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Toxic Femininity: White Tears/Brown Scars


Event Status

We have limited reserved spaces for any women of colour who missed out on a booking – please email or call 03 9094 7800 to request one.

In 2018, Sydney journalist Ruby Hamad wrote an article for the Guardian that touched a nerve with readers around the world. The article, ‘How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour,’ was about the special and dangerous claims white women make to victimhood – in the workplace, in public debate, and in private interactions – and how these adversely affect and are wielded against women of colour.

The ‘damsel in distress’ tactic, Hamad wrote, is employed ‘to muster sympathy and avoid accountability, by turning the tables and accusing the accuser.’ 

She has since adapted the article into a new book, White Tears/Brown Scars. Hosted by Hella Ibrahim, Hamad will be joined at the Wheeler Centre by Arrernte activist and social commentator Celeste Liddle for a discussion about what happens when racism and sexism collide. 

This event is booked out, but you can watch and participate from wherever you are – the event will be live-streamed on this page, and you can sign up for reminders here.

Paperback Books will be our bookseller for this event.


Ruby Hamad

‘That the voices of Women of Colour are getting louder and more influential is a testament less to the accommodations made by the dominant white culture and more to their own grit in a society that implicitly – and sometimes explicitly – wants them to fail.’ Ruby Hamad is an author and PhD ... Read more

Hella Ibrahim

Hella Ibrahim is an editor with a passion for activism through writing and publishing. She works as a project editor at an education publishing company on weekdays, and is the founder and editorial director of Djed Press, an online publication that provides a paid platform for creators of colour.  ... Read more

Celeste Liddle

Celeste Liddle is an Arrernte woman (traditional owner in Central Australia) who was born in Canberra and has been living in Melbourne since she was a teenager. She is a trade unionist, an activist, a feminist, a social commentator and an opinion writer. In May 2021, she was announced as the presele... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.