The Slumflower: Have we created a monster?
Have we allowed her to evade accountability?
Chidera Eggerue known commonly as The Slumflower is a writer and fashion blogger best known for her book, What a Time to Be Alone, and the widely successful online campaign #SaggyBoobsMatter. Born and raised in south London’s, Peckham she has quickly risen to fame and is also one of the biggest contributors to the #MenAreTrash movement. Personally, as a young black woman who grew up in similar conditions, I am often extremely reluctant to criticise or accept any criticism directed towards her or any other influencers of similar background as there are not many of us in the field that she is in . However, it is extremely naive of us as a community to uphold her as some kind of black omnipotent millennial spokesperson as it will only lead to disappointment, but is it too late? Have we already created a monster?
Often within her career, there are times when it can be said she has turned her back on her upbringing and main fan base. The most recent example of this being her piece in the Financial Times titled The joys of living alone which caused a stir with many saying that she was selling young people a dream. She was forgetting that not all of us (many of her fans) have the ability to live alone in their 20’s. Within the video she stated the pros of living alone portraying immediate relief without considering the hardships her working-class fans go through, being a working-class girl many people thought she was abandoning those who she represents the most.
However, it can be said that we are expecting too much from her. Evidently, she cannot please everyone.
Another instance of this was her piece with The Guardian titled Slumflowers Guide to Peckham: Londons coolest neighbourhood which caused a stir due to the recent gentrification happening in Peckham and many other London communities. Many working-class young people like The Slumflower live in Peckham and with the London housing crisis families are finding it increasingly difficult to afford the areas they once called home due to new developments. Fans felt that she was playing into the hands of gentrifiers causing more people to flock to Peckham in hope of a “hipster” setting rather than supporting her community and helping them fight against it. However, within the article, she advertises local businesses such as PAK’s Hair and Cosmetics and Peckham Plex, which can be said to be her showing her support to the community she grew up in.
Now for my personal viewpoint. As stated beforehand I am very reluctant to criticise The Slumflower as she represents girls like me in a place that I aspire to be one day. We do not have much representation in the public eye therefore, we automatically praise those who make it. The solution to this would, of course, be more representation but while we work on that, I do not believe we should have to take whatever we can get to feel represented. The content she produces is very straight, twitter timeline debate-esk which obviously does not represent every working-class black woman’s priorities. Her book, What A Time to be Alone, has some very valid points on boredom and online/offline personalities, it was cute but overall it was underwhelming. Unless you are a straight white woman going through a break up from the guy all your friends told you was trash the 3rd time he ghosted you for a month, and are now looking for your cultural awakening with some Nigerian idioms the book really will not do much for you. I believe the book is praised so much due to her identity of a working-class black girl who has made it big but content wise there is nothing spectacular to be viewed.
With that being said I can not fault her for truly securing the bag without really doing too much. Many young girls look up to her in terms of body positivity and she has encouraged girls to know their worth.