Black Women and Twerking: Why Its Creators Face Bigotry That Miley Cyrus Never Will


Twerking, just like everything else that is specifically known to Black women is the latest thing for Whites to try to appropriate while simultaneously trying to police and shame its originators for doing it at all. Whites (and some Blacks as well) are approaching it with the typical White supremacist approach of overly applauding and worshiping whomever is the latest popular spoiled irritant of a White human being to try to do it, which in this case would be Miley Cyrus. Unlike when something Black men, or both Black men and Black women created/do is appropriated, where some Black men are bothered by the appropriation (i.e. The Harlem Shake), once it’s specific to Black women, some Black men no longer care and applaud and worship any and all non-Black (and especially White) women engaged in the appropriation. The latter is also a facet of White supremacy (and male privilege).

While the sheer act of someone who isn’t Black woman twerking doesn’t bother me theoretically, I don’t like its practical manifestation in a White supremacist society. The typical worship (by EVERYONE, even including some Black women) of anyone who isn’t a Black woman doing it, the mocking of Black women’s distress about it and indulging in entitlement and arrogance about the appropriation is the problem. It’s never just people “having fun.” Their “fun” always comes at a huge price for Black women (and Black culture)—reinforcing race and gender hierarchies.

Cultural appropriation itself is a cycle and also a tool of psychological warfare and erasure in a White supremacist society. As Paulo Freire writes:

The oppressor consciousness tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination. The earth, property, production, the creations of people, people themselves, time—everything is reduced to the status of objects at its disposal.

Once the conversation is about Black women and twerking, the bigotry comes out in full force. I do not accept this bigotry.

No, I do not accept the sexism—the belief that something of interest to women irrespective of male attention or valuation/devaluation is automatically stupid and not worth doing or discussing.

No, I do not accept the misogyny—the notion that twerking can only be self-degrading since it cannot exist for any purpose outside of the dehumanizing gaze of men who choose to only see women as sexual objects, not full human beings engaging in a creative dance with a long Black history.

No, I do not accept the misogynoir—the notion that Black women twerking is “lewd” and “degrading” but White women doing (or trying to do) the exact same dance is “cute” and “classy” and that they should cash in, in attention, praise or actual money (i.e. teaching classes) on twerking while pretending that they do not know the racial double standard here. White privilege is why they can both appropriate and feign ignorance over the magnitude of what this appropriation is. White privilege is why they can continue to dehumanize Black women (while some simultaneously demand loyalty to a White supremacist feminist agenda, versus the intersectional feminism/womanism that we know) by pretending that we are solely objects to emulate—costumes to put on out of interest and then take off if situations get too sticky or portraying a certain form of Whiteness becomes more important or profitable. (See: Justin Timberlake, the male version of this).

No, I do not accept the misogynoir and predictable hypocrisy by Black men—the same ones who were angry about Whites appropriating The Harlem Shake (since Black men do this dance too) but write Black women off as “jealous” for commenting on the double standard regarding twerking (since Black men view this as a dance for women). Male privilege. The same ones who only have an issue with Whites when it is perceived to specifically impact Black men or all Black people, versus solely Black women, are the type of Black men that I’m speaking of. The same ones who endlessly excuse racism from famous White women (but never from a White man of any status) simply because they chase and sleep with non-famous White women are the type of Black men that I’m speaking of. 

No, I do not accept the racist sexist classism—the idea that only “poor” and “ghetto” Black women dance this way, thus making it a “shameful” dance unless absolutely anyone of a different social status does it.

No, I do not accept the ageist sexism—the idea that only women of a certain age should dance this way and anyone arbitrarily too young is being a “whore” and anyone arbitrarily too old is being “immature.”

No, I do not accept the framing through the politics of respectability—the idea that this “shames” Black women in front of White people, and nothing matters more than the White gaze (which is racist because of WHO we are, not WHAT we do or do not do, anyway) and the pathway to White approval, which never comes nor should be a goal in the first place.

