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momtofour
January 1st, 2010, 08:21 PM
I once met a young woman from Syria who is Muslim. I asked her why women of her faith cover their hair. She told me that hair on a woman is considered sensual and a "turn on" for men. Since then, I have come to realize that women of other faiths also cover their hair: Orthodox Jews, Amish, etc. Some traditions only require MARRIED women to cover their hair, as if to say that she "belongs" to someone. I remember when I was a child, many years ago, that women in my church (Anglican) wore hats or covered their hair with a kerchief to enter church. I guess it was a mark of respect for God, or to cover one's "nakedness", so to speak. I would welcome more knowledge on this subject.

Fiferstone
January 1st, 2010, 08:40 PM
I was raised RC (born in 1962), and I am old enough to remember when women routinely did wear some sort of lace headcovering to church. The fashion for lace "mantillas" in the 60s came from Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore one to church. By "mantilla" I don't mean the traditional spanish long lace veils, but instead a triangle of lace that reached just to shoulder length. My mother had a couple (black, off-white '"champagne" color, and white) that she'd wear depending on her outfit. You're right, it was a sign of modesty and respect. My mother explained it to me thus: that a woman's lovely hairdo could prove distracting and should be covered so that people could focus on worship.

TressMeister
January 1st, 2010, 08:52 PM
A Sikh woman who wore a turban told me her belief that every hair on a person's body has a purpose, that none should be removed or cut.

Here is a related quotefrom http://fateh.sikhnet.com/Sikhnet/youth.nsf/by+Date/4b8846437dea8d998725673200810552!Open:


"Hair draws energy from the sun and acts as antenna to the environment, giving us greater sensitivity and intuitiveness. When we tie our hair on top of our head, and cover it with a turban, that energy becomes focused, giving us the power of penetrating projection."


The hair is probably supposed to be over the "Crown Chakra", not at the back of the head the way buns usually are.

The few Amish woman I've known seem to braid the length and wrap it under a bonnet or other cover in the usual bun location at the back of the head.

Sweetness
January 1st, 2010, 09:04 PM
in no way expert or perfect, but if you have "hair questions" in islam it'll be a pleasure to answer them - up to my personal knowledge and comprehension, of course (:

momtofour
January 1st, 2010, 09:40 PM
You're right, Fiferstone. I also remember the "triangle" mantillas in the 1960's. In fact, my husband bought me a beautiful one in Portugal, made of handmade lace, when he was in the military. I was married in 1968 and had the "helmet," teased hair that most women did back in those days, and the mantilla looked very pretty. I, too, remember Jackie Kennedy wearing them. They also used to sell a little "chapel cap" that you could carry in your purse in a little case. My Mom had one. If we were in the city, shopping, and wanted to stop into church to pray, Mom would put hers on. It only seemed to be adult women, though, who had to wear them, so it MUST have had something to do with sexuality. I don't remember her ever putting a head covering on me. And Sweetness, thank you. I would love to hear whatever you know about the subject.

momtofour
January 1st, 2010, 09:44 PM
Sweetness - The girl from Syria also told me that female hairdressers, of the Muslim faith, cannot work on men's hair. That the only man that you can "touch" (even in a professional capacity), is your husband. Is this true?

GoddesJourney
January 1st, 2010, 10:03 PM
I had a quick conversation with my Arabic tutor about this the other day. He says that the men in his coutry (Egypt) are both very passionate and easily distracted by things like a woman's beautiful hair. He drew a comparison to the Mexican guys where I live that can't see a woman walk by without saying something. Then he laughed and said, "You can get arrested for that here." He told me that women cover sometimes depending on social/political issues. Sometimes they're not required to, but they just do it to avoid unwanted attention. I guess it would be like wearing a mini-skirt in the wrong occassion. It gets a lot of unwanted attention.

Yarn Muse
January 1st, 2010, 10:11 PM
They also used to sell a little "chapel cap" that you could carry in your purse in a little case. My Mom had one. If we were in the city, shopping, and wanted to stop into church to pray, Mom would put hers on. It only seemed to be adult women, though, who had to wear them, so it MUST have had something to do with sexuality. I don't remember her ever putting a head covering on me.

I was born in 1961, and remember wearing those little circular chapel veils to church as a little girl. Mom would bobby pin them to our hair. She wore a scarf, mantilla, or a hat. Sometimes my sister and I would wear hats instead of chapel veils. So it wasn't just the adult women who wore them.

