Oh, that beautiful woman there? The one decked out in gorgeous Indian attire? The one coolly ignoring all the racist slurs and utterances of horror crawling along the walls of some godforsaken Waffle House? The one who could not give less of a damn if someone gapes at her audacity to bask in the glory of her culture?
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.
unfortunately i didn’t get very good pictures of this eyeshadow look (i took these just before heading out to an event) but i really liked how it turned out!! it was this really nice reddish gold look with hints of purple and brown and it lasted all night!
My prom pictures :)
I went to Devon which is like Desi Town in Chicago. I was just browsing the clothes and when I told the lady working at the store that I was thinking about wearing Desi attire to prom she rushed to the back of the store and brought back this piece. Some of you may have seen this dress before. It’s a duplicate of one of the Manish Malhotra pieces Alia Bhatt once wore. It looks slightly different but I’m not gonna lie I like mine better >.
The week of prom I got severe chemical burns. I wasn’t sure if I was confident enough to go to prom because the burns looked so bad. My mom (bless her) went to the store the night before and got fabric to sow on sleeves so that I can go to prom and not draw attention to my arm. Isn’t she great? The answer is yes. Yes she is.
I got a lot of support for wearing a lengha. No doubt I stood out. But I got good feedback from others. The only one that gave me funky looks was the whitewashed desi girl but tbh she’s irrelevant bye.
If you want to do this, do it! You’ll stand out and look fab reppin your culture :)