No, I do not accept the Christian theist idea, shaped by patriarchy, sexism and misogynoir—that somehow twerking—a dance with African roots no less—is somehow “evil” and thus wrong, when it is in fact White supremacist religious views, originally force-fed, now willingly embraced, that shapes Black intraracial opinions on dancing and writes off anything with Black roots, especially precolonial roots as “evil.”

No, I do not accept the White supremacist feminist rhetoric—that autonomy over one’s person, expression and sexuality as a woman, should only apply to White women, and in the case of Black women, doing the same thing is “unfeminist” (not a real concept in the first place as it implies feminist absolutism as a destination, not the journey and praxis that it is) or anti-feminist (which would only be true if feminism is solely gendered White supremacy). I reject the idea that Black women should exist solely as objects for White women to emulate or disdain while simultaneously shaming, to mask their White supremacist thought and endless White privilege, especially considering the history of Black bodies as objects of White power, profit and pleasure.

A part of Alice Walker’s definition of womanism includes “loves dance” because of the very freedom that comes with creative and cultural expression with meaning and history, that’s also fun and includes the confidence that comes with physical, sexual and emotional autonomy.

How rare is it for twerking to be discussed…or actually anything involving what Black women do, think, say, write, create, believe or are…without bigotry, and sloppy, one-dimensional bigoted ideas as the basis of the discussion or the “critique?”

For Miley, appropriation is “fun” and games; Black women are costumes or “big booty hos” to her, not human beings. For Whites and Blacks/other people of colour, it can be viewed this way too, without context and disregarding the truth because of White supremacy; it allows such ignorance. I don’t have the luxury of disregarding the truth since I, as a Black woman, am the target of such bigotry. And, it will never be acceptable.

Related Posts: White Responses To Black Creativity, Regarding The White “Harlem Shake”, White Women and White Privilege: Telling Them NO

I keep seeing people use the term “TRAP” to describe a transgender female… And it is SO INFURIATING!


Even a few trans-friendly blogs are using it to tag photos of trans individuals.

Several trans people on the net have this to say about the term (an amalgam of various comments I have found):

Transsexuals try to pass for their real genders to be themselves and camouflage themselves from transphobes who may want to kill them for being transsexual, not to trap straight people attracted to non-trans members of their gender.

"The entire trap thing is a stinking pile of transmisogyny. It undermines our identity and attempts to invalidate the gender we live as. It is the root of the trans-panic defense and generally offensive to every trans person I know. The whole thing is so that straight dudes don’t have to deal with the fact that they are actually attracted to a transperson.

"TL;DR we fucking hate it."

"I hate that one. I am not a ‘trap.’ This is mostly done by men who are terrified of finding out that a pretty girl might have a penis, which in turn threatens masculinity, etc., etc.

"It makes it seem like my entire identity is wrapped up in ‘fooling’ straight men. Which, no."

"…I’m a trans woman and I find it pretty offensive. I date men, and I’m constantly struggling against the idea that I’m somehow out to trick them into sleeping with a guy.

"The whole trap meme pretty much boils down to the exact same attitude, treating trans women like they’re really men, and anyone who was attracted to the woman in the picture has been tricked or trapped.

"I don’t think it’s funny, and that attitude is not only horribly demeaning, but downright dangerous in that it encourages people who find out I’m trans to feel that they’re right in feeling trapped or tricked."


"…The idea that trans women are fooling men into sleeping with a man is what leads to so many trans women being beaten or killed when people find out their status."

It is so sickening to see people okay with this term, especially transgender individuals, who are directly harmed by this stereotype.

People are claiming it is a term brought about by anime/manga to describe cross-dressers (VERY different from transgender individuals, aduh) who trick men into sleeping with them under the pretense that they are females. THAT right there is proof enough that the term comes with a negative connotation!

Why continue using it?! Bring an end to it!


My response (written hastily and out of anger. If any of it is wrong, let me know. Please to not reblog and insult me, I was doing my best to have conherent thoughts in the face of such an insult @ 3am. Everyone makes mistakes - allow my to correct it.):

All of you dumb fuckers need to get one thing straight: TRANSGENDER individuals and CROSS-DRESSERS are not the same. nor are TRANSVESTITES synonymous.

