Tag Archives: Balpreet Kaur

Stranger Pics & The Pope

Contrary to the title of this post, this is not an essay about stranger pictures and the Pope, but rather two separate essays for Role/Reboot. This week, I wrote about the first rule of fight club: don’t take pictures of strangers without their permission. Very obvious corrollary: Don’t post pictures of strangers that you took without their permission.

On rare occasions, stranger pics are meant to celebrate and compliment, in which case, ask permission before snapping and sharing. The rest of the time, when we are taking photos of strangers with the intent to mock, we are actively contributing to a culture of bullying. We all do embarrassing things, accidentally wearing a shirt inside out (a stranger photo recently seen on Twitter), or trying to surreptitiously pick a wedgie (Instagram). If you would like your moments of private shame or your brief lapses in fashion judgment generously overlooked by the Internet, you have to give people the same courtesy. “Being in public” is not equivalent to “giving permission to be photographed and/or mocked/idolized/lusted after/bullied/captioned/edited”. Maybe legally it is, I have no idea, I’m not a lawyer, but ethically it is not.


Last week, after the Pope commented that married couples without children will find bitterness and loneliness, I wrote about what he calls “the culture of well being”, and why wanting to be a parent is the best possible reason to become one, and not wanting to be one is a pretty damn good reason to not.



Related Post: Stranger pic example, hot girls of Occupy Wallstreet.

Related Post: “Don’t take my picture,” “Come on! You’re at the beach!”


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Filed under Gender, Media, Politics, Republished!

How Does the Arc Bend?

Back in 2008, in a speech commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, President Obama elaborated on his famous “arc of justice” quote:

“Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice….”

My best friend and I find ourselves gchatting the same thing to each other at least once a week: “people are the worst.” It might be in response to a political ad, or a terrible headline, or a horrific crime, or just the way the world seems to be behaving at the particular moment in time. It seems a lot less common that we get to say the phrase I infinitely prefer, “people are the best.”

The photo of Balpreet posted on Reddit

So this was a special week when twice–twice!–I got to crow about the goodness in people, the badass-ery of people, the decency and strength of people. First, you may have read about a Sikh woman whose picture was posted on Reddit and then insulted by a bunch of ignoramuses. Some people would cry (and maybe she did, I probably would have), some people would rant and rave (I definitely would), and some people write extremely eloquent, articulate explanations and seek to educate instead of judge. This woman, Balpreet Kaur, is one of those. Read her letter and then response and you will find yourself thinking, for once, people really are the best.

Then, yesterday, a story broke about a Wisconsin anchorwoman who took the uneducated, rude, hurtful words of a viewer and made the story not about her weight, as he would have liked her to do, but about bullying. Jennifer Livingston, like Balpreet, just calmly explains exactly why this approach to her is disrespectful, damaging, and unwarranted. The viewer accuses her of being a poor role model for girls because she is overweight, when in fact Livingston’s response shows she is exactly the kind of role model I would want for my children.

Seriously, you guys, sometime people are just the coolest.

Related Post: Just another horrible story I’ve been ignoring…

Related Post: Thumbs up for the 6 billion


Filed under Body Image, Gender, Media