I am a young, Indian girl who happens to go to a very large state University in Midwestern America. And while as a woman, I am bombarded with unappreciated catcalls, and pickup lines. What’s more troubling is that as a woman of color, I have somehow caught your attention in an even worse way. With lines like, “are you as spicy as you look,” “you’re so pretty for an Indian girl,” and “I have a thing for Indians.”
I understand that mainstream media and cultural norms have driven you to a state where you can barely recognize that you’re even doing this, but allow me to burst the bubble of privilege that you have been so comfortably living in for far too long.
With racially derived pickup lines, you might as well be screaming that all you really care about is telling your friends that you managed to get an Indian chick’s number, because really it’s all too important to diversify your petty encounters with women. You don’t want to have ANY sort of relationship with anyone, what you want is a souvenir from a vacation to “India.” You’re not collecting memories, knowledge, or ideas; you’re collecting postcards.
When you attempt to compliment a girl by telling her she’s different, “you’re so chill for a girl,” “you’re not as dramatic as other girls,” “you’re so pretty for a ____ girl,” all you’re saying is, “you do not fit in my highly stereotyped version of what I think you should be like.” Frankly, I don’t even fully understand why people are prompted to say things like this, but for the love of God, please stop. Women are not competing against one another for your attention. We are not waiting to be noticed by you so you can tell us that our value only exists when we look better than the girl sitting next to us.
Finally, and even worse, is when you announce that you have a “thing” for girls that look like me. The problem here isn’t about what you are, or aren’t attracted to. You are allowed to like whatever you like. But riddle me this, when was the last time you turned to a white woman and told her that you “have a thing for white girls”?
The problem is clear in the way you address the two groups of people. The only reason you feel entitled to declare your approval of my appearance is because otherwise, it is assumed that you aren’t. While it should be no one’s life experience to wait around for a white boy to approve of his/her existence, this rings a little too close to home. Growing up, this notion of having to be beautiful to have value, and even worse, having to be validated by others to be recognized as such, has taken way too much of my time.
Truthfully, I don’t care what you’re into, so please keep it to yourself.
Look, I don’t know what it’s like to be a white boy, but I do know what it is like to be met with line after line about spicy curries and how my “exoticness is mysterious,” and I’m tired. I’m tired of pretending that this is a compliment, I’m tired of people telling me I’m overreacting, and I’m tired of keeping this to myself.
So here’s a line for you, “I don’t a give a shit.”