Posted by: katieschu | September 30, 2012

Cyber-bullying Victim Serves as an Inspiration

Cyber-bullying Victim Serves as an Inspiration

This is an article about where religious beliefs have affected how a woman fulfills gender stereotypes.  Balpreet Kaur is a follower of the Sikh faith.  She also has a hormone imbalance, which causes her to grow darker facial hair than most women.  

A fellow student snapped a photo of her and posted it online.  People made a joke of the photo, bringing up transgenderedness and saying she was lazy for not waxing/tweezing.

When a friend told her about the photo, Kaur replied in the most graceful way I can imagine.  Instead of getting angry or depressed, she is using this as an opportunity to teach others about acceptance.

She posted on the thread:  “Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I’m not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting, because it’s who I am.”  

She explains the basic principles of her religion in the article.  “The overarching principal is this body is a tool for service,” she explained. “We have to maintain and take care of it while cherishing its original form.” That means that going to the hospital and taking medicine is fine, because one should be healthy in order to be of service to others. But cutting one’s hair or removing one’s facial hair is forbidden, even if societal norms dictate otherwise.  “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,” wrote Kaur, who is the president of the Ohio State University’s Sikh Student Association. “My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body… 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 think that her response to cyber-bullying attacking her gender ambiguity is truly inspiring.  It really makes you think, what if society had no say?  What if we all could just go on living our lives without worrying about someone making us the butt of a joke?  It’s interesting to think about.


  1. It takes such courage and devotion to maintaining authenticity to respond to societal pressures as she does. We can count Balpreet out of the billions of women who are spending their valuable money and time supporting the cosmetics industry and perpetuating the beauty myth. Imagine what we all could accomplish and/or enjoy with such freedom.

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