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Sikh student explains to Reddit trolls why she has beard and sideburns. Gets severe lashing.

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Balpreet Kaur nearly became the latest target on Reddit after commentators went to work
Balpreet Kaur nearly became the latest target on Reddit after commentators went to work

A reddit post poking fun at a Sikh woman (see photo above that was submitted to the site) has gone viral after the victim of an attempt to online bully turns the other cheek and responds with an inspiring and matter-of-fact reasoning as to why she looks the unconventional way that she does. The girl, Balpreet Kaur, a neuroscience student at Ohio State, whom many would say carries masculine features since according to religious purposes does not remove her facial hair, or any other hair on her body, sparked intrigue, and a chance to upload “something funny”, within the reddit poster. The post read a simple, i’m not sure what to conclude from this.”

Balpreet’s response outlined the Sikh religion, one that is constantly misinterpreted within the United States, and also highlights the vanity and ego that has swept our population.

Balpreet says, “I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?”

Below find her full response, followed by an APOLOGY made by the user who posted the original photo of Balpreet.

“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.”

Original posted photo on reddit

The uploader’s apology:

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 comments from readers keep flowing, offering support and wondering why the reaction to the recent anti-islamic film, The Innocence of Muslims, could not have been framed in a similarly elegant and effective way to change to views of closed minded individuals.

Then again perhaps the reddit community notorious for herd behavior and severe brow beating and even hosting a destination of underage young girls (of course without their permission) in suggestive voyeuristic repose might want to look closely as to what it is about their culture that allows intrusive and negative behavior under the veil of anonymity and perverse nerd macho behavior towards women to thrive in the first place….?

One may wonder if reddit on some level has a problem with women and not necessarily the inability to correctly classify the right submit categories as the individual who made the initial post suggested when they offered their apology….

Balpreet Kaur
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  • rnr

    Yeah, if it was a fat man everyone would feel fine talking about his ‘tits’ but because she’s ethnic and a woman, we’re all supposed to feel bad? Everyone is at some point in their lives singled out for how they look, we all just have to deal with it because its mostly things that are beyond your control, but in this case she chooses to be a bearded woman. If you choose to look a certain way you will be treated a certain way and all the commenters here are guilty of the same crime, but they feel ok about it because they think there is a difference!

  • Hannah

    Ignorant. Downright stupid. If you truly think that appearance bears more weight than actions, I hope you never have children. Ugh. Scum of the earth.

  • Hannah

    Well said. Imagine a world free of discrimination…True peace.

  • Hannah

    Another moron hiding behind a computer spewing out uneducated opinions. With a pseudonym like ‘mr jewface’, you can’t expect much more. I bet you look like a real peach yourself.

  • Hannah

    @jakayoh – I don’t see how her appearance negatively effects YOU in any way. And I also don’t understand how you can say that she is thrusting her cultural values on you, when she was simply explaining her beliefs and her appearance without any judgement towards other people. She was obviously trying to educate rather than preach.

    “But you look like a man! If you are a women then it can be argued that
    removing facial hair will ultimately make your appearance more
    flattering .” But she doesn’t CARE about altering her appearance to appeal to YOUR societal views of beauty, and her god is GENDERLESS. If you would actually read what she wrote, maybe you could’ve have a cohesive argument…Instead, you sound like a raging, close-minded moron.

  • DeOh

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure people will remember her more for having a beard. If she wants to have a legacy where people remember her for what she’s done than her looks then she’s set the bar reeeaally high.

  • mr jewface

    yeah…..she still looks gross

  • rock23

    salute to Balpreet’s positive attitude………….

  • rkahendi

    @jakayoh you’re trying to make it seem like a woman who has chosen not to remove her visible facial hair is somehow imposing her culture on other people. HOW??!! She is not forcing other ladies to do the same as herself. She is simply living out the principles of her religion and accepting the body that she lives in. When you think about it, there is nothing revolutionary about having hair growing out of one’s skin.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “proper human anatomy,” but I’d like to point out that people have different bodies. It’s a fact of nature. Some women do have visible facial hair as a matter of course. Some people have darker skin than others. Some people have curlier hair than others. Some people have bigger busts than others. Diversity is part and parcel of the human experience. It is only when people do not understand anatomy that they try to argue that all bodies must look the same.

    When somebody looks different from the norm, and society responds by attacking that person, it makes absolutely no sense to tell the victim of the attacks that she provoked them. It actually defies logic to demand that the person modify her body to make everybody else comfortable. If we were to apply your reasoning to every situation involving people who stand out from the crowd because of their appearance, then we would essentially be saying that:

    1. Dark people living in European communities should bleach their skin and light skinned people living in sub-Saharan Africa should darken their skin.
    2. Everybody with curly hair in a community where straight hair was more common should straighten their hair and vice versa…
    3. Women should have breast augmentation or reduction surgery so that they can look like most other women around them. (The list goes on and on.)

    You are basically arguing that giving in to peer pressure is always the way to go and doing what you believe to be right is arrogant. That is the kind of reasoning that keeps discrimination of all types alive.

  • ursitesucks

    I don’t think you know what the word internet troll means.

  • chantelkm

    Jakayoh- I too am a Christian, and I read this article, and I support her reaction to do what she see fit! She is following her beliefs and there was nothing that she stated that made her sound hollier than though. Also, as Christians, we are not to point fingers, call names and judge people! I give her props for accepting herself no matter how she looks. It makes her a beautiful person!! Her confidence which to stand in front of people and say, “Yes this is me and I accept it!” She just continues to explain her cultural beliefs to help people understand why she is the way she is and refuses to change any aspect of her body! And I love how you say, “I think religion is blinding and that a course on proper understanding of human anatomy is in order.” If Religion is blinding why are you so quick to state that you are a Christian? If a rose was hidden by blinding thorns is it still a rose? To say a proper undersanding of human anatomy is in order, is absurd! You shouldnt’ be crude. I pray for you and for her as well.

  • But you look like a man! If you are a women then it can be argued that removing facial hair will ultimately make your appearance more flattering . I think religion is blinding and that a course on proper understanding of human anatomy is in order. I am a christian and understand sacredness of our body and how it is a vessel for holyness. So your preaching to the choir. But as a christian I do not ‘foist’ my cultural values on other people and say ‘this is who I am accept me for what I am,’ attitude! That is why you are creating a backlash by drawing attention to yourself that is demeaning. Then it is logical to question the ‘rationale’ of why you are doing this in essence to yourself? Is it for a holier than thou standard? Are you esposing your cultural values(inadvertantly)onto non people of non-sikh faith?