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Now that her brows are full again, "it's been amazing. The Latest. Provided that women maintain long tresses, the community generally looks the other way when it comes to removing facial and body hair. By choosing I Acceptyou consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. Kaur, who feels most connected to her body during meditation, could almost feel the missing hairs.

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Indeed, many Sikh women here and in their native India are abandoning kesh in favor of the modern idea of beauty. When she was 15, Kaur sneaked a razor from a complimentary toiletry bag her father had brought back from a business trip. Her aunt would tell her she is near marrying age and that facial hair is unattractive. When she graduated, she stopped shaving her legs. The topic of kesh is often avoided at the gurdwaras, or Sikh temples, but is discussed online in forums or in intimate discussions among younger women, said Manpreet Kalra, co-founder of Kaurista.

Although men and women are held to the same standard in Sikhism, there is a cultural double standard on kesh. Then, each time she sat down and closed her eyes, it felt as if there was a roadblock. Frustrated, she gave up.

I feel like I've been connecting faster," she said. For observant Sikhs, the body is a gift to be honored by leaving it in its natural state. Sikh women increasingly stop observing this practice as modern standards of beauty have become more prevalent. Last Name.

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Print Subscriptions. In the weeks after Kaur visited the threading kiosk, she said, she felt self-conscious hanging out with Sikh friends or going to the gurdwara. They are taught that every single pore of a person's body is a way to connect with Waheguru, the Sikh name for God. Altering the body can inhibit that ability. Like many South Asian women, Kaur has thick, dark hair on her face and body.

She waited a few weeks before she even tried to meditate.

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She kept it for weeks before working up the courage to shave her legs — on the morning of a friend's pool party. Hanging nearby was a photo of a South Asian bride, laden with ornate gold jewelry, her heavily made-up eyes cast down and a gold embroidered scarf pulled over her hair. Reddit Pocket Linkedin. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. The shift has made it harder for women like Kaur who want to stay committed to their kesh but feel pressure from inside and outside their Sikh communities.

Myra, a petite woman with light eyebrows and nary a hair on her arms, took a long thread between her teeth and wrapped it around her fingers as she jerked hairs off Kaur's face. But as India urbanized and Bollywood and foreign movies promoted a new fashion norm, more women began to treat the religious requirement as flexible, said Gurinder Singh Mann, a professor of Sikh studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Guruka Singh, who blogs on the popular site SikhNet. Check your inbox for a welcome. Start your day with the top stories you missed while you were sleeping.

At 19, she attended a Sikh retreat and was the only woman there who removed any hair, which at one point made her the target of other attendees' scorn when they brought up the topic of kesh.

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Her dark eyebrows were pencil-thin. First Name. Today, for many women, the mandate against removing body hair has been conveniently regarded as largely applying to men. The other women spoke about embracing their natural beauty. Cookie banner We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. Filed under: Featured Faiths Family Life.

Religious leaders, Singh Mann said, have been fumbling to address the problem. In a society where razor saturate the airwaves and Brazilian waxes are a common beauty ritual, keeping kesh can be a daunting struggle. For Sikhs, hair is more than just about honoring the body or maintaining their identity. Share this story Twitter Facebook. In middle school, classmates called her "fur ball.

Sikhs in America have found themselves wrapped in a culture even more obsessed with the waxed, plucked and clean-shaven. For six months, the year-old Sikh had resisted the urge to have her brows groomed, as she had regularly done in the past.

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Birpal Kaur, a community relations associate with the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, has struggled with the issue for years. But in her Koreatown apartment, the more personal effects of the threading took a toll.

When she spoke in front of a group, she felt everyone noticed her groomed eyebrows. Rimmy Kaur resisted the temptation for months but gave in once — quickly regretting the decision. Birpal Kaur is a Sikh woman who struggles to maintain kesh, which in the Sikh faith means she keeps all her hair head and body.

Rimmy Kaur, 22, a friend of Birpal's, said she recently spent a year living with relatives in Orange County, Calif. Deseret News home. Growing up in Utah, I wanted to be a Latter-day Saint.

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The next year, a couple of months after she got her driver'sKaur got her eyebrows threaded for the first time. Though Kaur felt ambushed at the time, the message remained with her for months and, as a college sophomore, she decided to begin phasing out hair removal. American Sikhs face cultural conflict with 'kesh'. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from.

A few years later, in graduate school, she stopped doing her underarms.

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In college, she continued shaving and threading off and on. In the next moment, however, she acknowledged that she and other young Sikh women have a romanticized expectation of meeting someone who will appreciate the body in its natural state. Maintaining kesh, or hair, is one of the five articles of faith as ordered by the 10th guru. address required.

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