Abhishek, ‘Love is Blind,’ and when misogyny meets internalized racism

Women of colour don’t exist for men’s character development

Image by: Shelby Talbot
Attraction is personal

This season of Love is Blind comes with considerably more racial diversity than the last. It’s fun to see women of colour on reality television, living out lighthearted narratives that don’t explicitly exploit their trauma.

This diversity also means we see more men of colour.

I know I’ll get some angry brown guys in my inbox for saying this, but season two of Love is Blind is a reminder that South Asian men continue to be the weakest link.

No one proves this more than Abhishek—a man who has never dated a brown woman before and insists you know he’s not like other Indians. He’s outdoorsy, loves meeting new people, and is a part-time DJ.

As soon as we meet him, it’s clear he has internalized racism that needs to be worked out. When he reveals his “test” for whether he’d date a woman is asking if she’s small enough to sit on his shoulders, his misogyny shows.

Abhishek—who shortens his name to “Shake,” which is ridiculous—eventually ends up proposing to Deepti, an Indian woman.

While he insists, Deepti is everything he wants in a wife, the physical attraction is intrinsically missing. He announces this to most of the people around him, except for Deepti, only revealing his issues to her weeks after they first see each other in person.

Who you’re attracted to is deeply personal, but preferences don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re also political and undoubtedly impacted by societal standards of beauty. If you’re only attracted to thin people, you probably have fatphobia you should interrogate. If you’re only attracted to white people, there’s some racism you should address.

A distaste for women of your own race is usually a result of how you and society view them.

Brown women are not permitted to be sexual beings. It doesn’t matter how hard we try to align with Eurocentric beauty standards. It doesn’t matter that Deepti has a gorgeous body, a perfect nose, and a voice to die for. Brown women, if they’re seen at all, are seen as nurturers and nothing more, existing to serve brown men.

So, it’s no wonder Abhishek can end up with a beautiful brown woman and insist she’s unf—kable because she reminds him of his aunt.

It’s also no wonder that, after he’s likely been nurtured by brown women all his life who placate his disrespectful behaviour, he finds it appropriate to announce what he perceives to be Deepti’s flaws to anyone but her. Her feelings aren’t taken into account, regardless of Abhishek’s flaws that Deepti overlooks—including his fatphobic comments and his flirting with other women long after he’s engaged.

Abhishek, and the many brown men like him who are incapable of seeing brown women as whole, needs to interrogate why exactly that is. He also needs to leave women out of that journey until he’s done this work on his own. It’s a blessing Deepti realizes this and turns him down at the altar.

Brown men—stop using brown women for character development. It’s a waste of time.


Love Is Blind, Netflix

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