A Sikh woman does not apologize for her appearance and everyone learns something

This is amazing. Reddit user “european_douchebag” snapped and posted a pic of a Sikh woman in an airport for LOLz. What was so funny about the picture? The woman in it, Balpreet Kaur, has facial hair and she is not ashamed of it. If anything, she believes this is an expression of her faith.

Sent to her by friends, Kaur replies to the initial post on Reddit, 

Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn’t know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled :) However, I’m not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am. Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn’t reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying ‘mine, mine’ and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-) So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I’ve gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. :) I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.

And in a turn to things that Never Happen On The Internet–the original poster apologized!

What is most impressive to me about this, is not just the courage and pride this young woman feels in who she is, but also that she is pushing both normative Western standards of beauty and gender divisions in Sikhism. She even follows up with a clarifying comment about how she wears a headdress to show other Sikhs she is equal to them in her faith, irrelevant of her gender.

via Jezebel.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted September 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    There are not enough applause gifs in the world for Ms. Kaur and her awesomeness.

  2. Posted September 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I want to be this awesome.

  3. Posted September 28, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I believe the picture is actually at the OSU Library, not an airport. I think it is important to be sure of the local context in highlighting the experience for readers. It is an everyday, at her local college library, experience of being singled out for another person’s amusement at her expense.

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