This post is a tad more on the serious side, but I hope you enjoy nonetheless. If you need some light-heartedness and you enjoy puppies, feel free to click this smiley at anytime: 😀
This week, this image has gone viral:
It’s a picture of a woman named Balpreet Kaur in the Ohio State University bookstore. She’s a Sikh woman with some facial hair. The photo was posted in the “funny” section of Reddit and was made fun of.
But the story gets interesting; Kaur posted a response to the person who posted her picture and to those who commented on it. She said this:
“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.”
As a Sikh I’ve come into contact with multiple women who have more facial hair than our society is used to. In fact many would say I have more facial hair than society is used to myself. Many Sikh woman remove their hair, and I don’t judge them in the slightest. But to see Balpreet Kaur handle this with so much self-respect and respect for those she was addressing, it makes me proud. You don’t see whole ton about Sikhs in the media and stuff (except for the shooting this summer) so I’m glad that when we are noticed it’s in a positive way. When I looked this lady up on Facebook and saw we have three mutual friends, I felt even more connected to this Kaur. Women have been dealing with keeping their facial hair for awhile. But now it seems like we have someone who’s representing our struggles to the world, the face of Balpreet. It’s not like she asked for this either, someone else put this picture up. She merely responded to it. My favorite part of this entire thing? The way it was handled. Balpreet Kaur didn’t reply with anger, which was awesome. To top it off, the person who posted the picture wrote an apology. Check it out:
“I posted this link a few days ago:http://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/109cnf/im_not_sure_what_to_conclude_from_this/
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 fucking 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.”
The fact that two people, Balpreet and the uploader, were able to calmly go about expressing their views was so awesome. If Balpreet had gotten angry and defensive, maybe the other guy would have gotten angry and defensive, and then other Reddit users would have gotten angry and defensive, and then this would have turned into one of thousands of internet squabbles consisting of cursing each other out and thumbs ups and thumbs downs or whatever else. But instead, the two of them took this opportunity to reach out, educate, and be educated. This is how it should be. I wish more of us were able to communicate as effectively as we’ve seen here. If world leaders could do that, maybe we’d avoid wars by having discussions instead, and coming up with better solutions. In addition to inspiring Sikhs around the world and educating people about who we are, I think Balpreet has shown us all the true power of the dignified word.
Next time your talking to someone and things get a little heated, remember people like Kaur. Keep your cool. If your argument is valid, you should be able to make an impact with it while still being polite about it. Don’t be mad, bro. You’re too cool 🙂