When Balpreet Kaur, a young Sikh American, discovered she was being widely mocked on the Internet for her facial hair, she proudly pushed back. A picture of Ms. Kaur went viral on the Internet this week, with many commenting on the unusual amount of hair on her face. For hormonal reasons, Ms. Kaur has far more facial hair than most women.
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One of the most distinguishing features about Sikhs is the practice of keeping long uncut hair kes. Some women, do not cut the hair on their head, some do not cut or trim any hair at all, while others cut their hair. With any religion, people practice it to the degree they want to or are comfortable with. Which forces Sikh women, both who chose to be Sikh and are born Sikh, into being constantly policed on what they do with their hair. And the second reason for keeping hair is due to the heavy persecution Sikhs were facing at the time. The turban and hair became an identity marker, which made people easily identified as Sikh so people were able to uphold their faith. It also forces people to be held up to a higher standard. Guru Gobind Singh also asked people to begin wearing the turban, something Sikhs had already begun to do, in an attempt to mimic the Gurus styles. The turban was chosen because at the time they were a symbol of aristocracy, and allowing women and lower-caste people to wear it aimed to abolish the structure within itself. Then, why is it that most Sikh women do not wear the turban?
I have never shaved. It has made me internally strong! I love feeling the sun on my legs! I love swimming! I wear shorts on top of my swim-suit and just go for it! Some may judge my hairy legs and pits, but who cares!