I am the way I am.
I’ve constantly been told that I’m far from being a stereotypical Bengali. I’ve mostly been told this because I don’t have the long hair, big eyes and dusky skin that are the stereotypes associated with my community. I think I’m an average looking girl, which also becomes a problem since bong girls are mostly supposed to be very beautiful.
However, my love for loose t-shirts, rugged jeans, shoes and tying my hair became a problem for people because hey, Bengali girls are supposed to have a great fashion sense and look sexy. In fact, I know about all the latest fashion trends, but I can’t keep up with the stereotype.
Sometimes, when I tell people that I love reading or singing, the spontaneous reply I get is, “You Bengalis are so multi-talented.” But I don’t think it’s got anything to do with the fact that I am Bengali. These are things I love doing. Even the love for food is stereotyped. Does the Bengali community consume all of the country’s fish and rice?
The way I carry myself is also questioned. I’m not loud, yet I’m told, “You aren’t like a bong. They’re so loud.” I never have anything to say when people say all this. And if I ever do raise my voice when I’m angry, they tell me, “You bongs are always loud.” To those people, I just smile and say, “Well, at least I’m fulfilling the stereotype.”
But I believe that individuality and uniqueness matter the most. The way you shape yourself is in your hand and it’s not about what stereotypes you fit into or don’t. Attaching stereotypes to people really needs to stop, if we want to prosper as a society.