I want to make a post about how everyone uses Neelam Gill is every situation where a desi character is needed which reflects really upsetting ingrained color and north indian versus south indian things in media
because Neelam Gill is gorgeous but she’s Punjabi, and I’m Gujarati who has at least certain similar features as her and I’m much lighter than some so I own up to my privilege, I agree, I face less discrimination because I’m lighter
but this is super upsetting because all of the already limited desi representation in western media is of lighter skinned northern girls with those noses
and there is so many more features and colors to explore within desi fancasts, for example Urvashi Umrao who is darker and has very obviously non-western features
and also how this is harmful to all desi people because the only people like them shown in media are thin (my mom tried consoling me once my saying that Indian people’s bodies just never look like that, I’m pretty sure I cried harder) and are very light .
But I can’t because this post only makes sense to fellow desi people, so I can’t even explain how horrible it feels.
As the #reclaimthebindi week comes to an end tomorrow, I think it’s really important for us to recognize shadeism and colourism within the desi community.
South Indian women are constantly told that the ideal beauty standard is the “Punjabi girl” one (thin, fair-skinned with straight brown hair) and are termed “ugly and dark” by North Indian men when they don’t fall within this narrow definition of beauty. South Indian movies cast fair-skinned North Indian girls as the heroines, completely disregarding the fact that there are a lot of beautiful South Indian women that aren’t fair-skinned and light-eyed. Hell, even North Indians play South Indian characters in Indian movies! (Like Alia Bhatt playing a Tamil Brahmin girl in Two States. There isn’t a dearth of South Indian, particularly Tamilians, to play the part).
South Indian women, particularly the ones who are fair-skinned, are fetishized by North Indian men who make disgusting statements such as. “Wow, how come you’re South Indian and fair-skinned?” and then later claim that we should be flatted because “it was a compliment”. (Apparently being called fair is a compliment.) The same North Indian males will act like they’re doing South Indian women a damn favour by pursuing them and throwing them a bunch of racist “compliments”. Dark-skinned South Indian women are just dismissed as “dark-skinned Madrasis”, even though the South consists of five different states, all with distinct languages, cultures, food habits. (Also, Madrasi is a slur, and a completely inappropriate way to refer to Tamilians). Fair-skinned South Indian women who are smart are fetishized as the “ideal” women, beauty coupled with brains, while dark-skinned South Indian women are constantly are dismissed as “ugly, dark, hairy and boring”.
It’s important that we all respect diversity. South India is not one homogeneous culture, just the way North Indian culture isn’t homogeneous either. Support dark-skinned South Indians, not just the North Indian-passing, fair-skinned ones. The desi community is fraught with discrimination based on skin colour and it’s very important for all of us to be aware of it, and speak against it.
Guys as a British desi person I can assure you guys that there are many and I mean many desi girls that look like katrina kaif (have exactly the same features as her and skin colour)
Forgive for sayying this but to me she doesnt look caucasian at all, to me she has the most north indian features than any actress i have seen so far in bollywood and omg there are other actresses who are is fairer than her so…… (dont forget shes from kashmir or probz another north indian place too guys like seriously)
Ok she may be used by directors to promote the notion of fair skin in bollywood but i am also pretty sure that fair skin notion was alive way before she even stepped foot in india
Throughout my childhood I was told that I wasn’t “Indian enough” and that wearing traditional things like suit and lehenga did not suit me, and so I stopped wearing them and completely westernized myself to “fit in”. But now I’m done with everyone’s bullshit and am finally again starting to connect with my culture and traditions.
Shoutout to all those people who thought saying that I’m not “brown enough” will be taken as a compliment. It made me feel left out when I was around my own people. You all suck!
So here’s me taking no ones shit anymore and reclaiming the bindi while looking like a twelve year old. Hmu, fellow Indians so that we can talk about how tasty pav bhaji is and how hot deepika padukone is.