CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN A BROWN GIRL AND AN OVER-CONCERNED DESI AUNTY
Here are some everyday conversations between a brown girl and different characters from the society. I know every reader can, somehow, related to most of them.
MAKEUP CONDITIONS FOR A BROWN GIRL
Hey Farzana! Oh dear, your skin looks terrible. I could barely recognize you. You’ve got this awful acne. OMG I can’t believe your skin has tanned this much. Why aren’t you taking care of it? Have you seen some skin specialist? I’ve heard it has something to do with your hormones? Are you fine? Why don’t you try a new haircut? Get a new makeover to hide your acne. Go to a beauty salon and get that gold facial treatment and don’t forget to use Faiza beauty cream okay?
Shumaila! Hey sweetheart! It took me a while to recognize you. Why’re you wearing makeup? Are you leaving for a wedding or what? Stay simple it’s the official proof of a woman’s modesty; besides, men like simple women. And what’s with this haircut? Dear Lord! You had such beautiful long hair, why the hell on earth would you get this hair style? It has got more than half of your face covered.
BROWN GIRL CAN NEVER BEAT BODY EXPECTATIONS AND GOL ROTI WITH HER INTELLECT OR CAREER
Hi Farzana! How are you doing my child? Done with your medical degree? Congrats for the distinctions you got and I’ve heard you won a scholarship to study in the US. That’s great but why’s you so careless when it comes to your weight? You need to shed these extra kilos as soon as possible. Drink green tea, join a gym, starve yourself to death but get slim okay? No one likes a fat woman. Haven’t you seen my daughter? Couldn’t make it to a high school but she’s so fit Masha’llah and can cook a “gol roti” too. Can you make a gol roti?
Hey Shumaila! Oh my poor little thing! What happened to you? It looks like you’re from Somalia. Why don’t you take care of your diet? Eat “desi ghee k parathey” and take a full cream banana milkshake on empty stomach every day. You’re so terribly thin and you are so weak. No one likes a skeleton. For heaven’s sake! Put on some mass woman.
SHARAM AND HAYA PARAMETERS FOR A BROWN GIRL
Farzana! Hey you! Come here. You’re ——‘s daughter na? Why’re you wearing a sleeveless? Do you have any honor? If not for yours at least learn to do some decent dressing for your family’s sake. Stop exposing your body! Have some sharam, some haya.
Oh come on Shumaila! Why’re you always dressed up like a “daras wali baji”. You’re just 26; you’ve your whole life ahead. Stop wearing this ‘burqa’ all the time. It’s 2016, no one will pay attention to a ninja lady.
DRESS CODE FOR A BROWN GIRL
Hey dear Farzana! Why’ve you come so simple to the wedding? At least you should wear some makeup and do your hair.
Oh God! What has gotten into you Shumaila? It’s just a birthday party and not your waleema. Stop wearing red lipstick; this color is only for married women. Ok?
RULES TO BLEND IN
Hey Farzana dear! My son told me that you’re always shy and you don’t even talk to him. Come on we’re family friends and you know you should blend in. I don’t like that you feel left out. You never said so but I know.
Hey Shumaila! Who was the guy you were talking to in your university? Listen, these boys are all bad and you cannot trust them at all. There’s no such thing as ‘just friends’ or ‘class business.’ Stay away from them.
Hey Farzana my child! Why’re you always on mute? Speak up. I’ve never seen you doing anything for yourself. Life’s too short; you’ll get married and then you won’t have any time for yourself.
OMG Shumaila! Would you just listen to yourself? Do you want to go to Naraan Kaghaan for a week on a university trip? You know you can’t go. Your brothers won’t approve of it. Neighbors would gossip. I’m sorry but you can’t go.
WHAT DOES A BROWN WOMAN WANT?
These are the things every brown girl has to hear every day. People around us telling us what to do, how to dress, what to wear, what to eat, how to look, how to live, what to speak,…… and the list never ends. And it’s never enough. Even when they do everything they’re told, the ultimate response they get is: “You’ve boiled the egg that was supposed to be fried and fried the one that was supposed to be boiled.”
Dear beautiful women! I guess we’ve all have heard the story of a man who tried to please everybody. That’s exactly what’s going to happen here. While trying to be something you’re not, to please the society, you’re going to end up hurting yourselves.
It’s time to breakdown these stereotypes.
Why is it so hard for people to see and accept us for who we are? Why everyone wants to see us be perfect? How can they even expect is to be perfect when they all have different standards of perfection? Why can a professional degree never beat a gol roti? Why an educated woman with great character is overlooked because of her dark complexion? Are you it’s them who need to changing themselves or it’s you who need to change their sick standards of perfection.
All what a woman wants is to be recognized and appreciated for who she is. All she wants is to be trusted. To be given a choice to eat what she wants, dress the way she likes, study what she loves and be what she’s comfortable being and to be respected for the choices she has made for herself. All she wants is to be heard and to be accepted. Is that too much to ask?
About the author: Sadaf Alvi is a final year medical student. She’s a freelance writer and a contributor to Raddi Paper. She’s active on Twitter and can be reached here or you can email her at: email@example.com