I have a friend who usually wears a chapel veil to Mass, even though it isn't required anymore. If you go to Latin Mass (I don't) all the ladies have head coverings of some kind though.

pepperedmoth
January 1st, 2010, 10:37 PM
There's a whole thread discussing Christian headcovering here: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=21079

When Christian women cover their hair, it is usually considered a sign of submission to God, or perhaps to a husband.

SpeakingEZ
January 1st, 2010, 10:49 PM
I've heard the women of Hare Krishna who braid their hair can only undo it for their husbands. For the reasons above, of course, about it being considered sexual. (I'm not associated with the religion and can't cite a source, so I apologize if this is incorrect--I only remember it from a history textbook in high school.)

Tovah
January 1st, 2010, 10:52 PM
I'm Jewish and the tradition is different with different movements within the Jewish Community. Orthodox women cover their hair all of the time once they are married. Some women wear hats, some women wear snoods (really cool!) and some wear wigs-which makes no sense to me. Conservative and Reconstructionist women cover their head in synagogue sometimes with that little lace doily thingy and sometimes a kippah or a take-off on a kippha (yarmalke) with pretty fabrics and ribbons. Women in the Reform movement are not required to have thier heads covered.

As in Islam and other religions, a woman's hair is considered attractive to men, and the head is covered out of respect for God and respect for her relationship with her husband.

http://www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com/home

I can post other articles if anyone wishes.

Snowflakey
January 1st, 2010, 11:12 PM
I'm Chinese, and as far as I know, women in ancient China had different hairstyles depending on their marriage status. Married women, widows, and women who choose celibacy for life keep their hair up to show that they're not available. Single women wear their hair loose and down to attract men to them.

Laylah
January 1st, 2010, 11:12 PM
Sweetness - The girl from Syria also told me that female hairdressers, of the Muslim faith, cannot work on men's hair. That the only man that you can "touch" (even in a professional capacity), is your husband. Is this true?

Ok let me clarify first that I am not a Muslim, but I have studied Islam and grew up around Muslims. So... don't take my word completely.

That is not 100% true. Anyone who is her "mahram" (aka, her husband or someone she can't marry, like family) another woman, or a young child can touch her. So, other men such as her father, her brother, or her son can touch her.

eta: it also depends on what part of her body the person is touching. After she reaches puberty, no man can touch her entire body except her husband. Her mahrams/young children/other women can touch the part of her body that is not between her navel and knees.

momtofour
January 1st, 2010, 11:43 PM
My goodness...thanks for all of the info. I also looked at some of the older threads about religious hair covering. Very interesting!! Laylah, I knew about the family members who could touch a woman, but the girl I spoke with talked about women not being able to touch a man, such as give him a haircut, as a hairdresser. She said that, in Islam, female hairdressers can ONLY work on female clients. Is this true? It makes sense because men might become stimulated by a woman touching them, even if it is just their head.

Laylah
January 1st, 2010, 11:52 PM
My goodness...thanks for all of the info. I also looked at some of the older threads about religious hair covering. Very interesting!! Laylah, I knew about the family members who could touch a woman, but the girl I spoke with talked about women not being able to touch a man, such as give him a haircut, as a hairdresser. She said that, in Islam, female hairdressers can ONLY work on female clients. Is this true? It makes sense because men might become stimulated by a woman touching them, even if it is just their head.

Yes, that is true, because then an unrelated man would be touching her (with his scalp).

invisiblebabe
January 2nd, 2010, 12:04 AM
I am a Christian and I do not practice head covering.

I respect those who do, though. :flower:

Sweetness
January 2nd, 2010, 12:12 AM
Then to understand Islam is also to understand that a religion (outside one’s own analysis of the texts itself) is always cultural, political, mediatized, etc. And that we have to be very careful with generalizations. To understand Islam, the only way is to read the Qu’ran with an open mind and curiosity… and then see.

Some interpretations are very strict and “word by word” (and some would say quite crazy and not contextualized), others are more nuanced and believe meaning must always be given context (the pages after /before, the world we live in today, etc.) … it’s really a question of reading, thinking, reflecting and deciding what the Qu’ran fundamentally means, to a sincere individual.

And as for values, I think most Muslims would agree that modesty is among the very important social values.

This means trying to be simple, humble, discrete, not using our body or money as a social tool to fit in society (using our mind, ideas, thoughts, values is much more important than “looks” to be recognized and appreciated socially)

Charming men (or women for men), all sexual and sexy flirty behavior, etc. are not supposed to be social. It should be kept private (among spouses – and fidelity is very important value too, both for men and women. So "not playing with fire" is sort of in there with the idea of being simple and humble and not "all exposed"... as well as the question of women protection (against rape, for one thing).

