Breaking the browngurl code
This goes out to the circle of daughters of immigrants, beautiful muslim women in my friend group who feel like the fuck ups and weirdos of our fams, the sluts, dykes and partiers who wear abayas at the mosque and hit a bong together after
Who sneak out in tunics but wear booty shorts to the club
Who want so badly to be the women their families want them to be but keep falling short
There is an unspoken brown gurl code between us that is vital to our survival. We know:
-thou shalt not reveal your sisters’ “sins” to aunties, mosque goers, MSA officials, haraam policers, and most of all parents! Under no circumstances is it ok for you to approach xy’s mama in the masjid and tell her, “You know, I used to be friends with your daughter until I discovered some of her life choices” as a way to get at her. So manipulative and it will most likely fuck up her life bigtime. Just don’t.
-deny all evidence. For example, my dad told me he saw one of my Good Muslim friends holding hands with a b o y on campus the other day. “Does this mean she has a boyfriend? I should tell her parents, no?” I immediately respond “Nope impossible no such thing never would she ever.” Regardless.if she did or not. You never reveal crushes or relationships because even though we are in our late teens and early twenties, we are still monitored by our communities. Once my sister was turned in by a Mormon neighbor who saw her holding hands with a boy in the mall and the next two years of her life were hell. Her secret rendezvous were revealed to the community, she was shamed and humilated, grounded for two months and broke bonds of trust in our family that still haven’t healed. Which later led my parents to control my teenage years with an iron fist as result. It’s not just gossip-it can be hugely triggering and harmful if you rat out your friends partners. Or tag them on Facebook in posts that say they’re queer and with so-and-so. Then act like it’s their fault for not complying to western rituals of “coming out” and living a fractured life. Fractured life can kiss my ass.
-More on social networking: don’t explicitly post those ratch photos of your fellow brown gurls gittin it when we already know you are friends with aunties or your parents watch your fb page. We all know privacy settings dont do shit.
-if you have a secret safe house for one of your girls to get away from parents who are tracking her do not fucking reveal the location to her parents because you think it’s in the best interest of her safety! What’s in the best interest of her safety is protecting her from manipulative parents who guilt her into coming back into an abusive home time after time and publically shame her for being in “deviant relationships.” I know this is oddly specific but this has happened MULTIPLE times with my sister’s friends by people they thought they trusted in the community
-if you get caught do NOT point to your friends as the reason for your partying/queerness/immodesty/smoking pot. Turning in a laundry list of their misdeeds to make yours seem small in comparison is fucked up and selfish
-dont “out” your friends to people. Ever. Or criticize them for being “hypocritical muslims” just because they exist in conventially deviant ways. Low blow. That’s not up to you to judge in the end. You can still be an amazing person-a trustworthy, humble, honest muslim and do all those things listed above. You can also be a conventionally “good” practicing muslim and be an all around horrible person too. Just a reminder.
-don’t assume, but always watch out. Meaning if you know your fellow brown gurl is drunk out of her mind and being led to the bathroom by that creepy guy who grabbed her ass earlier, tell him you have to tell her something important asap and casually pull the situation away. Or if your friend who you know is in a long term loving relationship and is gonna hookup with that stoner dude because she’s lost it, its ok to remind her of her girlfriends name just once or twice. There’s a difference between judging your gurls’ choices and encouraging them to steer away from the shit that may harm them hugely in the long run
-love each other, unconditionally. There will be drama. There will be turn-ins and turnt up fuckery but it in the end you gotta love each other, keep each other in check, don’t blame each other for the depression and the self destructive behavior but seek help. Don’t make fun of your sister for not being able to put in a tampon even though she’s 22 cos she was socialized to think tampons are for whores. Respect where you come from but don’t give into that Western individualism bullshit either. You are a tribe, a village, a community. You maybe frustrated and exhausted but your complexities are what make you so fucking beautiful. Plus everyone knows that when we brown gurls enter the room we freak up the dance floor like no other, laughing at the people who think they’re holding our asses in place, whispering “Grind baby grind,” while we twerk and bellydance with each other,
shaking our asses for the institutions tryna keep us chained down, for the times we’re called exotic or ghetto or too white or too smart or treated like ethnic commodities, at the parents, cultures, and religious practices we know and love, for the humble beginnings, for speaking Urdu, Turkish, Wolof, Arabic, Bengali, Kurdish, Hindi at home but still being able to communicate, for the times we’ve hit rock bottom, for the times when we’ve held each other in our arms and sobbed like children, we shake our asses knowing,
Fuck that. I’m not even doing this for them. I’m doing this for my girls. I’m doing this for me.
This is a lot more - I don’t know the word, explicit? Direct? Sexual? - than I would choose to put the issue, but it is certainly a courageous piece of writing that addresses something that a rather lot of women I know must go through. More power to syriaslyradical for her opinion, cuz she’s telling it like it is.
I remember talking to A about something like this - and also to my MSA girls at home (Tufts). I can’t stand it when people judge a fellow Muslimah for her life choices. So she wears shorts? Is in a committed, loving relationship with someone? Is in an uncommitted, sort of dating relationship with anyone? Likes to party? Drinks champagne? And she goes to Jummah prayers every Friday? And she fasts every day of Ramadan?
That does not scream “hypocrite” to me. That’s someone strong enough to know what she wants and to know her relationship with Allah (SWT) and to love her Islam - which, even if it’s not the same as yours, is still divine and sacred and true. That’s someone strong enough to accept herself even when no one else in her community or her family does. That’s someone going through a hell of a lot right there - something that will leave (and probably already has left) indelible scars on her personality and her mental state and her beautiful, soulful heart. That is someone who needs love but can’t get it, someone who is so incredibly fragile and yet so superhumanly strong at the same time.
That girl - the “slut” who’s in a committed relationship and beat herself up for half a year about it, the “slut” who wears shorts over her swimsuit to the beach because that’s modest enough for her, the “slut” (really, I feel like all Muslim girls who deviate are just labeled the “slut”) who just wants to take one dance class (these are all real life examples, by the way) - that girl is not hypocritical. What is hypocritical? The tattlers, the judges, the backbiters, the people who can’t open their minds enough to accept a girl who’s struggling and trying to find her own way, and choose instead to screw with her already tentative state (mind you, many young women find themselves in various states of depression and anxiety from this).
A lot of people like to belittle the struggle of “that girl” because it seems, to them, like stupid hormonal shit. But this shit is real, and it hurts those who are going through it - most of the time, “that girl” is a young woman grappling with the near possibility of being alienated by her own family, her own people, everything she cares about most in the world. Do you know what that feels like? Yes, you - the tattler, the judger, the snide-remark-er, the holier-than-thou-er. No? I thought so.
So please. Keep your nose, your ears, your mouth, your everything - out of her business.