Growing up, I was both “beta” and “darling”, dessert was both gulab jamun and ice cream (but have you tried them together?!), and holiday festivities included drawing rangolis and putting up Christmas trees. As the proud daughter of Indian immigrants and a natural born American citizen, I embody the epitome of our country’s melting pot. As beautifully as these two vibrant cultures have shaped me into the woman I am today, they have also created their fair share of internal battles. These battles are faced not only by me, but a million other “brown girls” fighting to find a balance between these radically different cultures and the values they embody. That fighting spark can be seen through our mannerisms, thoughts, personalities, ambitions, and creations.
Hundreds of brown artists have taken to Instagram to bitingly, humorously, and beautifully depict this struggle. With their sarcastic light-hearted “aunty” jokes, women like Maria Qamar, the artist behind the wildly popular account hatecopy, and Saher Sohail, the brains behind thepakistanimarthastewart have given a voice to an entire generation. Illustrations of girls dabbing while wearing lehengas are the perfect artistic blend of an Indian heritage in an American environment. Heritage that includes heavier battles such as championing fair skin and discriminating against dark skinned women – something that is quite prevalent in the Bollywood film industry. These images showcase everything about a young American Indian girl’s life from the biryani she drooled over to choosing the perfect bindi from the never ending bindi packets. It’s a magnificent cultural concoction that empowers brown girls all over the world.
About the Author: Manooshree Patel