Let’s go to school:

I am a transgender female. I know of which I speak. Here goes::

TRANSGENDER: an individual born one SEX who mentally identifies with the OTHER. Their GENDER is, say, female, while their biological SEX is male. GENDER does NOT equal SEX. One is mental, one is biological. Get that straight NOW. (ant. CISGENDER).

TRANSVESTITE: an individual who gets sexual gratification from wearing the clothing of the opposite sex. Most often men wearing female clothing. Can be gay, straight, bisexual, cisgender, transgender etcetcetc. But the term ONLY applies to one who GETS OFF wearing articles of clothing of the other SEX.

CROSS-DRESSERS can be transvestites but are nore commonly viewed as entertainers: DRAG QUEENS, etcetc. Heightened, exaggerated femininity in most cases, but some just like to dress up for the hell of it, be it sexual or not.

USE these terms CORRECTLY.

A cross-dresser not offended by TRAP is perfectly normal, because they essentially ARE traps, if you;re going out of your way to have sex with straight men. You are cisgender (in most cases) and idenfity as male! You are not identifying as a female, stuck in a male’s body (in some cases) trying to be with a man. You could never understand the level of rejection, fear, and isolation a transgirl feels at this!

TRANSGENDER individuals are the ONLY ONES who have the RIGHT to claim if a term is offensive to them or not. I see people saying “Oh, I’m a crossdresser, trap doesn’t offend me.”

NO SHIT DUMB ASS, because you are not directly hurt by it does not mean a thing. It is widely used IN ENGLISH to refer to transgirls. SO They are the ones allowed to be offended by what is OBVIOUSLY a very derogatory word, said with derision and used as transphobic hate defenses.

That’s like a white person saying “Nigger doesn’t offend me” or even if it does, WHO CARES. You could NEVER comprehend the fear, dysphoria, etc that one person has when they are enduring the struggles attributed to them by that one powerful word.

It is just a word, but it has SO MUCH power to wound.

I do not give a fuck if it is a term in Japanese cartoons that STILL fetishize and OBJECTIFY this minority group: Listen to how people say it in ENGLISH, the way it is said, and THEN tell me it is innocuous. You will be WRONG.

Pull your nerdy ass face out of a goddamn manga and do some real research before you even make a single comment about a term and what it refers to/who is offends. Stop reading these books that humiliate, objectify, fetishize and victim-blame trans individuals. It promotes harmful stereotypes and facilitates trans-misogyny. END IT. 



“As a Muslim feminist woman of color, I cannot relate to Slutwalks as it caters mostly to the definition of emancipation set by white women. Slutwalks deviate in terms of delivering the message against sexual assault. It turns a blind eye to women of cultures where flimsy clothes don’t necessarily lead to rapes. Muslim women get raped too. Nassim Elbardouh is right. “Do Not Rape” Walk sounds better. This isn’t to say that I don’t support Slutwalks. I simply can’t relate to a liberating movement that does not liberate nor acknowledge me. Western feminism, despite its undeniable achievements, still perpetuates the image of a white woman as the liberated one. If these feminists do claim to represent all women, they need to understand the dynamics of the cultures other women hail from. Don’t care if you’re wearing a thong or burka, no one has the right to rape you. Burka clad brown Muslim women get raped too. Represent us. I want a movement that represents me regardless of my color and creed. End victim blaming and rape culture by representing everyone.”

Mehreen Kasana via twitter on Slutwalks (via rickdickulousbooty)


The Siren is a student-produced publication at UNC-Chapel Hill that promotes a feminist perspective on issues surrounding gender, identity, sexuality and human rights.

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[Text] “When you grow up as a girl, the world tells you the things you are supposed to be: emotional, loving, beautiful, wanted. And when you are those things, the world tells you they are inferior: illogical, weak, vain, empty.” -Stevie Nicks.

I have no trouble believing that Justin Timberlake was not familiar with Take Back the Night, but on the internet, with great access comes great accountability, which means that for most people, being ‘unaware’ of an organization’s existence is no longer an excuse.

Lindsay Zoladz revisits Justin Timberlake’s Take Back the Night controversy in her latest Ordinary Machines column.  (via pitchfork)


Unsurprisingly, Nietzsche never married.

