Claiming a noteworthy position on the list of challenges the Brown community faces on the regular, is the societal parasite called stereotyping. I wish I could say that stereotypes are cast only from the outside in by ignorant white or European citizens who don't understand our culture, but sadly It’s one of the problems we’re not only victimized by but also perpetrate. Within our own country, different strains of misconception about what Brown folks do or don’t do can be found depending on what region you’re from; especially for women. I think If I cropped out parts of myself that don’t fit my mom’s silhouette of an ‘Indian woman’, I would cease to exist.
Discussing those twisted silhouettes is a podcast born from the minds of the South Asian community called Brown Girls Don’t. Created by a director, producer, and multidisciplinary creative, Maansi Kalyan, this podcast is a refreshing breakdown of stereotypes about Brown women and a platform using dialogue to bust those myths. Maansi hosts guests from all across the Indian diaspora to tackle those notions of what Brown girls are supposed to do or not do.
The podcast made its debut with Gurlaine Kaur Garcha who plays Ash Panesar on the BBC show, EastEnders. Maansi and Gurlaine talk about the necessity of minority representation in 21st-century Britain and how that responsibility still lies on the shoulders of the Brown community itself with some additional insight into how the actor’s fictional family works hard to represent the South Asian diaspora correctly on the TV show.
The episodes on Brown Girls Don’t cover everything from relationships and the difficulties women from the South Asian community face in leaving them, to the grossly underrepresented neurodivergence among us, from privilege to travel and beauty to the music industry. The hostess invites women with real-time experience in these worlds to inform and educate us about the dynamics of oppressive structures working against a minority group. Despite the differences in the frameworks these women work in, the experience is somehow similar and relatable. The conversations in the podcast are easy to connect to and as familiar and soothing as the ones we have with our friends.
Brown Girls Don’t is another mighty soldier in our fight against patriarchal and cultural oppression. Life as a Brown girl is tough no matter where you are. We feel small and powerless against the gigantic, ancient monsters of bigotry. A little spark of belief and compassion that progressive conversations lead us to is deeply relieving. Sometimes when the system grinds you down and feelings of defeat set in, all you have to do is indulge in some TLC, put on an empowering podcast like this one and find comfort in connection.
Listen to Brown Girls Don't here.