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View Full Version : Which religions forbid women to wear pants or cut their hair?


WhyNot
08-24-2006, 09:10 PM
My mother teaches 6th grade, and one of the first activities she does each year is a "tell me about yourself" list. One girl filled in two prompts as follows:

One thing few people know about me is: that I have never and will never be able to cut my hair, because of my religion.

One thing I'd like the teacher to know about me right away is: I cannot wear pants ever, because it's not allowed for women in my religion.

She was dressed fairly "normally", with a long denim skirt and a t-shirt. No head covering. She'd be about 12 years old.

So what religion or denomination might she be?

Vlad/Igor
08-24-2006, 09:18 PM
It sounds like a branch of the Pentecostal movement. There was a particular Pentecostal church in south central Indiana where the women wore long denim skirts, white socks, white tennis shoes (four or five divverent women always wore the same style shoes), a white blouse, long hair that wasn't cut and no makeup. They were so much alike in appearance and different enough from the rest of the population that I could spot them from a ways off. The men, of course, could wear what they wanted.

Vlad/Igor

ChicanoRojo
08-24-2006, 09:20 PM
She was dressed fairly "normally", with a long denim skirt and a t-shirt. No head covering. She'd be about 12 years old.

So what religion or denomination might she be?

It might helps us if you let us know what state or region of the US you live. At least in my region, RGV, that sounds like an non-denominational evangelist.

SnakesCatLady
08-24-2006, 09:22 PM
I agree with Vlad/Igor - It sounds like a Pentecostal sect. My grandmother attended a Pentecostal church and never wore pants, although she did cut her hair. It seemed that when the women got older and their hair started thinning it wasn't considered bad to cut it, but it was really frowned upon for a young woman to cut her hair. I remember attending the funeral of the infant daughter of the daughter of the pastor of the church. It was the only time I ever saw her with her hair unbound, and it pooled on the floor in back of her seat.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2006, 09:24 PM
Sikhs aren't allowed to cut their hair. I don't know about the pants, though.

WhyNot
08-24-2006, 09:26 PM
It might helps us if you let us know what state or region of the US you live. At least in my region, RGV, that sounds like an non-denominational evangelist.
Indeed. We're in Illinois, she's in a suburb south of Chicago.

Diogenes, are sikh women not allowed to cut their hair? I thought it was only the men.

Billdo
08-24-2006, 09:28 PM
Some observant Orthodox Jewish women will only wear long skirts, and not wear long pants. There is no general prohibition, however, agains hair cutting.

River Hippie
08-24-2006, 09:31 PM
There are some denominations like that here in N. Indiana.

Mennonites and Apostolic churches are like that I believe.

ChicanoRojo
08-24-2006, 09:33 PM
Indeed. We're in Illinois, she's in a suburb south of Chicago.

Diogenes, are sikh women not allowed to cut their hair? I thought it was only the men.

According to the Wikipedia article:

Kesh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kesh_%28Sikhism%29)

The Kesh is an article of faith that allows the Sikh to be clearly and quickly identified by his or her unshorn long hair, Kesh. The kanga another article of faith is usually tucked behind the "Rishi Knot" and tied under the turban. The uncut long head hair and the beard in the case of men forms the main kakar for the Sikhs.

ftg
08-24-2006, 09:36 PM
Generally, Christian Holiness Churches have strict dress codes. (Which, as usual, affect women far more than men.) Not necessarily Pentacostal. For some info, start with:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Holiness_Movement

John Mace
08-24-2006, 09:46 PM
One thing few people know about me is: that I have never and will never be able to cut my hair, because of my religion.

One thing I'd like the teacher to know about me right away is: I cannot wear pants ever, because it's not allowed for women in my religion.
Fundamentalist LDS? They mostly home-school, I think, so it would probably be odd to have a FLDS kid in a public school.

ChicanoRojo
08-24-2006, 09:46 PM
She was dressed fairly "normally", with a long denim skirt and a t-shirt. No head covering. She'd be about 12 years old.

I am guessing now that based on your region and from doing some Googling on Pentecostalism, the yound lady may be a Pentecostal or a even a member of the UPCI (http://www.upci.org/).

From Answerbag.com (http://www.answerbag.com/q_view.php/29331)

"Why do Apostolic Pentecostal women always wear dresses and have long hair?

Another area of outward holiness involves the length of hair for men and women. The apostle Paul wrote, [...] Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering" (I Corinthians 11:1-15)."