(You can find what could be the weirdest misogynist claim in all of Philosophy at §234 of Beyond Good and Evil)


Woman: So what do you do, Friedrich? 

Nietzsche: I’m a philosopher!

Woman: All philosophers I read claim that philosophy is a man’s trade and that women belong in the kitchen!

Nietzsche: Not me! I think that women need to get out of the kitchen!

Woman: Oh, I am glad to…

Nietzsche: ….because they are too stupid to cook!

Nothing has retarded the development of mankind more than bad female cooks!

You’d think thousands of years in the kitchen would teach them basic physiological facts, but no!


In her Honours study of the gendered patterns in a school of music, sociologist Amy Loudin found that, when listening to music, male musicians were more likely to focus on technical issues. Yet when listening to pieces conducted by a woman, they were more likely to judge it based on their perception of her mood, and in so doing, they commented on her violation of gender norms. They said things like, “Well, she’s pissed about something” and “That was really aggressive.” Women’s gender was the focus of their interpretation and critique. One musician says: “I don’t want to say this in a bad way, but she’s a woman.”
The women focused on memory when interpreting music, evoking examples of remembering other experiences: “It reminded me of what would be playing in the opening credits of an old movie,” and “It reminds me of ‘Night on the Bald Mountain.’” Loudin also found that women were under-represented amongst faculty members and as clinicians, conductors and composers. The women who entered the highly masculine fields, such as percussion, felt like they were given feminine instruments, like the bells. Overall, women’s contribution was under-valued, however, they were featured in recital advertising in a sexualised way. 
This is an absolutely wonderful example visual sociology! Made in collaboration with artist Courtney Leonard. 
Image via Behance. High-res

In her Honours study of the gendered patterns in a school of music, sociologist Amy Loudin found that, when listening to music, male musicians were more likely to focus on technical issues. Yet when listening to pieces conducted by a woman, they were more likely to judge it based on their perception of her mood, and in so doing, they commented on her violation of gender norms. They said things like, “Well, she’s pissed about something” and “That was really aggressive.” Women’s gender was the focus of their interpretation and critique. One musician says: “I don’t want to say this in a bad way, but she’s a woman.”

The women focused on memory when interpreting music, evoking examples of remembering other experiences: “It reminded me of what would be playing in the opening credits of an old movie,” and “It reminds me of ‘Night on the Bald Mountain.’” Loudin also found that women were under-represented amongst faculty members and as clinicians, conductors and composers. The women who entered the highly masculine fields, such as percussion, felt like they were given feminine instruments, like the bells. Overall, women’s contribution was under-valued, however, they were featured in recital advertising in a sexualised way. 

This is an absolutely wonderful example visual sociology! Made in collaboration with artist Courtney Leonard. 

Image via Behance.


“People just use the word as if the word doesn’t have a real definition. So by using the word that has a real definition and just slapping it casually around on, for example, on black men who are standing on the street corner, then that by itself is a problem because remember, the definition of hypermasculinity says that these are men who are very violent, are likely to rape you and are risk takers. The second issue winds up being that people tend to use hypermasculinity in literature as a way to study the behavior of men of color, gay men who are “straight” acting, working class men and Hispanics. You would be hard-pressed to find an article that says let’s look at hypermasculine behavior on Wall Street or let’s look at hypermasculine behavior in white men—they don’t do it. So these groups wind up owning the term because when we’re looking at these particular behaviors, we tend to describe their behavior as hypermasculine, but we don’t describe other populations’ behavior as hypermasculine.”

— Richard Pitt

The 6 Stages Of White Women’s Plagiarism Of Feminist Women Of Colour


Plagiarism itself is common of course, and anyone can engage in it. But when it comes to feminist/progressive writing by women of colour, a very specific type of plagiarism is common. It is top down. It is often done by people with privilege if not privilege and power via the support of institutions such as the mainstream media or the academe. And even when they do not have the support of such institutions, White privilege alone is enough for them to be belligerent and feel entitled to the content while demanding “niceness” from those they’ve taken from. Many Whites engage in tone policing while they are being abusive.