And I think hair is for women an important aspect of feminity, beauty, and yes, sexuality … I think we can all agree on this, otherwise we would see a bald Miss World now and then :p :lol:

In fact, Muslim women are supposed to take good care of themselves, be as beautiful as they can, be healthy inside out, sensual, arousing, be... feminine and feel good in their body. Only, it's not for a public showing but her body is something that's part of her intimacy and sexuality with her husband.

It's only "focused" towards the couple itself, by respect, and mutual trust, and of course fidelity between spouses. It aims a beautiful sexuality and complicity long-lasting among them. And because it's an offered "privileged" it makes the other and yourself feel special, unique, loved... and it feels good. The husband's not suppose to go charming ladies either, of course... (or other ladies charming your husband....). His sexuality is focused on his wife's and her's on him, and that is seen as something good, shared, and more rock-solid to build a happy family and generations of children to come. Something more safe to grow into. And this is pretty much shared in other faiths too, I think.


It's not really only a question of hair, but of keeping our "charming selves" more private, humble.... not flashing it all around.


Another aspect of hair covering in the public sphere is for jealousy between women to be reduced, or at least would be in a perfect world (think of teenagers comparing weight, styles, hair, nails, etc. and self-defeating / self hating in comparison to the hot sexy fabulous girl at school who has all the boys hypnotized …). And for men to see you as an intelligent human individual (and not a sexy body).


That’s a little how I explain that women’s hair is something that can be quite “powerful” and that to be humble and not using hair as charming or power tool on the social sphere, it’s ideally kept in the most humble and respectful way for God, the husband and close family (and our own pleasure of feeling beautiful for ourselves !)


Ps. Tovah is right for the different interpretations according to mouvements, cultures, etc. and that “ a woman's hair is considered attractive to men, and the head is covered out of respect for God and respect for her relationship with her husband.” (:

In fact, I think hair is an attractive thing no matter the faith or non-faith… hair is beautiful and it is attractive, otherwise we wouldn’t be here posting like mad on a long hair forum, and shampoo commercials wouldn't be so lucrative :p

Sweetness
January 2nd, 2010, 12:35 AM
I'm Chinese, and as far as I know, women in ancient China had different hairstyles depending on their marriage status. Married women, widows, and women who choose celibacy for life keep their hair up to show that they're not available. Single women wear their hair loose and down to attract men to them.

Interesting too (:


I find that longer, shiny, healthy hair kept down is pretty much an international (yet not universal, of course) attraction for men, isn't it?

And we do say that buns and up do's are more "serious looking" in general... (the very stereotypical imaginary sexy secretary does undo her hair bun and shake her head with sensuality when macho muscular boss come's in to flirt with her, no ? :eyebrows: ah, and the glasses go too ! :lol:)


I often see that young girls wear long hair, and then cut it once mothers and getting older ... and most elderly ladies do have short hair cuts (at least around here :) ...) but I love longer hair at every age and hope mine will be (:


Hair is a very interesting social / gender / cultural phenomena, when you think of it !

I'll love to hear other's thoughts on this and cultural / religious diversity on the subject and Tovah do not hesitate to link other interesting articles !

Dreams_in_Pink
January 2nd, 2010, 01:08 AM
not all muslim women cover their hair tho; i'm muslim and live in Turkey,and i'll never EVER wear a turban. I even wear hair extensions :D

Edit: Sweetness, your post is too long to quote here, but i agree with every word you said there :)

Sweetness
January 2nd, 2010, 02:08 AM
not all muslim women cover their hair tho

Very true !
And thanks :oops: feel free to add anything that comes to your mind, of course (:




Ah, another interesting thing about hair covering, that a friend told me about, is that the synthetic materials often used in hijabs today actually damage hair overtime.

To protect her hair, she always wears a 100 % cotton "cap" under it. Solved the risk of damaging her locks.


She also said that it's good to have the hair down sometimes outside and make it take a little sunshine now and then (interior garden, private roof terasse, backyard, etc), but otherwise, having it up under the cotton cap and hijab when outside felt - she said - like it protected her hair from so many things (wind, too much sun drying it out, too cold, humidity, rain, dust, pollution, microbes, etc.) and, of course, from breakage.

