Understanding Brown Girls

You can’t start a post about brown girls without referencing this Youtube video, right? iisuperwomanii‘s guide to brown girls is something I watched and laughed over when it came out 2 years ago – January 2011 – but recently revisited on a youtube binge that involved watching every single video released in the last year, and then some, by JusReign, Akamazing, and obviously, iisuperwomanii (These are my 3 favorite desi Youtube celebs…do you know others?).

The first thing she talks about in this Youtube response to JusReign’s Rant on Annoying Brown Girls is how us brown girls want lots of attention.

1. YES. GIVE ME ALL OF THE ATTENTION

We’re a little bit needy/clingy/attention-starved. Just a little. I love her references to the whole boy/girl inequality thing (WHICH IS SO TRUE, BY THE WAY. NOT JUST A STEREOTYPING ERROR) but I don’t agree with her logic that this inequality is the reason behind the neediness.

Inequality can lead to self-esteem issues when you’re a girl second-guessing everything you’re doing. Nothing seems to be good enough for the parents, so yeah, you start to wonder sometimes just how good you are. So when you’ve got a guy telling you that you’re beautiful and amazing and he loves spending time with you, you feel like FINALLY, you’re doing something right. And that’s a good feeling. I like that feeling 🙂

Plus, I don’t think that craving attention is necessarily a ‘brown girl’ thing. All girls want attention.

Okay fine. I do like the video (and admiring her hair in the video), but honestly…everything else she says can just apply to all girls. So we’re not going to talk about it anymore, but it was a good intro and it’s still a funny video! I love the way she delivers everything 🙂

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Prysmatique dishing the dirt on what she thinks about brown girls…and about being one –

OKAY so maybe I should talk about myself for a change. I haven’t done that in a while on this blog. Just have a public heart-to-heart-type-post.

 

Brown girls start drama too easily. All my life (post-7th grade life), I have tried to avoid hordes of brown girls. If you really put more than 2 or 3 of us in a group, it’s only a matter of time before shit goes down. I witnessed that firsthand and maybe I’m not letting go of the past, but that feeling of backtalking traitorous “best friends” is not something I want to relive again. So I’ll abide by my decision, thank you very much.

I’ve learned to avoid the packs of brown people. At NYU, they actually banded together and called themselves BROWNTOWN. They had a NAME. I don’t even know what to say about that…every time I try, I just cough and sputter in disbelief.

 

My parents need to stop talking about my marriage. I’m not getting married yet. I’m not planning on seeing anybody for anything THAT long-term. I’ve barely even had a boyfriend, barely explored my sexuality (That is to say…I am straight, but haven’t done much, sexually), and barely thought about my future in such a concrete way.

My parents, though, have done all of the thinking for me. As one of the (few remaining) unmarried/single girls in my generation, EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF MY FAMILY IS AFTER ME. My gosh it’s so bad that I once had a ring on the middle finger of my right hand and my aunt came up to me and gave me a knowing smile before asking, “So you’re practicing already, huh?”

FRUSTRATION. The ring just matched my outfit you silly fools. Just because I am now 21 (Going to be 22 in July zomg), everybody loves nudging, poking, and hinting at marriage when they talk to me. My own mom incessantly elbows me and asks “Oh, do you have a boy in mind?”

My god. They are so clueless, so old-fashioned, and so IRRITATING. Keep in mind that because I’m Brown, I’m not actually allowed to date. But somehow, still, I am supposed to have a boy in mind?

Weirdos.

 

If I don’t cook and clean, I am a failure and a disappointment. No mother will want her son to marry me…Oh how I laugh. Fine, it’s still a valid point that I should be clean and organized for the sake of having a good-looking house/room, but the fact that I am messier than my OCD mom is somehow cause enough for her to moan in despair about how my future mother-in-law will kick me outta the house if I don’t clean up my act. (Pun intended, and you see, even when she’s lecturing me about being clean, she brings marriage into the mix) And of course, an Indian wife who doesn’t cook and clean and coddle her husband is a useless wife, and I will be useless if I don’t start cooking some nice rajma and daal and chole and gobi aloo soon. [Those were the names of some Indian dishes, if you didn’t gather from context]

 

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I just wanted to write about how it feels like to be a Brown girl sometimes. It’s frustrating, especially when you’ve got parents that are far too stuck in older times for your own comfort.