Black women especially experience this type of plagiarism (as I mentioned in Exploitation of Black Women’s Labor…In The Name of Feminism or Justice? Please.) as much of what shapes feminist politics has a Black woman’s work as origin. (I am plagiarized multiple times per week without fail and have mentioned this before in I Could Not Be Any More Tired Of Academia And I Am Not Even A Part Of It.) Black women’s epistemology and Black culture in general are always treated as a picking place for vultures who simultaneously want to use our every expression while not only refusing to cite us but also discrediting us and straight up insulting us. The entitlement to consumption and exploitation of Black culture has a long history where Black cultural production and Black bodies themselves are viewed as products open for a White market at will. Even non-Black people of colour do this to Black people by using this knowledge while being anti-Black, yet many times cannot describe their experiences without this knowledge. Non-Black people of colour can be perpetrators of the exploitation of the cultural production of Black people and not feel accountability is necessary for the same reasons that Whites do. But Whites also engage in this exploitation against other people of colour. Many women of colour, Black and otherwise, have to deal with White plagiarists and the stages of plagiarism. 

By the stages, I mean the common pattern of behavior when Whites are confronted about their plagiarism of women of colour:

  1. They deny that the plagiarism has occurred, even when it is obvious and blatant and other people notice it as well.
  2. They claim that the woman of colour that they plagiarized should be flattered to even be thought “worthy” enough to “deserve” to be plagiarized by someone White. They suggest that plagiarism is “appreciation” yet to actually appreciate someone is to mention them, and this logic is purposely skirted by Whites.
  3. They demand “niceness” and “humility” from the woman of colour that they plagiarized. It’s unacceptable for that woman of colour to be upset despite being exploited. They suggest that her caring about plagiarism is a “mental health” issue about “needing recognition” versus a matter of their own White privilege and actually a matter of the law; plagiarism is actually not legal. I know it’s common. It is still illegal. And Whites who especially are consumed by “legality” when a person of colour is in question sure do not give shit when their own behavior is in question.
  4. They insult. Racial slurs (i.e. anytime I speak of plagiarism, people bring in the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype), coded language only used against women of colour online (i.e “bully,” “toxic,” etc.) and sometimes ableism (the woman of colour who made the content magically becomes “stupid”) comes into play.
  5. They discredit the work itself. Ironically, their plagiarism is based on work that they think…is “stupid?” The mental gymnastics involved in taking work and thinking it is valuable, but thinking its creator is “stupid,” but then if the creator finds out and doesn’t applaud the plagiarism, they’re also “stupid” makes me think of the elaborate social illusions that accompany White supremacy, ones that James Baldwin wrote about so well. 
  6. They turn into the victim. When the White person is a woman, White supremacist, patriarchal constructions of womanhood are evoked where they’re the victim of the “mean ol’” woman of colour who could not politely allow plagiarism to occur. “Delicate damsel” performance occurs. Worse, some will even claim it is “racist” to point out this form of top down plagiarism of feminist/progressive writing happens and plays out this way because of White privilege. They easily move from tyrant to toddler in these situations, trying to maintain control the entire time. At this point, other Whites may join in to gaslight and abuse the woman of colour or make excuses. Sometimes other people of colour join in the abuse as well and make the unequivocally false and nonsensical claim that the woman of colour in question wants “White approval?” Or is “greedy” and a “capitalist” for not wanting to be exploited? Nonsense.

Last night a mutual follow, a woman of colour and queer Muslim feminist @jaythenerdkid (Aaminah Khan) noticed that her tweet and viral quote about men giving women insincere compliments rooted in misogyny was haphazardly plagiarized by various White women. Again, this is very common when it comes to feminist/progressive writing even in the smallest microblogging form, as she uses Twitter for and as many women of colour do. She herself recently wrote about being plagiarized before in her essay If My Words Are Worth Nothing, Why Are You Stealing Them?. These White women will perch in the Twitter streams and blogs of women of colour looking for something as small as a tweet to steal in hopes of increasing their attention on Twitter or something as large as exploiting major conversations among Black and other women of colour and turning them into profit for their own mainstream media platforms or blatant content trolling and plagiarizing for their articles on feminism. Again, common and old activity here. 