Of course, that's not why she covers her hair in the first place, but I found it interesting.



That girl has the most AMAZING hair ever (to waist and SO healthy, I always found it so beautiful).



She uses henna now and then but otherwise does nothing special at all. She uses any *bad* shampoo that she comes across, never does any oiling, never any treatments of any kind, etc.


anyways, maybe it's the genetics too :p

Dreams_in_Pink
January 2nd, 2010, 02:17 AM
it's very probably genetics :)

there's another interesting thing: my family has many members wearing turban and most of them actually have layers cut and dyed bleach blonde :D that's normal but, i was kinda shocked to hear that at first :D

I also know women who stopped wearing turban for scalp issues. I guess i'd have the same issues too (itching, flaking and stuff) as i have a sensitive scalp.

momtofour
January 2nd, 2010, 09:51 AM
Thank you, All! I am learning a lot. Sweetness, thank you for taking the time to post, and don't aplolgize for your English. You express yourself very well. I understood every word and I agree with everything you said. It is obvious that you are a very deep, contemplative person who does a lot of thinking. I so agree with honoring God by honroing our body and showing respect for others by keeping ourselves as pure and holy as possible. And yes, I also believe that we should do our very best to please God at all times, and it IS a very personal thing between Him and us. And yes, outward symbols of obedience, such as head covering, means nothing if it is ONLY that; an outward symbol. It should be a REFLECTION of our desire to please God, and not to impress, flirt, compete, etc. God does not honor the latter. Loving God first, above all others, then loving one another, is the tenant of all of the Abrahamic religions. And no matter what belief system we follow, we should try to be the best person that we can be. Thank you again, so much. I have really enjoyed your post. You have given me a lot to think about.

Dreamernz
January 2nd, 2010, 10:29 AM
See I thought that growing hair itself was encouraged because in itself it is a covering of the body and is modest in this way, that this is why women are meant to grow it :D I suppose it depends on how you perceive the hair and why you choose to grow it :)

marobader
January 2nd, 2010, 10:51 AM
I am muslim too and I am wearing hagab (scarf cover the whole hair) yes its relagious thing
no man I can marry can see my hair except the husband

bumblebums
January 2nd, 2010, 11:10 AM
Covering or hiding hair goes back to the Bible (Corinthians), and it is a long-living tradition in the Middle East, where all three of the "Religions of the Book" originated.

It's practiced in Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and the more conservative branches of post-schism Christianity, such as the Amish and Mennonite traditions.

As far as the married/unmarried distinction wrt covering hair--watch Edwardian and Victorian English films, and you'll notice that unmarried women wear their hair uncovered, but as soon as a woman gets hitched, she starts wearing a cap.

If you ever visit Russia and want to enter a church, some of them sell kerchiefs at the entrance, just as they do in mosques in some Muslim countries.

[ETA: kerchiefs are for WOMEN, of course. Men cannot have their heads covered in an EO church.]

Arkady
January 2nd, 2010, 11:22 AM
Corinthians is not in the Old Testament but the New - its correct title is "The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians". The verses in question is 11:6, which runs thus:

If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.

Shearing or shaving off the hair of a woman was the punishment for an adultress or prostitute. A woman's hair was considered to be her crowning glory, to be revealed fully only to her husband - as the woman herself was supposed to be the man's crowning glory. If she left her hair uncovered before the eyes of others, according to Paul that meant she was effectively putting herself on display like a prostitute and thus should be treated as such.

Othala
January 2nd, 2010, 01:51 PM
I was raised in a Muslim family but none of the women in my family cover their hair.

One year, my father went to Petra on holiday because he always had the ambition to see the red city carved out of stone. Anyway, he came back with a load of photos of himself in different poses with Petra in the background. He was wearing the traditional Arab male headcovering with a rope-like thing around his head to keep the cloth in place.

We all joked that my father was the only one in the family, and a male at that, to wear a hijab (Islamic veil).

3azza
January 2nd, 2010, 02:34 PM
About muslim women: much has to do with the culture in addition to religion. Some wear the veil but touch other men, like when shaking hands, and some are more commited and they don't shake hands with stranger males.
One more thing: Women cover their hair because hair is given a great asthetic value in islam and is considered as the crown of female beauty.

Liss
January 2nd, 2010, 04:16 PM
My grandfather was a Sikh who moved to Australia in the 50s. He anglicised the family so the children could fit in with the surroundings as best as possible, not being treated badly for being dark skinned and different.

