BROWN BOYS DO CRY
This photo series was shot by Kuru Selvarajah and creatively directed and edited by Mirusha Yogarajah. The models in the images are Nivake Sukumar and Ravishan Thanarajah.
Brown Boys Do Cry aims to address how comfort with notions of femininity and masculinity allows brown boys to be their whole selves. Self-identified boys can embrace the truest forms of themselves if they dismiss notions of masculinity that are commonly waged in the South Asian community. The marvel of masculinity dictates so much of how men reinforce forms of patriarchy and violence onto others and onto themselves. Sexual assault, domestic violence, alcoholism, and gendered forms of work are intensely reinforced within the South Asian community. I saw this within my beautiful boy cousins who remain so tender and so wonderful but are constantly told that painting their nails or wearing pink is explicitly for women. They were also told that their duties were to make an income and sustain a family, and were exempt from learning domestic duties, unlike their sisters.
I want to show the beauty of brown-skinned men being able to dismiss gendered ideas. I want them to caress flowers, make milk tea for themselves, wear whatever colors they desire, and adorn South Asian jewelry and pottus. Brown boys do cry, and they don’t need to cry through violence or a masked face. They can be free.
This is an ode to the brown boys and men who are able to celebrate their existence outside of the parameters of “making it”, and outside of the notions of self-sabotage because that’s what many men in the diaspora do. Tamil men drink away their problems, they do what they are told, and they are ultimately in a position of loneliness. Tamil boys are part of this complicated refugee narrative where many drown in waters and others in alcohol. Many Tamil men aim to forget the pain that their blood and their forms of home carry, but also alter to become monsters. They are the swatches of the pressure, desires, and aims that the community holds. I urge Tamil men to find happiness, even if it means a lonely boy party, where there may be forms of isolation and encroachment from the realms of the community, but they are safe and loved. I don’t have citations to warrant my claims because people don’t care about us enough to do research on us. But, I have the experiences and the stories and the bodies of many victims to tell you about the realities of loneliness. I personally know so many uncles and young men who have put their livelihood at stake because of the allures of alcohol, respectability, and wanting to “make it.” We have so much work to do, but know you are loved.
This photo series was shot by Mirusha. The model is Janany.