Image by Indi Keith

Meet the Editors: Urooba Jamal

They said I would get addicted. That once was not enough. That it would lead to more and more as I craved more and more.

They were right.

As soon as I had my first hit, I haven’t been able to stop since.

Feminism was my gateway drug to social justice.

It all began when I took a first-year Sociology class and was introduced to the concept of gender. As I took in more and more knowledge of sexism and misogyny, I found myself railing against the patriarchy everyday, sneaking in a bit of feminist theory in all the papers I wrote and the conversations that I had.

But things really escalated when I decided to begin volunteering at a women’s shelter. I soon began mixing with the feminist crowd at the shelter, whom people had warned me about. They’ll influence you with their commitment to anti-violence, they said.

But I didn’t listen.

It was during this time that I realized that I had overdosed on intersectionality without even knowing it. Because as soon as I had started to feel welcome, I learned of their transphobia and racism. The final straw came when one of them made a patronizing and disparaging remark about my hijab.

I left them then and realized my addiction was worsening. I craved even more than before.

Soon thereafter, I discovered Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism. With a near-obsessive fervor, I began to analyze mainstream news coverage of current affairs and international politics, relentlessly bantering about how Othering it was. I took to critiquing imperialism and Western hegemony on a near-daily basis.

Yet, this still didn’t quell my cravings.

It was then when I stumbled upon Audre Lorde, a prolific queer Black feminist. After reading her book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches in one night, from cover to cover, I realized just how knee-deep in I was. There was no denying it — I was now at the stage where I got cold sweats at the mere thought of mainstream, liberal, white feminism.

But I still yet wasn’t prepared for what was to come.

By now I was at the point where I wasn’t just noticing problematic things once or twice a day — most days it was at least once every hour. My friends and family began to worry for me, throwing out concerns of “social justice warrior-ism” and “can’t-even-enjoy-a-movie-with-you-anymore-GOD.”

It was at this time that I enrolled in Benita Bunjun’s Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice class. And it was through this class, where I read many texts by Indigenous authors, such as Patricia Angus-Monture, and came to realize my complicity in Canada’s ongoing colonial project, as a settler on these unceded lands.

This is all part and parcel of how I came to establish The Talon with those who went down the same lifestyle path. ‘Cause they try to make me go to rehab but I won’t go, go, go!

I’m also involved with other illicitly rad activities (illicit under our current normative social, economic and political orders, that is), such as running for Vancouver Park Board  in the upcoming elections with the Coalition of Progressive Electors, the city’s only real leftist party. And by day you’ll find me working at the UBC Global Lounge, selling social justice concepts on the sly. All whilst finishing up my 5th and final year as an International Relations major.

And as I rail against the colonial imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis heteropatriarchy, of course.

Follow me on Twitter (@uroobajamal) and instagram (@uroobaj), and check out my blog.

  • Alberto Alvarez

    This article trivializes addiction, which is highly inappropriate. I suggest you find a new metaphor for your enthusiasm for feminism.

    • urooba

      Hi Alberto,

      That did cross my mind as I wrote the piece. I suppose that it is difficult to employ addiction as a metaphor without it being harmful and trivializing. Political satire is difficult terrain.

      I’m not well-versed in the nuances of this issue, and so was uncertain as to what is and isn’t offensive. I appreciate the call out and will think about this more deeply in the future.


      • redmedicine

        Very late, but I agree. Addiction is not a joke. As a new Talon reader, and someone who is more familiar with addiction than you seem to be, I found this quite an uncomfortable read. I would have expected a lot more from this type of publication in terms of sensitivity to mental health issues, so honestly, I’m really disappointed to come across the same type of trivialising discourse that occurs in mainstream media (“omg my roommate is so OCD!” “I can’t focus in class, i totally have ADD” etc). Please try to be more sensitive in the future.

        • urooba

          Yes, I hear you and understand your disappointment. I have a lot of unlearning about ableism to do.