American Turban

Recognizing the female Sikh identity

A Sikh woman attends a vigil last Wednesday night in San Jose, California in honor of the victims of the Wisconsin shooting. (source: Karaminder Ghuman)

A Sikh woman attends a vigil last Wednesday night in San Jose, California in honor of the victims of the Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting. (source: Karaminder Ghuman)

Gunisha Kaur, on the Huffington Post, discusses the often-overlooked component of the Sikh identity – that expressed by women:

The American public has started to learn about the significance of the turban and uncut hair to both Sikh women and men. Though Sikh women connect to the male identity on a very personal level through their husbands, fathers and sons, they are not exclusively defined by the image of the turban and the beard. Uncut hair is as much an article of faith for Sikh women as it is for Sikh men. Sikh women are defined in their own right, whether they are wearing turbans, chunis, buns or braids. Women embody this identity, and they participate in it.

The conversation around the issues that Sikhs face has largely focused on Sikh men – the turban and the uncut hair. However, discrimination related to the expression of the Sikh identity by women (who may or may not wear turbans) has not been adequately discussed. When one of the victims of the attack in Wisconsin was a woman and mother, we must also assess our perspective on our identity.  The loss of Paramjit Kaur is a reminder that Sikh women are just as much involved in our identity as well.

See more photos of the San Jose vigil at the Made by KG Facebook page.

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