Unraveling the Origins of the 'White Girls Do It Better' Hashtag
Nothing screams cultural appropriation more than another white girl using cornrows to give off that super trendy “bad girl” image. Three days ago, Kylie Jenner opened herself up to the firestorm of Internet social activism when she posted a photo on Instragram posing in sweatpants and cornrows captioned, “I woke up like disss.” Luckily, the Internet’s favorite activist and former Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg stepped into the comments to inform Kylie that not only did she not wake up like this, but that her photo perpetuated the cultural appropriation of black women’s hair that Amandla has fought back against for months.
While Kylie’s cornrows have ignited a wider debate, across the Internet a quiet firestorm had been raging through Twitter over the use of a hashtag called #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter. As you can expect, the tweets using this hashtag had been unapologetically racist and divisive yet low-key enough not to make any major waves. That all changed when Amandla commented on Kylie’s photo with a scathing message that read:
"when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter."
With no end in sight to the ongoing debate, the Milk Made office has drafted a primer on the history of this polarizing hashtag.
The Pornographic Beginning
Surprisingly, the porn industry is tied to the origins of the #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter hashtag. Way back in 2013, the hashtag started to gain some prominence as a way of promoting porn that featured white women having sex with black men and was often paired with another unfortunate hashtag called #WhiteGirlWednesday. Both remained pretty lowkey until Friday when shit began to hit the fan and fast.
The Internet Uncovers It (and Goes In)
Just like those nudes you took in high school, the hashtag eventually surfaced and spread like fire across the Internet. A group of black female activists took #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter and tore it to shreds in 140 words or less. People have been using images of Beyonce, gifs of white people crying, and some old-fashioned witty comments to cut like a knife into the thick air of white privilege that had amassed in the hashtag thread over the years. Amidst the resurgence and tearing down of #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter, Kylie posted her photo and set in motion the ongoing celebrity debate being waged by everyone from Justin Bieber and Andy Cohen to 2015’s ruling queen Laverne Cox.
From Divisive to Uniting
As with any look into the underbelly of racism and cultural appropriation in America, it’s important to highlight the positive message being interwoven throughout the ugliness of the hashtag. Scattered throughout tweets about #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter and #BlackGirlsDoItBetter are genuinely heartwarming messages of unity. Users have created new hashtags like #MulticulturalSquad and #AllGirlsDoItBetter and it’s a helpful reminder that in a world where people divide women and force them to compete, it remains possible to unite and appreciate other cultures without dividing and appropriating.