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Balpreet Kaur, Sikh Warrior Princess

October 4, 2012

It’s last summer. My sister-in-law, Pattie, and I are lounging around at her cottage on The Lake (that would be Ontario). Naturally, we’re in our “babe-ing suits,” as my toddler son used to call the attire. Only we are comfortably past the age of any “babe-ing.” And what a relief it is. Because Pattie’s two attractive daughters in their 20s have a much different hygienic standard than we had growing up. “Yeah, it’s called a landing strip. Practically mandatory.” Pattie is saying. “I’m glad I don’t have to do that,” we shudder in unison.

How did we come so far from The Joy of Sex, the manual we “followed” in the 70s?  As I recall, it advocated not even shaving one’s underarms or legs. (1) Now there are health websites that offer ideas for “creative pubic topiary,” such as dyed red hearts for Valentine’s Day as “an incredibly sweet gesture you can make for a man.” Supposedly, there is a vast catalog of different shapes and sizes to choose from, sometimes using stencils. (2) And I thought stencils were best used for carving Halloween pumpkins…or painting period chair backs.

But this practice doesn’t stop at wannabe Playboy Bunnies. It’s called “virgin waxing” — of female children around the age of eight or nine. A website for a New York skin care center declares, “If a teenager has never been waxed before, hair growth can be stopped in just 2 to 6 sessions. Save your teenager a lifetime of waxing…and put the money in the bank for college education instead! Ask about our special teenager prices.” (3)

This clean-and-bare look (which resembles that of an underage, prepubescent girl) actually originated in ancient Egypt and Greece when prostitutes had to shave for both hygienic reasons and as a clear sign of their profession.” (4) (In point of fact, such denuding can lead to, among other things, staph boils and abscesses, besides the inter-partner spreading of strep or staph bacteria.) (5)

The mention of “prostitutes” is tangentially apt as it’s believed that “hardcore [Internet] pornography has become somewhat of a source of sexual education for teenage boys in certain areas of the United States.” (6) Hence, Pattie’s observation of “practically mandatory.”

Mercifully, Cindy Gallop is offering an alternative with her website, http://www.makelovenotporn.com, and eventually video, http://www.makelovenotporn.tv. “She aims to re-educate people via the internet, so that young men don’t think that’s always the normal way of behaving in the bedroom and their girlfriends don’t have to pretend to like it.” (7) You can be sure that is where I would be directing my teenage son, if it comes to that…better to guide his Internet explorations than to ignore the inevitable.

All of which brings me to this Jezebel post, “Reddit Users Attempt to Shame Sikh Woman, Get Righteously Schooled.” (8) [featured below]  As writer Lindy West puts it:

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…”

The whole unfoldment is a classic example of code-cracker Cathy Eck’s triangle process as gleaned from Pythagoras. True beauty moves to the apex of the pyramid, with the dual/opposite perceptions of pretty v. ugly at either bottom corner where they belong. (Rather than having a false notion of “pretty” mistakenly placed at triangle tip, with no room for  all-encompassing true beauty. Which, in this case, includes women of all shapes, depilatory states, and guises). It illustrates a welcome move toward Unity Consciousness in action — the pointed Third Eye as pure, single vision. (9)

Click through to read what transpires next. It is, indeed, lovely.

Footnotes

1.  Comfort, Alex. Joy of Sex 1972 Edition. Simon & Schuster.
2.  Bradley, Margrit. “Pubic Topiary — The Brazilian Landing Strip is so Passe!” Retrieved October 4, 2012, from http://bit.ly/RDTOKj
3.  Retrieved October 4, 2012, from http://bit.ly/UHrBAC
4.  Winters, Leigha. “Pubic Hair Removal: Shaving.” Retrieved October 4, 2012, from http://bit.ly/RDUuPB
5.  Gibson, Emily, MD. “The war on pubic hair must end.” April 29, 2011. Retrieved from  http://bit.ly/SA3iXA
6.  Wettleson, Emily. “Beating Around the Bush.” February 13, 2012. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/T3R85y
7.  Brown, Larisa. “Oxford graduate launches erotic website as alternative to hardcore porn to prevent men becoming ‘inconsiderate lovers.’” September 16, 2012. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/WpNt6n
8.  West, Lindy. “Reddit Users Attempt to Shame Sikh Woman, Get Righteously Schooled.” September 26, 2012. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/O5KM8W
9.  Eck, Cathy PhD. “The Third Eye and the Illusion: Healing Mental Blindness.” Retrieved on October 4, 2012 from http://nolabelsnolies.com/third-eye-and-the-illusion

Reddit Users Attempt to Shame Sikh Woman, Get Righteously Schooled

By Lindy West, Reddit – September 26, 2012

http://tinyurl.com/8gy84ww

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 f—ing 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 a—ole 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–, 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.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mandy permalink
    October 5, 2012 6:46 am

    Mine too!! Thanks for this Julie 🙂

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  1. Balpreet Kaur, Sikh Warrior Princess « Woo Woo World

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