The picture was taken, without her knowledge or consent, and posted to reddit.com (again without her knowledge or consent). The person who posted it on reddit did this because he thought her facial hair made her look peculiar. A lot of people who viewed the picture thought so too and posted a lot of unkind comments about her appearance.
Somehow, Balpreet found out about this. I imagine she was hurt – (well, I would have been if the picture had been of me. Whether it is right or not, a woman is generally judged on her appearance rather than her character, personality, intelligence, or experience. Is her nose too long? Are her eyes too close? Too far apart? Is she overweight? Too Skinny? Are her breasts too small? Too big? Floppy or firm? Is Her skin colour too dark?) – and she would be forgiven surely if that hurt had caused her to respond in anger ?
But she did not
This is what she posted
Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. … I’m not embarrased 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. …
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. …
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.”
This calm, dignified response shamed the person who posted her picture on reddit and elicited an apologetic response in return
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. …
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 a**hole 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.
Who we are in life is influenced by those we come into contact with, and the thoughts and actions of those who have gone before. Balpret mentions her aspiration to make a difference, however small, to the world as her legacy. I think she has already done that. Many people who have read the comments mocking her appearance, and her dignified reply, now have a greater understanding of and respect for Sikhism than they had before.
Balpreet is a very special lady, one who demands a lot of respect for turning a situation where she was being mocked into an opportunity to educate her attackers. If only followers of other religions could respond to criticism in the same way