Anyways, back on topic.
Reddit Users Attempt to Shame Sikh Woman, Get Righteously Schooled
A Reddit user going by the handle "european_douchebag" posted a surreptitious photo of a Sikh woman with the caption "i'm not sure what to conclude from this." The user's apparent confusion stems from the fact that the woman—bound by her religion not to cut her hair or alter her body—has an abundance of dark, untrimmed facial hair. The mind of european_douchebag was SO INCREDIBLY BLOWN by the fact that women have hair on their bodies—and, yes, faces—and that some women are bold, self-assured, and pious enough not to cave to western beauty standards (and gender expectations), there was nothing for him to do but post her photo online and wait for the abuse to flood in.
But then something totally lovely and unexpected happened. The woman in the photo responded:
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 then, THEN, something even more miraculous happened—the original poster apologized:
I know that this post ISN'T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you're making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.
/r/Funny wasn't the proper place to post this. Maybe /r/racism or /r/douchebagsofreddit or /r/intolerance would have been more appropriate. Reddit shouldn't be about putting people down, but a group of people sending cool, interesting, or funny things. Reddit's been in the news alot lately about a lot of cool things we've done, like a freaking AMA by the president. I'm sorry for being the part of reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy. This isn't 4chan, or 9gag, or some other stupid website where people post things like I did. It's ???? reddit. Where some pretty amazing stuff has happened.
I've read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.
So reddit I'm sorry for being an asshole and for giving you negative publicity.
Balpreet, I'm sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am
Sikhs, I'm sorry for insulting your culture and way of life.
Balpreet's faith in what she believes is astounding.
Holy sh*t, internet, I don't even know you anymore! I never thought something would come out of the seeping necrotic abscess that is Reddit that would actually make my day better, but wow. MY HEART GREW THREE SIZES THIS DAY.
This Girl Went Viral–And Schooled Everyone!
Balpreet Kaur probably had a pretty awkward start to her week. She was photographed recently, not to her knowledge, while waiting in line at her college library–and then the photo was posted in Reddit’s “Funny” section with the backhanded caption, “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.” Ouch!
Balpreet didn’t even know about any of it until a pal on Facebook told her that, “Well, hey! You’re on Reddit!” She received a lot of ignorant and mean-spirited comments, both about her outfit (with which we don’t see a problem whatsoever–who hasn’t worn yoga pants and a tee around campus?), her turban, and, most of all, her facial hair.
While we’re not that used to seeing that much facial hair on women and girls in Western society, where we’re pretty much urged to pluck, bleach, wax, buff, and shave every inch of our bodies and faces, Balpreet Kaur is au naturale–and honestly, it’s a pretty refreshing statement not only about the vanity of society, but also of her own faith.
Balpreet is a baptized Sikh, and when she found out that her photo was posted on Reddit, she actually replied to it and gracefully, tactfully, and respectfully slayed all of her naysayers. “I’m not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention (negative and positive) that this picture is getting because it’s who I am,” she said simply. “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.” Bam!
She explains further why it’s pointless to point out her differences–because, well, she has better things to do than tweeze. She’s just happy her body works. “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 separateness between ourselves and the divinity within us,” she explained. “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.”
She even told everyone about why she–and a lot of others–wears a turban, writing, “Wearing turbans for women is a sign of inner strength and empowerment because we, too, are equal to Sikh men. Sikhism advocates total equality for both genders (the only difference between them are the last names) and therefore, it is okay, however rare the occurrence, for a woman to adorn herself with the turban just like her male counterparts.”
Alright haters, how about some aloe for that burn?
Balpreet Kaur’s maturity and spiritual steadfastness are so freakin’ awesome, and a lot of people took to Reddit to respond to her and give her the props she was most definitely due. Anyone who’s spent even a minute on any sort of commenting forum (except Gurl, obviously, because you guys are smart, lovely, classy and amazing) knows that a lot of bottom feeders and jerks come out and bully strangers because they feel invincible with a screen and keyboard between themselves and the world. To not only not be intimidated by that, but also to not stoop to its level in response, shows that Balpreet Kaur may look different from our ideal–but her inner beauty is one standard we should all strive for. You go, girl!
Glad to see men and women from all backgrounds throwing their support behind her and full-throatedly lauding her with their admiration. She deserves every bit of it.