, or to bolster their whatever don’t give a fuck.
They ALL identify as staunch feminists.
However, not when it comes to one Black woman.
My voice is good enough to be used, cited and stolen, but not good enough to say my name.
Now real talk.
This above all other things, I’m talking being trolled, being threatened, being told how much I suck and how fun it is to hate read my work, how terrible of a person I am etc doesn’t even touch how this theft makes me feel.
It is a toxic mix of powerlessness and just desperate sadness.
I am not famous. I’m not wealthy and most of the time all I want to know is WHY am I good enough to be used but not granted solidarity? How is my work good enough to merit, academic reference, but not my name?
Like it just hurts so bad in a way that I can’t even identify completely.
It hurts me on a level that most of the time I’m afraid to even go near because it burns.
Every time it happens all I can think about are the times when I’ve not had lunch money, I’ve not been able to pay for my partner’s medication. I think about the fact that my non winter weight coat is fleece and falling apart, but I’m afraid to spend the money for a new one.
I think of the fact that only two pairs of my pants fit and Fall is coming.
The worst is this.
Beyond the money that someone might as well have taken out of my purse, I think about this.
I have a book coming out this month.
It is the first book from MotherBlazing and a huge leap of faith in me and my voice and my work.
Shit, I hate to even admit this but here we go.
I’m afraid nobody (except for a few beloved long time readers) will buy my book because, well, my work is good enough to steal but not good enough to pay for.
I feel that way often, but the continual theft makes it worse.
It makes it worse that when I act on the boundaries I set for me and my work (something I had to fight for) I get bothered. I get White women telling me I’m a racist, that I personally am responsible for racism. That I am fucking up feminism.
And it never matters what I say or how I say it so keep the respectability politics in your own yard.
I can say hey, can you please not do this thing?
I can say, hey fuck you don’t do the fucking thing.
And it fucks me up.
It fucks me up bad enough that sometimes I feel frozen in place. I have SO much to say, but I’m hesitant because what if I have to get Google alerts to tell me it’s stolen? Do I want to keep feeling like I’m not even worth a fucking THANK YOU?
Rationally, I know I am worth it. My work is pretty fucking good. I do what I need to do.
But it’s in there.
And I hate it.
So this is why I stopped blogging other than here. This is why I do not like engaging with or generally dealing with White feminists at all.
I am not a big crying person.
But this, this whole thing all of it is what makes me cry.
This is what puts fear into my writing.
This is what I feel like fetters me in ways I am not entirely equipped to say.
SO next time you want to tell a WOC that we’re the problem, maybe think of me. I know for a fact that I am not the only one to have this happen time and time again.
I will continue to try and not let this hold me down.
I have a wonderful book coming out and working with my publisher has been amazing.
I am fucking reading at a Big. Fucking. Deal events because people enjoy my work.
I had my first uh, writing related business meeting in person and it was fucking awesome.
That’s all I can do right now.
I hope it’s enough to get me through.