A blonde English mother has fought back trolls who accused her of “appropriating” Pakistani culture on TikTok – even though she is married to a Pakistani and has been a Muslim for almost 10 years.
Amber Bain, 24, has faced backlash for sharing videos of herself in traditional Pakistani clothing dancing on the popular social media site and was even molested in the street.
However, the community leadership student from Nelson, Lancashire, says she simply embraces her husband’s culture and “values” it rather than “appropriating” it.
The frustrated Amber decided to strike back with a defiant TikTok clip in which she walks downstairs in a black hoodie and leggings with the caption “Stop representing a culture that is not yours” – before suddenly turning into a flowery shalwar transformed, a traditional South Asian dress.
The clip quickly went viral, drawing over a million views and more than 85,000 reactions.
Amber said, “I don’t know why people felt the need to be so negative. Maybe they’re just uneducated.
“My community is really open and multicultural. Everyone hugs and we all come together.
“We’re so open – people will knock on your door with food and welcome you to their homes to celebrate.
“Of course, that may not be the case in other cities. It seems like people don’t like you doing anything else.
“Most of the negative comments I received came from whites.
“They wrote me stupid comments like, ‘Why did you convert to this religion?”
“Then some people even compared my house to Palestine after it was bombed, which I found so offensive.
“People in Palestine are dying and there are people joking about it just to get a few likes on TikTok.
“It ruined my post. My post should take on a different culture and they were all about hate.
“I had to delete some of the comments as people were just using the video as an excuse to fight.
“I expected people to comment on my wallpaper – I’m still in the process of getting a new wallpaper for my stairs.
“But I didn’t expect to get so much hatred. Love outweighs hate, but it’s still not beautiful.
“I’m a strong person, but some of the comments were enough to make someone suicidal.
“It just goes to show that when you post something online, expect the worst – especially on TikTok.”
Amber, who is married to a Pakistani man with whom she has three children, was even cursed on the street for her choice of clothes.
Amber said, “I’ve been walking around town and passing pubs and people are like, ‘What are you wearing? You’re a shame’.
“I just keep walking when that happens, but of course I’m angry. Most of the time when this happened I was out with my kids.
“I just think some people don’t like it when different cultures and races mix. They don’t like seeing a white girl with a brown man.
“Some people think all that stuff is over, but it’s not. Hate crimes still happen all the time.”
For Amber, who converted to Islam at the age of 15, wearing Pakistani clothing is like “second nature”.
Amber said, “Since I got married, it’s been the norm for me. When I got married, my in-laws gave me Asian clothes.
“I would wear it and I didn’t see anything bad in it, but people would tell me, ‘Why are you wearing this? You are not an Asian girl. ‘
“I don’t acquire any other culture, I value it. But online it doesn’t seem to matter.
“People are so quick to judge that people comment that I have been brainwashed.
“People said to me, ‘Why do you force your children into a religion?’ and such bad things. “
In addition to the hateful comments, Amber also received many supportive comments that praised her.
Amber said, “I’ve had some people who said, ‘We love our cultured queen’ because they saw me trying to respect culture in my other videos as well.
“I even had a comment from a girl who said, ‘I’m a Pakistani girl and you are very fond of this culture.’
“They complimented my clothes, which was nice to read too.
“But I was a little annoyed to post on TikTok. I know for sure that I have to get my stairs ready now. “
Some TikTok users went to the comments section to compliment Amber.
TikTok user @sameeah said, “Let her, she just appreciates the culture. You look pretty anyway.”
Jaden Clark commented, “People forget that culture is holistic. In our own lives we create a different culture for ourselves. Keep spreading the love of cultural clothing. “
TikTok user @TinTin said, “Leave her alone, nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong with everyone, she looks gorgeous and is happy. Don’t judge, be kind.”
Shaida Farooz commented, “Thank you for representing our culture, you look amazing.”
Other commentators were less impressed with the video and weren’t afraid to share their views.
TikTok user @Ali Nmechapx commented, “If you represent our culture, represent us when we are oppressed, will you?”
TikTok user @The Moon Bright Side commented, “It’s like all the wallpaper fell off and landed on you.”
Tommy James said, “Proud of what? Nobody is proud of you and I doubt that deep down you are proud of yourself.”
One simply wrote: “Cultural appropriation luv.”