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Pretty for a Brown Girl

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

By Medha Raman

I’m “pretty for an Indian girl.”

The concept of beauty has always been skewed for me. The sentence that once flattered me, now horrifies me. “Don’t compete where you can’t compare,” is what it feels like. It feels like a separate category I fall into.

For most women, beauty is vanity, and this agenda has been pushed by social media. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I felt disheartened while scrolling through Instagram, bummed that I’d “never look like so and so.” My experience is not solely mine and is shared by so many others struggling to love themselves, without factoring the color of their skin into the equation.

In relentless bouts of PMS, I’ve often cried to my mom about being born brown. I dyed my hair blond, collated boards of white celebrities on Pinterest and wondered why something looked off when I did my makeup and hair like theirs. I over plucked my brows. I did it all to seem “pretty for an Indian girl.”

For me, coming to terms with my identity was the same as turning myself into someone I’m not.

I’m attractive. I’m a pretty person -- as vain as it sounds. I hype myself in the mirror all the time and that’s just it right there. I’m not pretty for a brown girl, I’m just


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