Once @jaythenerdkid confronted those White women, they followed the stages listed above to perfection. I supported her and spoke to some of these White women and advised them that they could share the content that they think is great without plagiarizing. It’s actually easier to use the retweet button or reblog button than to make a new tweet or a new post and take the content and pretend that they created it. It actually takes less time to do the former. They of course acted dominating and entitled at first and then switched to “delicate damsel” phase. This reminded me that @bad_dominicana alluded to how White women use their perceived “softness” as a weapon because of how White supremacy works in their favor. This is the pre-cursor to full-fledged White Tears™. Women of colour have no such luxury and Black women especially do not as we are not assumed to even be human enough to have nuanced emotions or feel pain

There is no excuse to be made for this unless the person making the excuse is ready to defend White supremacy. And suggesting "well as long as the knowledge gets out there" does not address the question of why must the thoughts, ideas and cultural productions of women of colour be taken and are only acceptable from a White woman? No one can answer that without defending White supremacy. No one can explain why can’t the "knowledge get out there" attached to its creator and still matter? Why is it only good when when the woman of colour involved is erased? White supremacy and the notion that knowledge is not even knowledge unless it comes from someone White is why; period. 

I tire of this cycle. I tire of the entitlement and petulant tantrums by Whites who feel entitled to the work of women of colour. It doesn’t matter if it is a single tweet (i.e. in @jaythenerdkid's case) or if it is a full essay (as it has happened many times to me and to so many other women of colour) or if it is an entire framework (i.e. how White women try to erase "intersectionality" from Kimberlé Crenshaw). It’s unacceptable. The entitlement to the labor of women of colour—and especially Black women since we are regularly viewed as objects of labor and not even as people—needs to stop. It is sickening and especially so coming from people who claim to be about justice, as many of the Whites who do this claim feminism or some other progressive politics. How can you truly desire to dismantle oppressive systems when you perpetuate them by manipulating and silencing the voices and knowledge of women of colour?

Related Essay Compilation: 2013: A Year Of White Supremacy and Racism In Mainstream Feminism

Related Post: How EVERYONE Works Together To Silence Women of Colour’s Critiques of Mainstream Feminism


“I have argued that gender is a social structure. It organizes our entire world. At the individual level we learn who we are and want to be within a world where boys and girls are treated almost as though they were different kinds of creatures. At the interactional level of our expectations for others’ behaviors are filtered through a gender lens (Howard et al. 1996). The cultural rules and cognitive images that give shape substance to our daily lives — especially those rules and images that surround our most intimate relationships — are profoundly attached to our biological sex.”

— - Barbara Risman, Gender as Structure 

Hi Froggie! Do you believe in the friendzone?

Asked by


I believe in something I call “unrequited like.” It’s a less profound version of unrequited love. I think this happens to all genders and it can certainly be disappointing. 

I’ve been on the planet a bit longer than a lot of my followers and maybe I can pass along a few things I’ve learned.

First, if someone has no interest in you. Move on. It will be hard. It might even suck for a while. But trying to win the affection of someone who doesn’t feel that way about you is a big waste of time. You are just going to cause yourself more pain. 

Second, being someone’s friend is not a consolation prize. Friendship is one of the most precious things on earth and should not be discounted into this absurd notion of the “friendzone.”

If you believe in the friendzone you aren’t the “nice guy” you think you are. Women are not objects to be won, and if they reject you, you should respect that. You cannot blame someone for not having feelings for you. It’s like telling someone who doesn’t like brussels sprouts to just start liking them. You cannot magically change their taste buds by saying the right words. 

And lastly, if they offer you friendship, do not accept it if you are just going to be resentful. Either truly be their friend and perform your friend duties with all your heart, or move along. 

In my opinion, if you think you got friendzone’d, you are no friend.

The “friendzone” is a manifestation of the “Nice Guy Syndrome,” the sexist construction that “Women do or should reward niceness with sex.” Read Jay the Nerd Kid’s blog post about the predatory side of the “nice guy” posing as a “friend” to win over a woman, and then retaliating in anger when she is not interested in being more than friends.