Map of the US (http://www.valpo.edu/geomet/pics/geo200/religion/pentecostal.gif) showing distribution of Pentecostal population.

carnivorousplant
08-24-2006, 10:10 PM
Some observant Orthodox Jewish women ... There is no general prohibition, agains hair cutting.
Now that's funny!
Er, where's the Jewish smiley???

Eddie, my friend the security guard who had an interesting story about a bar fight, an icepick in the neck and being carried to the ambulance on the bar stool and a Church of God in Christ (I think) preacher (!) remarked upon seeing some odd folks in our place of business, "I bet they are Penecostal. They think looking good is evil."

Lissa
08-24-2006, 11:47 PM
It sounds like a branch of the Pentecostal movement. There was a particular Pentecostal church in south central Indiana where the women wore long denim skirts, white socks, white tennis shoes (four or five divverent women always wore the same style shoes), a white blouse, long hair that wasn't cut and no makeup. They were so much alike in appearance and different enough from the rest of the population that I could spot them from a ways off. The men, of course, could wear what they wanted.

Vlad/Igor

Around here, the Pentecostal women expand the shirt choices to include sweaters which have pictures of bears or kittens. (Anything fluffy and non-threatening. Sparkles and bits of lace are permitted.) T-shirts seem to be permitted only if they carry a religious message.

The tennis shoes, however, must be part of doctrine because every Pentecostal woman I have ever known has worn them. Around here canvas tennis shoes seem to be the "in" thing.

Pentecostal men are harder to pick out of a crowd. In my area, at least, they wear whatever they please. It's only the women who have the "uniform."


They also tend to decorate their homes using teddy bears and "kountry" items.

If you happen to be blissfully unaware of this decorating scheme, it will come in handy to know that "kountry" items can be purchased at either your local county fair or at any "craft mall." It is most frequently bedecked with American flags or hearts-- sometimes both, though blue gingham is very popular. Attempts to be quaint with coy misspellings abound, and the lettering is carefully uneven. Extra points can be achieved in this style if this item includes a teddy bear.

Cunctator
08-24-2006, 11:57 PM
Which, as usual, affect women far more than men.I've attended mass at some traditional Catholic churches that have formal dress codes. On a sweltering hot Sunday in February these codes affect men (required to wear suits and ties) far more than they affect women.

Zahava424
08-25-2006, 12:02 AM
I've attended mass at some traditional Catholic churches that have formal dress codes. On a sweltering hot Sunday in February these codes affect men (required to wear suits and ties) far more than they affect women.
I did a double take when I saw this. I guess it just didn't occur to me that you were from Australia.

Broomstick
08-25-2006, 06:41 AM
Indeed. We're in Illinois, she's in a suburb south of Chicago.

My vote is Pentacostal, then. There are a lot of Pentacostal churches in that area. The Menonites cluster further east, in Indiana out past Porter county. The Anabaptists (Menonites, Amish) don't seem to have a hair-cutting prohibition, and their wardrobes for both the men and women differ somewhat from the Pentacostal styles.

Not all Pentacostal churches follow those two rules, by the way - I've met Pentacostal women with short, styled hair who ocassionally wear pants, but of course it's a different sort of Pentacostal.

MizGrand
08-25-2006, 07:03 AM
Yeah, I'd say Pentacostal as well.

I had a friend when I was oh, twelve or so (2 and 3/4 decades ago) and I visited her home to spend the night several times. She couldn't wear pants or shorts and couldn't cut her hair or wear makeup. She couldn't even listen to the radio or TV. Which was funny because her dad sat in the family room watching TV. I assume he didn't follow the faith; it was mostly her mom imposing these devotions. It was quite scandalous of her to secretly listen to the Top 40 when her mom wasn't around. She also really enjoyed TV at other people houses, so I don't think that *she* believed, just did it to shut her mom up prolly. Poor kid. I can't imagine how it would feel to be so restricted.

I'd love to know what she's up to now. Carla, where are you? I bet you're really smart and makin' lots of money. Do you still play with ponies?

Nava
08-25-2006, 08:06 AM
The skirts could be Opus Dei but not the hair.

GingerOfTheNorth
08-25-2006, 10:22 AM
Originally Posted by Billdo
Some observant Orthodox Jewish women ... There is no general prohibition, agains hair cutting.
Now that's funny!
Er, where's the Jewish smiley???
I don't know why you think that's funny? Jewish Orthodox women haven't got any restriction on cutting their hair. They just have to cover it around men who are not their husband.

