I wanted to write something really quick about Nadiya Hussain. We all know who she is – winner of The Great British Bake Off 2015, face of countless great reaction gifs on Twitter and all round Queen of baking.
But what’s been really bothering me the past few weeks is the level of abuse she’s been receiving online. Just to be clear, I’m under no illusion that this abuse has suddenly come out of nowhere. It’s been constant for years now, but lately it seems to have been particularly relentless.
I mean, I get it. She’s a woman, a woman of colour and a woman of colour who wears the hijab. She is everything that Kevin and Sharon living in one of the tiny towns in the UK, with their chicken dippers and ketchup dinners, think is so awfully wrong about this country.
Nadiya has been told to fuck off back to Pakistan (she’s Bengali, just FYI) and told over and over again that she’s oppressed and forced into wearing her ‘stupid’ hijab. Imagine, being told by a total stranger that you’re oppressed and that they know better than you do as to why you wear the hijab. It’s so fucking stupid I just can’t even.
To a lot of these people they don’t see it as abuse. Nadiya is in the public eye and should expect to be called a paki (again, she’s fucking Bengali. Get it right) and blanket statements about how ‘awful’ her religion are fair game.
Nadiya, however, seems to handle this endless tirade remarkably well. She responds to the hate with such class and refuses to give in and let it break her. One person asked her on Twitter why does she even bother responding to the abuse, to which she replied why shouldn’t she? And that’s it. Why shouldn’t she highlight the absolute fuckery she has to put up with everyday?
There comes a time when the whole idea of if you ignore bullies they’ll soon gets bored just doesn’t wash anymore. You just have to put people and their ignorance on blast. It’s not everyday sit down, shut up and put on a brave face.
To the surprise of no one, Twitter has done nothing to combat the abuse Nadiya has been getting. It has a long history of turning a blind eye to racism and sexism when it involves a person of colour (Leslie Jones or Diane Abott anyone?), but Twitter will quickly suspend users who seem to offend white people’s feelings.
I’m just over it, you know? Over brown people like Nadiya, Sadiq Khan and Zayn Malik who embrace “”””BRITISH CULTURE”””” as well as their own heritage and religion and still get shit on. The next time Sadiq Khan tweets something, check his replies. I think I counted paki and terrorist at least 30 times.
In Nadiya’s case I guess the grievance is that a brown woman went and won what is traditionally a white person’s show. A show that, before Nadiya, thought being exotic was adding cinnamon to a cake mixture. And since she won two years ago, she’s stayed winning. Book deals, TV shows and baking a cake for the Queen. The slay is endless.
Narrow minded and bitter people will still call her a paki and telling her to fuck off back to where she came from (which is Leeds, just FYI) but Nadiya continues to be one of the best representations of how Muslims actually exist in pockets all across the country.
It’s encouraging to see that the majority of people celebrate her and all she continues to achieve because her existence as a hijab wearing Muslim woman on prime time TV is so important. And we have to protect her.