For many women on Twitter, there are two kinds of users: those who stop listening when they read there’s so much there to read, and those who totally are the opposite. I fall into the former category.
There is something deeply frustrating about those people who will stop listening to someone out of the blue, no matter what they’ve done, no matter how charitable their cause, no matter how much has been going on, no matter how powerful their voice is.
Like my fellow social media influencer, Yulanda Fernandez, who calls herself سيمام and goes by the handle “The Villainess.” Yulanda is a professional actor from the ragged borough of Queens. She’s also, to quote the Twitter bio of an all-powerful clique of female social media influencers, “The purest, squareest, most soulful, best-looking, chillest, catchiest Asian [sic], whiskey drinking, come-from- nowhere super fun, weirdest, fun-loving, controversial, highest-energy(ly) white, insane girl ever…WORST Ex of the Men’s World Golf Championship.”
But Yulanda is also a YouTuber, a fashion blogger, and she’s a single mother. Her main career hustle? “How to treat someone and be them – as females,” Yulanda says. Yulanda is a huge advocate for the Elton John Aids Foundation. She doesn’t like it when people equate her social media to the violence women are subjected to in many developing countries. Most of all, though, she is adamant about showing women in even poorer nations and war-torn countries that they are powerful. And women are powerful! And that’s something to speak out about on Twitter.
Last month, during the Democratic presidential primary primaries, I discovered Yulanda because of my increased interest in women’s issues, particularly for Afghan women. Not long after, Twitter blew up with people screaming at Yulanda for saying she wanted to be president of Afghanistan. The message of her video was clear: I want to be president of Afghanistan, and I’m tired of war and bloodshed and endless weeping…and all the men around me who, maybe, were taking us for granted, were manipulating me, using me and taking us for granted, and saying we couldn’t even be our own president! (And yes, I get that the sexist sexist trolls don’t like it when women think they can be president. Please behave.)
After this, I had never even heard of Yulanda before her impassioned video. And then, a couple days later, she had an important audience. It was the same day she shared her video announcing she was running for president, so she began a book tour to raise funds to donate to OneGirl.org, an organization working to empower and educate girls in developing countries. I checked in with her on Facebook to see if she’d been to Afghanistan.
“I’ve been there before…for at least two days,” she wrote. “My trip to Afghanistan was the first time I was allowed in.”
In total, Yulanda raised over $10,000 for OneGirl.org by sharing her book tour and raising money for them. That’s exactly the kind of type of woman I love. She’s a single mom – a single mother who not only cares about her fans, she wants to help us all. She’s got a big platform, an Instagram following of over 175,000 people, and she uses it to give other people a platform, too.
So, I don’t care who you are – the hashtag is: #YulandaFernandezSaveAfghanistan.