Debate Magazine

Who I Am? Complaining About Having Nothing to Complain About and Other Stories by the White, Working-class Woman.

Posted on the 03 October 2013 by Humanwriter @roseforman
A woman I went to university with has the unenviable challenge of being a walking advertisement for minorities. She has it all covered: Asian, Muslim, Female, Gay. She is an incredible campaigner for not one, but all these minorities and can frequently been seen or heard (or tweeted) at various rallies and protests. She has something to fight for and she really does fight for it!

Who I am? Complaining about having nothing to complain about and other stories by the white, working-class woman.

Protesting at the Slut Walk in London, 2011

But this lead me to think: Who am I? Yes, I know: 'first world problems', I'm going to complain about not having anything to complain about. I am a white, working class, woman. So what's my problem? Can I campaign for gay rights, despite not being gay myself? Can I call for an end to Islamophobia even though I am white? What can I believe in?
I recently wrote a PhD proposal on the Westernisation of Islamic states and was told that it wouldn't be an appropriate topic for me to write on as I am not an expert on the subject. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a PhD supposed to make you the 'expert'? As it stands, I have studied human rights and politics for 5 years and wrote a very nice Master's dissertation on the rights of women in Islamic states, yet, apparently, I am not qualified to write about this to PhD level. Would this be the same if I was a Muslim woman? If I had Islamic family members? Perhaps that would make me an 'expert'?
So what's left? What do I focus my life's studies on? The rights of women in rural England, perhaps? I want to be able to use the knowledge I gained in my degrees to help people, but who are those people? I care about the pressures faced by Islamic women and gay people in society, I care about people who are oppressed by their religion/society/government (and in many cases, other governments)... so how do I become the authority on this subject!?

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