Learning to Love My Totally Awesome Chest Hair

By Navneet Alang

It was a complete revelation to me when, a few years ago, I dated a woman who liked my chest hair. Naturally, the greater revelation is that there was a woman willing to date me at all, but let’s focus on the positive here. After a lifetime spent thinking that it was disgusting, somebody actually dug nature’s decision to leave me with a year-round, all-natural Chewbacca costume.

It surprised me so much because, like so many, I had come to associate hairlessness with attractiveness. Though I’ve always been acutely aware of how media deliberately represent unrealistic ideals, I swallowed them whole anyway. This is the funny thing about being human, and being a minority especially: you can’t simply think your way out of the ways you end up hating yourself.

Still, you would think that if a world of hairless white bodies rejected my fuzzier brown one, I could at least find respite in the culture I might loosely call “my own”. After all, South Asian men are often notoriously and conspicuously hairy. Surely of all places I could turn to Bollywood to find more appropriate, personally relevant ideals of Ron Jeremy-like body thatch, right?
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Dancing Behind the Tree of the Real

By Navneet Alang

For all its cachet and global recognition now, I grew up hating Bollywood films. That’s not a terribly original thing for a ‘South Asian child of immigrants’ to say, but there you go. When I was young, I think I disliked them because I was relatively sure Hindi films were mostly comprised of middle aged women crying — every other scene containing a melodramatic reading of “Lekin, kyon beta? Kyon?” (But, why child? Why?) Aaand cue the histrionic weeping.

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MSM doesn’t get IIFA

By Anupa Mistry

I’ve mostly been pleasantly surprised over the past week to see mainstream coverage of the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA), taking place in Toronto this weekend. Rumour has it we beat out New York for the chance to host the star studded, nomadic, diaspora-chasing ceremony and we’ve all heard the stories about Bollywood being a global film powerhouse. Plus, mad white folks love Aish! So it only makes sense that people pay attention, right? Expecting something basic, but secretly thrilling, I landed on FLARE‘s slideshow guide to the top Bollywood stars only to get kinda grossed out with every click.

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