Being Brown is difficult. Coming from parents clinging tightly to their roots and the way things were done when they were brought up in India is tough when you are born and raised here.

I would not call myself whitewashed, but I definitely have a different opinion on the strict ideology my parents have about marriage, the ideal husband or wife, and   duties assigned by gender.

I want my boy to help me out with the cooking once in a while. I want him to make ME coffee in the morning once in a while. I refuse to be like my mother, who caters to my father’s every need not because she loves him and wants to (Although there is definitely some of that), but because she believes that this attention and coddling is what is expected and becoming of a wife.

That’s what sickens me. That it’s an obligation. That it’s somehow shameful or disgraceful when your husband gets up off the couch to get himself a glass of water when you are sitting next to him. That you feel GUILTY that you didn’t offer water to him earlier or get up to get it for him. And that if you wanted water, you would again feel GUILTY if he got it for you and you could have gotten it for yourself.

I think that’s pretty messed up, and that’s their upbringing, not mine. Why are you guilty? He’s a grown ass adult. If he wants water, he can get it. If you want water, you can get it. If you want to get each other water, do it out of courtesy or love, not duty or obligation.

So yeah…if you managed to read this far into the post, I hope you understand me (and my opinion on being raised as an Indian-American) a little bit better 🙂

 

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Arranged Disaster – Part 1

He was just having fun with his friends when he first saw her. He had been riding down the dirt path on his bicycle, and he suddenly stopped, causing the posse behind him to complain as they slammed their own brakes. He got up, swaggered to the poor rickshaw driver, and snatched up an air pump.

No explanations, no questions. He grabbed the pump and walked back toward his bicycle, ignoring the protests of the unworthy man behind him.

“But sahib, my passenger is in a hurry, and I must repair my tires before they can go any farther.” He plead fervently, because if she found another rickshaw to take for the rest of her journey, he would lose the RS. 10, and with it, break his promise to his son. His son had been craving chocolate for weeks now, but every time, he had to come home ashamed, with just enough money to make ends meet, if that. There 10 rupees would leave him enough room to buy a piece of candy. The rickshaw driver sighed, defeated and helpless.

She averted her eyes, looking down at the ground. Her long hair hung down her back in a simple braid. Her face was free of makeup, and she had on plain solid colored garments. But there was something about the beauty of her village charm that stopped him – he stopped in his tracks, muttering an excuse about not having been in as much of a hurry as he had thought, and handed the pump back to the rickshaw driver.

He was in love. Love at first sight – it didn’t exist in that village. Marriages were arranged, keeping in mind family politics and society standings. But he didn’t even know her name. He just knew that he loved her. He waited until the rickshaw had been repaired, and then, hooting and hollering with his group, he chased after it. The girl did not look up. The unnamed beauty of his dreams tried her best to ignore what she knew was happening. Her cheeks burned, not with desire, but with embarrassment. She was glad her younger brother was not with her. “What would my parents say if they saw this? I should just die from the humiliation right now. The entire village will find out, and I will never step out of my house again. I’m doomed.”

All that, because of a glance. But the boy, too, was aggressive. He saw her everywhere after then, not that it was difficult to do in their small village. He was not stalking her, persay – he was merely protecting her from the evil eyes of all the other eligible men. She was his.

He followed her into the shop. He felt that she looked very adorable buying vegetables. Such a simple task it was, but she did it with such grace and beauty, casually pushing her long braided hair back as it slid forward, caressing her nape gently as it did so. Little by little, the girl was growing accustomed to him. She was beginning to enjoy the attention he gave her – she enjoyed being doted upon. Growing up as a female in that small village in India was not easy. To live there was to live in a time long gone from modern civilization. It was a simpler life, yes, but in some ways, a richer and more vibrant one. Hand pumps pumped water out for daily use, and showerheads were unheard of – the only practical way with which one could bathe him or herself was by using a bucket and a pail. The outfits too were different – unmarried young girls wore simple garments so as not to attract unwarranted attraction, and were discouraged from flaunting their body around the town. They stepped out to do household chores and other such respectable jobs: buying vegetables being one of them.