http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandst...son/2012/sep/26/sikh-online-abuse-facial-hair The Sikh woman who stood up to online abuse about her facial hair When a picture of student Balpreet Kaur was posted on the website Reddit and attracted insulting comments, she responded calmly – and earned a well-deserved apology 'Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us,' wrote Balpreet Kaur in response to comments on Reddit. This is a story of Reddit, race and taking pictures of women without their consent. Remarkably, it has a happy ending. Earlier this week, an unidentified man surreptitiously took a picture of Ohio State University student Balpreet Kaur and posted it on Reddit, in the Funny section, with the caption: "I'm not sure what to make of this." Implicit in his words was the invitation that we all gawp at Kaur because she is a woman who has facial hair. Kaur, a student of neuroscience and psychology, was unaware that her picture had been taken until a friend mentioned it on Facebook, by which time her looks, outfit and turban were all being mocked anonymously on the internet. With a humbling display of maturity, Kaur joined the thread and explained: "I realise that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptised 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 [we] must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will." She goes on to explain that this involves not depilating: "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." She also says: "I'm not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am." Well, that shut the "douchebags" up. In their place, the thread was flooded with positive comments, backslaps and a fair amount of personal body image sharing in support of Kaur. Even more impressive, the man responsible for posting the picture offered a tail-between-the-legs mea culpa. "I felt the need to apologise 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." And so began a new thread of Reddit users praising the man for his apology. So what have we learned here? That the nuances of the Sikh religion are still lost on some, that taking pictures of people without their consent is despicable and that little beats a good old-fashioned apology (except, perhaps, not doing wrong in the first place). Oh, and that Balpreet Kaur is a bit of hero, frankly.