Sunday, October 07, 2012

Balpreet Kaur: A Strong Woman

I first learned of Balpreet Kaur and her story on CNN in Jodi Lobozzo Aman’s blog post If We Responded This Way We Would Change The World.

Balpreet Kaur is a Sikh woman who has visible facial hair and wears a turban. Two college students took her picture and posted it on reddit under the caption, “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.” The photo elicited comments from those who teased to those who were disgusted by the post. After hearing of the taunt Balpreet Kaur posted the following response 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 embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] 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 separateness 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 t-shirt 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."The original reddit poster was then shamed into writing an apology.  

There is so much going on here from the original reddit poster who goes by the handle “european_douchebag’s keyboard courage, to Balpreet Kaur using this incident as an opportunity to educate us about her religion to Jodi Lobozzo Aman’s post highlighting Balpreet’s ability to dissolve conflict rather than feed it. 

I want to focus on Balpreet Kaur herself; a calm, courageous and strong women. In this age of get injections or get lost and the quest for beauty even if it hurts it is refreshing to hear of a woman who truly accepts herself.

I can’t help but wonder if more people, including myself, aspired to Balpreet Kaur's standard of inner beauty and wisdom how much better off our society would be. Balpreer Kaur is an inspiration and an amazing example of a strong woman.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Will I be pretty?
The Body Project


  1. Thank you for sharing this. What a difference to respond to a superficial attack with grace, dignity and caring. I wish I could meet her.

  2. This is an inspirational story to come out of something mundane and cruel.

    Thanks so much for linking up :)


  3. Brenda,
    I agree and wish I could meet her too.

  4. Sarah,
    It was my pleasure.

  5. {Melinda} There is so much more to a person than their appearance. There are people I've met who I thought were gorgeous who seemed pretty ugly to me after I got to know them. And I've known people who were just average who became very beautiful/attractive to me because of their sweet and/or generous hearts.

    God made us all unique and special. Thank goodness for variety! It's what makes life interesting and rich!

  6. wow, I love her response and I must admit I admire her attitude. I have different believes myself (since I'm not religious) and I approve of body modification to some extent (like removing facial hair or having a plastic surgery in case of an injury). otherwise I try to embrace my "weaknesses". for example, I would never ever make my breast bigger, although I have an A-cup (I wouldn't go under knife just to become more sexually attractive) but I have a piercing, just because I like it.
    love your blog btw! :)

  7. I am so tired of cruel people, so tired. Great post and we must continue to pray. Visiting from SITS.

  8. I agree with the commenter above... So tired of cruel people. But it's wonderful to hear about this woman's dignity and positive attitude, what an example she has set. I hope the bully who posted her picture truly meant the apology and learned something!

  9. Masa,
    I admire her attitude too. I think as we become a more global world it is more important than ever to be accepting of others regardless of their beliefs and being true to ourselves is most important of all. Thanks for the blog love. I like your blog too. Your photography is incredible.

  10. Agapewoman,
    I am tired of cruel people too. Being able to hide behind a computer has made our society much crueler. This has to stop. Thanks for stopping in.

  11. Kate,
    I agree. If any good is to come from this at least Balpreet was able to use this as an opportunity to teach others about the Sikh religion. Education is one of the first steps to ridding our society of ignorance and hate. I sure hope it helped. We have way too much hate in our world.

  12. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Revanche,
    You are welcome.

  14. This is awesome. I wish I felt that comfortable and accepting of my body. Perhaps I need to start viewing it as a gift from God as she does.

  15. Oh, thanks for linking up for Flashback Friday. Come back every week.

  16. Chasing Joy,
    I still struggle with this. My mom who was born with a cleft palate has always viewed her body as a gift from god. Perhaps I need to think more like Balpreet and my Mom.

  17. Chasing Joy,
    BTW - I love Flashback Friday.

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  19. What a strong woman, I love her response and the view that your actions are more important than physical appearance. Thanks for sharing with Throwback Thursday linkup. Pinned to our Throwback Thursday Pinterest board. Hope you will join us again this week!