Truth and hair- always assert themselves

The conflict between modern ideals of beauty and the requirements of the Sikh faith came up in a prior post. Recently, Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa spoke eloquentlyon this issue in an Arkansas publication. Excerpted below are Khalsa’s perspectives on hair, beauty, and truth.

“I liken the inherent programming of the body’s ability to grow hair to truth,” Kaur said. “Truth always asserts itself and cannot be covered for long by a falsehood. Similarly, we can shave, pluck, bleach, color, trip, tweeze, and wax hair, but it will continue to be true to its programming. The hair follicle must be killed or removed to prevent hair from appearing on the face or body. . .”

Kaur had trouble with her own self-esteem in the beginning. “I had a lot of difficulty embracing my natural identity,” she said, “until I realized through a series of experiences that I was disgracing and defacing my God-given natural beauty.”

She said she developed a high degree of self-confidence through her self-acceptance. “I realize,” she said, “that many women do not have the confidence to face the world without masking themselves with cosmetic makeup and procedures such as hair removal. . .” [link]

“We are programmed to have low self-esteem from birth by society and media advertising on behalf of cosmetic corporations,” Kaur said. “It’s all about dollars. We spend much more time hating than loving ourselves and are wrapped in a daily neurosis that we try to dispel with cosmetics and hair removal.”

She wishes men and women could accept themselves to the same degree they are willing to accept her. When asked if she encounters prejudice in our society, she said she has experienced a mixture of responses from others, including awe, amazement, curiosity, confusion, anger and good-natured teasing, but that for the most part, she is treated with a high degree of respect. People are more curious about her turban than her facial hair, she finds.

“It would be so freeing to assume unconditional love as a birthright,” Kaur said. “What could possibly be easier than being completely natural, yet it seems it is the one thing people have the most difficulty doing.” [link]

The author of the article talks about hair as a taboo subject. I’d never really thought of it as such, but maybe it is in Arkansas.

What’s more interesting is how the author frames the role of the men in our lives. She/he claims that “when a woman is willing to talk, it is sometimes her husband who objects.” I know that women perpetuate silly notions of beautyamongst ourselves… but it’sgenerally because of some animalform of competitiveness. It’sfor the purpose of trying to be “attractive” to the opposite sex. So how can we expand notions of beauty for both men and womenin the mainstream Sikh community?


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40 Responses to “Truth and hair- always assert themselves”

  1. A little background to the article.

    Deb Peterson the author of the article “Women deal with taboo of facial, other body hair” is the guide to continuing education at about.com
    http://adulted.about.com/
    You might be interested in viewing her original article. She also interviewed Judy Hoover who has been undergoing month of laser hair removal treatments.

    http://www.baxterbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic
    Deb and I got to know each other as we became guides about the same time. We exchanged a number of forum posts on the subject of hair.
    http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?sr=y&amp

    One day a few weeks ago guides did a true confession session (via email) and I spoke out about having facial hair.

    Deb asked to interview me this last week for her article…

    As far as facial hair being a taboo subject in society, It’s not something anyone discusses much. All energy and focus goes into denial. Together Deb, Judy, and I have broken the taboo by admitting the truth that women do indeed have facial hair, and discussed the length they go to perpetuate the myth that they do not.

    A decade ago I was asked to do seva of helping other women accept their kes. At the time I had no idea how to go about it, still don’t really, except just to try to be supportive of women (and men) gaining the self confidence to be true to their inherent nature.

    One of the incidents which gave me personally a new perspective was that a singh who worked on a construction job had his dhari caught in a drill and a section of it got pulled out ( very painful) As I looked at his face and saw the empty part of his beard where the hair had gotten yanked out, and how it disfigured him, I suddenly had a flash of what it was I had been doing to myself all of my life.

    It’s ultimately so much more fulfilling to embrace rather than to deface and disgrace oneself.

    Our gurus have given us the gift of truth coupled with the possibility of unconditional love.

    Waheguru ji

  2. A little background to the article.
    Deb Peterson the author of the article Women deal with taboo of facial, other body hair is the guide to continuing education at about.com
    http://adulted.about.com/
    You might be interested in viewing her original article. She also interviewed Judy Hoover who has been undergoing month of laser hair removal treatments.

    http://www.baxterbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009902170327
    Deb and I got to know each other as we became guides about the same time. We exchanged a number of forum posts on the subject of hair.
    http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?sr=y&msg=16.13&nav=messages&webtag=ab-sikhism

    One day a few weeks ago guides did a true confession session (via email) and I spoke out about having facial hair.

    Deb asked to interview me this last week for her article…

    As far as facial hair being a taboo subject in society, Its not something anyone discusses much. All energy and focus goes into denial. Together Deb, Judy, and I have broken the taboo by admitting the truth that women do indeed have facial hair, and discussed the length they go to perpetuate the myth that they do not.

    A decade ago I was asked to do seva of helping other women accept their kes. At the time I had no idea how to go about it, still dont really, except just to try to be supportive of women (and men) gaining the self confidence to be true to their inherent nature.

    One of the incidents which gave me personally a new perspective was that a singh who worked on a construction job had his dhari caught in a drill and a section of it got pulled out ( very painful) As I looked at his face and saw the empty part of his beard where the hair had gotten yanked out, and how it disfigured him, I suddenly had a flash of what it was I had been doing to myself all of my life.

    Its ultimately so much more fulfilling to embrace rather than to deface and disgrace oneself.
    Our gurus have given us the gift of truth coupled with the possibility of unconditional love.
    Waheguru ji

  3. Reema says:

    Thanks so much for the background information and especially for speaking on this topic, and your seva Aunty Ji!

  4. Reema says:

    Thanks so much for the background information and especially for speaking on this topic, and your seva Aunty Ji!

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  7. As far as facial hair being a taboo subject in society, It’s not something anyone discusses much. All energy and focus goes into denial

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