How unfortunate is it that my parents had to literally force me to wear beautiful parts of my culture because I was afraid of being ostracized, but Selena Gomez can take aspects of the clothing I grew up with and make money off of them? How unfortunate is it that South Asian immigrants and South Asian Americans are Otherized every single day for the way they look, talk, and dress, but Urban Outfitters continues to commodify and make a profit off the sale of bindis – as made popular by American pop stars?
[..] My bindi is not a way for you to present yourself as being friendly to South Asian culture while exotifying it. My bindi is from my mother, put in my drawer because it is another mark of my internalized Otherness, on top of my brown skin. My bindi is tainted by Western celebrities trying to be “cultural” or “bohemian” or “tribal.” My bindi is not just a piece of plastic, my bindi is not for sale, and my bindi is not for you.
My mom and sister put off for YEARS getting their noses pierced, because while white women could do that and be admired for being “alternative” we would be ridiculed for being “Fresh off the Boat”.
So many visible markers of our culture that we didn’t dare wear, to the point where now I feel out of place wearing them, like they’re not meant for me. I was at a con once where a white woman wore a salwar as her costume for the prom. I can’t bring myself to wear salwar or sari to Diwali events because I feel like a fraud.
Forever side eyeing the fuck out of gay men who use misogynistic, vitriolic language toward women’s bodies but then refer to themselves with feminine pronouns and monikers as terms of endearment.
Doubletime towards white gay men who use black women’s bodies as disposable personas.
Think about the first name you were ever called,
and then think how long it took until
you got called a pussy
or a slut,
or a bitch,
or a whore,
all of which are words that fall too close to ‘girl.’
Think about the first time you got called a ‘girl’
and they said it with a sneer.
Like it was a bad thing.
For a boy, it is the lowest degradation to get called a girl.
For a girl, it is the lowest degradation to get called a girl.
Remember, black widow spiders and female praying mantises eat their partners after intercourse.
Remember, it’s the lionesses who hunt.
They come back with bloody muzzles, dragging bloated carcasses as the alpha lion strides around with his mane puffing out.
Remember, it’s only the female mosquitoes who drink blood.
We’re the ones who do the necessary work, dirty our hands,
fuck or fight or both.
We’re often the smaller sex, which makes us a harder target
as we slink close and sink our teeth in.
Remember: we’re deadly.
You should be proud to be called a girl.
Because of you, CeCe, I have a living portrait of resilience, beauty and power.
Because of you, CeCe, I know what injustice in our culture looks like.
Because of you, CeCe, I know that some bodies matter more than others despite our country’s spiel that all are equal. I know that when some bodies fight back those bodies are locked away for daring to survive.
Because of you, CeCe, I know that there are others, and like Angela Davis before you, your story is an example of the injustice of our culture of incarceration, racism, misogyny, and much more.
Because of you, CeCe, I know our lives are worth fighting for.
Hi, my name is Suzanne and I’m so excited to be a new addition to PBG. I’m one of the two girls who will now be running this blog. I’m a senior in high school, where I run my school’s feminist club. Other than that, I participate in Model UN and intern for my local State Representative. I love listening to music (my favorite band is Florence + the Machine) and reading (favorite book is the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath) I spend way too much time on Tumblr, so hopefully this blog will make my internet usage a little more purposeful!
Can’t wait to interact with y’all!