I think it is wonderful that times have changed so much over the years that people are being accepted for who they are and how they are, and not feeling forced to change religions just to fit into society.

I know that not everyone is accepting these days and that many people are very curious to get an understanding, but it is making a difference. I am sure that if my grandfather made his move today, he would not be cutting his hair and sending his children to Catholic shools to fit in with the society around them, or have the need to make any dramatic changes.

BTW - I am white skinned, blue eyes and with light coloured hair by pure freak of nature!

SlightlySoprano
January 4th, 2010, 02:19 PM
I was raised in an orthodox jewish setting, both my grandparents and my extended family on my fathers side are orthodox. My parents and my immediate family is conservative, as am I, but I went to an orthodox school as a child, so my opinions of modesty are often more restrictive than the norm. I believe that a woman should wear a head covering of some sort while she's praying because when you are in a synagogue you are in the presence of God and have no need to flaunt your hair.

My grandmother and all my aunts on my dad's side wear either a full head covering or a wig (which i think is dumb. why cover your hair with more hair? That's not modest). Nobody can see their hair, i'm not even so sure their husbands have seen their heads in years (hahaha)

MandyBeth
January 4th, 2010, 02:47 PM
Isn't the reverse - cutting of the hair - used to show independence in a way? My grandmother, in one of her rebel ideas, cut her hair up to a chin length bob (from past knee length) and refused to let it grow any longer for the rest of her life. It was that she COULD cut her hair off that she did, and I know the cutting was in a time when she changed religion going from very devout Southern Baptist to the wife of and liking life as the wife of a Friends raised, Congregationalist minister.

From family stories, the fact that she had the audacity to cut her hair - and the arrests for protesting - was by far more of a scandal to the family than her leaving her church. She could always come to her senses and return, but she had cut her hair......

She passed when I was 4, but her sister who followed in the family scandal causing habits of never marrying, never having children and cutting of her hair recently had a full blown tequila shot type party to celebrate her 100th birthday. Evie stands by the fact that she'd rather have dark chocolate and tequila for a party than some stale cake and foo-foo juice drink.

So is it that hair is grown out for social, potentially religious basis as much as it's cut for the same reasons?

SheaLynne
January 4th, 2010, 03:56 PM
I am a member of a local church of Christ (independent and autonomous, not part of any larger denomination), and I wear a head covering when praying or studying God's word. It is not required in our congregation and there is only one other lady who wears one, but I came to the personal conclusion that I Corinthians 11 does apply to us today and is very clear about the covering as a sign of recognition of a woman's role in relation to man's/her husband's.

Within our church and other churches of Christ, there are basically three different takes on I Cor. 11.

One view is that I Corinthians 11 was aimed specifically at the Corinthians and a local issue that only applied to them. Those who take that view do not believe it matters today how men or women wear their hair or if they wear coverings or not. From what I can find, that view has only emerged in the last 100 years.

The second view is that the covering being referred to is the woman's long hair itself. Those holding that view believe that men should have short hair and women long hair, although in practice there is a very fine line between what is considered too short for women or too long for men, and most of the women have what I would consider "short" hairstyles. I do not know anyone in our church or similar churches of Christ who would say a woman's hair should never be cut or should be anywhere near LHC standards for "long."

The third view is that a woman should wear a covering when praying. Even among those with this view, there are very differing practices. Coverings range from a lace doily to something opaque that covers all the hair. Some believe women only need to wear a covering when in a public service, while others wear one anytime they pray. Some believe only married women must cover, others believe any woman who has become a Christian (married or unmarried) should wear one.

I used to be of the "long hair" belief, though ironically my hair is longer now than it ever was when I was of that belief. I was uncomfortable with the way "long hair" was defined and began to study the issue. I was surprised to find that I actually agreed more with the covering, and so I've begun to practice that. The purpose is not for modesty (to be consistent, if I have to wear a covering at any time in public, then it is also forbidding my husband to ever cover his head in public!), but as a symbol of my position as a woman and wife when I am praying or learning from God's word. Personally, I have chosen to wear a triangle scarf that I tie loosely underneath, and I have different colors and prints that I wear based on my outfit's color that day. I only put it on as the worship service begins, and take it off when it is over. I do not wear one at home except when I am praying or studying the Bible.

There are churches of Christ where the covering is taught, though often it varies by geographical region and from congregation to congregation. Churches of Christ in parts of Alabama are known for requiring the women to cover.

Hope that helps regarding one take on Christian practices....