Skip to content

Is the postcolonial always already normcore

by Subashini Navaratnam

You are a good girl and you memorize your lessons well
You know the drill: Make up, fake up, look up
Bright lips/dull eyes/this season’s colors
Nights in white satin, brown girls in white powder
Lighten up, though none of us are Marie Antoinette
For hard times, learn to monetize your damn brown self
We are all #bindis now

So we don’t have much, yeah, it’s true
But we do have our brows and thick is in
You know the drill: Brown girls, line your eyes and stay at home
Watch your father, watch your brother
Don’t become your mother
Live slow, die alone, good girls do it well
Flipping through The Second Sex, waiting for your brown de Beauvoir

Who will theorize All the Sad Young Tamil Girls?
If we can’t be anything else we will be hirsute and alert
Brown girls in white powder, white girls in brownface
It’s shitty but here are the rules: Someone’s gotta bow down, bitches
It’s likely to be you
You know the drill: Postcolonial, multicultural, the ethnic look is in
In the new world order, brown girls will lean in

Subashini-NavaratnamSubashini Navaratnam lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has published poetry in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Mascara Literary Review, Poetika Malaysia, Aesthetix, and Sein und Werden. Her writings on books have appeared in The Star(Malaysia), Pop Matters and Full Stop and she has published nonfiction in MPH’s anthology Sini Sana and Buku Fixi’s ebook Semangkuk INTERLOK, as well as fiction in KL Noir: Yellow. She tweets at @SubaBat.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS