A Lesson in Real Beauty

A few weeks ago, I posted a little rant here about beauty lies, the media and my daughter.  I shared the challenge I have in accepting any concept of real beauty or real women as being anything more than a new beauty lie in the media.

‘You could say I’ve had beauty concepts on the brain.

So the other morning when I came across Balpreet Kaur and the exchange she had on Reddit, I was blown away.

Online confession, Reddit is my second check on my blackberry each morning when I wake up.  It recently bumped Twitter to the third spot. (first is, for which Scott is entirely to blame. Scott and Fantasy Football…which is something for another blog post.).  I love Reddit: the site, the content and the community.

A Reddit user posted the picture below of a Sikh woman with the caption “I’m not sure what to conclude from this”

The share made its way to the attention of the woman in the photo, Balpreet Kaur. I’m not sure what I would have done in her place, are you?  She decided to reply to the post and left what can only be described as the stunning comment below:

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.

Took my breath away.  What a strong amazing woman. A true role model for all of us spinning and hating ourselves, rather than working on becoming better people.

Although it certainly could have been, her comment is not the end of this story.  The original poster say her comment and went on to write this:

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.

Crazy, right?. A real, honest apology!

As humans, we make mistakes all the time right? I’ve made at least three just this morning. The thing is, the art of the apology had been completely lost.  This apology contains no excuses or back pedalling.  It is made out in public, just like the original post was. The apology matched the mistake perfectly.

I learned something from Balpreet Kaur about beauty this week.  I learned that it is brave. I learned the beauty that comes from within is timeless, and without fear. I remembered that what I should be teaching my daughter is to accept the outside and work on the inside. I learned that there is such a thing as Real Beauty, and found a woman who exemplifies it.

And I was reminded how to say I’m sorry. Like I mean it.

What do you think about this story?  Does it change your idea of beauty?  We’d love to know what you think.


Wanna read more?

Say hi to Scott on twitter at @unmarketing, on Facebook or read more from him at

You can also check out his books UnMarketing and The Book Of Business Awesome/The Book Of Business UnAwesome

Say hi to Alison on twitter @nummiesbras or read more about, and by her, on the Nummies blog 








Article Posted 3 years Ago
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