Zayn Malik the Outlier

I know so many brown girls who refuse to date brown guys. And while I admit, desi men come with their own problems, many girls’ preference is simply an aesthetic one.

“I don’t find them attractive” is the usual justification, with the exceptions of Avan Jogia and Zayn Malik who are basically the brown Zac Efrons, except hotter. (If you disagree please submit a 5 page argumentative essay, with sources cited in MLA format. Thank you.)

How can we look at Urdu speaking, rogan josh eating Zayn and be ready to rishta, but will snub our noses at an average brown guy like he’s subpar biryani? 

While, yes Zayn is objectively better looking than the average Jagdeep, it amazes me that so many desi women (and I used to be one) write off entire ethnicities as being in attractive. Especially when these men look like you, look like your family. 

The people we’re attracted to are conditioned by our environment, what is considered attractive and desirable by the society we live in. For children of the diaspora, we are conditioned by Western beauty standards. Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, that’s what we model our standards on. 

Growing up, I only had crushes on white guys. Even my Bollywood crush, Hrithik Roshan, was racially ambiguous at best. He barely looked Indian. 

The men we saw glorified in the media were never Indian or Pakistani or Bengali or Sri Lankan. When desi men showed up in movies and tv, they were taxi drivers and convenience store owners. Never portrayed as desirable and never “sexy”. This is part of the greater problem of the emasculation of Asian men by the western media, but I digress. Zayn and Avan are the first of their kind. Asian men as sex objects? Revolutionary. 

I also can’t help but wonder if as desi women, our inclination towards white men is part and parcel of the colourism present in our communities of origin, combined with our own uneasiness with being visibly ethnic in a western society that has a tenuous relationship with people of color. 

If we date a brown guy will we become the “Indian couple”? Will it erase all “American” aspects of us? Will people wonder if we speak English fluently?

Maybe it’s just the fact that some of us are disconnected. We don’t identify as Indian. We were born and raised here and are red blooded Americans who love burgers and beer. So naturally, we’re going to fall in love with white, American men. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But I do think there’s something wrong with being averse to dating within your own culture. As children of immigrants or immigrants ourselves, I think we need to become comfortable with and accepting of where we came from, and dare I say even alittle proud. Hey, maybe we’ll even trade in our Roberts for Rohans. 

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