Acsenray
08-25-2006, 10:41 AM
Diogenes, are sikh women not allowed to cut their hair? I thought it was only the men.

Both men and women are equally subject to the rule -- they may not cut, trim, or shave any of the hair anywhere on their bodies.

carnivorousplant
08-25-2006, 10:41 AM
I don't know why you think that's funny? Jewish Orthodox women haven't got any restriction on cutting their hair. They just have to cover it around men who are not their husband.

Some very Orthodox women shave their head in order to not show their hair.

Zsofia
08-25-2006, 11:08 AM
Around hereabouts we have a pretty good amount of fringe Pentacostal groups, especially out in the country. Compounds, really, sometimes - "family" churches. You can tell the girls, because they don't just have long hair, they have long uncut hair - it always grows longer in the middle and is often a little raggedy looking, because it never gets a trim.

gigi
08-25-2006, 12:47 PM
I've attended mass at some traditional Catholic churches that have formal dress codes. On a sweltering hot Sunday in February these codes affect men (required to wear suits and ties) far more than they affect women.Wow, dress codes?!? I always figured we could wear what we want because attendance is compulsory. Not that it's not a special occasion, but still.

VunderBob
08-25-2006, 12:54 PM
FWIW, the only hair cutting rule among the Amish is that married men must wear a beard without a moustache, and it is permissible to trim the beard.

alphaboi867
08-25-2006, 04:33 PM
Some very Orthodox women shave their head in order to not show their hair.
Also many Orthodox women wear wigs intead of headscarves.

Harriet the Spry
08-25-2006, 04:34 PM
One of my best friends when I was about 13-14 was Apostolic Pentecostal. Like most kids that age, her religious ideas were mainly what she was brought up with, not something she took up on her own. While the restrictions on women are most obvious, if a man or boy is in that faith he is also expected to dress modestly and in a way that is not "worldly." So muscle shirts, earrings, dramatic hairstyles, etc. would also be out for a teen boy in that faith.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
08-25-2006, 07:03 PM
FWIW, the only hair cutting rule among the Amish is that married men must wear a beard without a moustache, and it is permissible to trim the beard.

I didn't know this was a rule; I just thought it was a fashion statement.

rocking chair
08-25-2006, 07:52 PM
an amish fashion statement. that is a major hoot!

GingerOfTheNorth
08-25-2006, 08:01 PM
Some very Orthodox women shave their head in order to not show their hair.
Ah. I've never met any that do. I've only met women that wear sheitl and snoods.

danceswithcats
08-25-2006, 09:42 PM
There are some denominations like that here in N. Indiana.

Mennonites and Apostolic churches are like that I believe.
That can't be right, at least regarding Mennonites. There are many Mennonites in central PA, and a female who had never been shorn from birth couldn't contain it all in that little hair cap.

Revtim
08-25-2006, 10:45 PM
I heard there's a place in France where the ladies wear no pants.

ftg
08-25-2006, 10:56 PM
I've attended mass at some traditional Catholic churches that have formal dress codes. On a sweltering hot Sunday in February these codes affect men (required to wear suits and ties) far more than they affect women.

There's a lot of rules for many groups in religious places, but I was talking about everyday clothing. BTW, move to a different parish. Around here shorts and sandals are ok.

Broomstick
08-26-2006, 02:51 AM
Ah. I've never met any that do. I've only met women that wear sheitl and snoods.
The ones that shave their heads invariably wear wigs, so it's not like you'd know.

gigi
08-26-2006, 01:14 PM
I didn't know this was a rule; I just thought it was a fashion statement.As I heard somewhere else on the Dope, it's harder to obscure a beard than a wedding band.

GingerOfTheNorth
08-26-2006, 01:46 PM
The ones that shave their heads invariably wear wigs, so it's not like you'd know.
The only orthodox women I know who wear sheitl do not shave their heads (and they are the type I discuss such things with). Hence my confusion.

Annie-Xmas
08-26-2006, 01:57 PM
Religion and Women's Pants (http://www.angelfire.com/amiga/anthony_amanda/DressCodes.html).

carnivorousplant
08-26-2006, 07:34 PM
The only orthodox women I know who wear sheitl do not shave their heads (and they are the type I discuss such things with). Hence my confusion.
I don't know any Orthodox folks well enough to ask. A student in my Hebrew class attended a family funeral in NY. The Aunts she stayed with had stubble showing from beneath their scarves. We presume they were forbidden to shave while sitting shiva. The mirrors in the house were covered. Of course, Mrs. Plant covered the mirrors in our house when my Mother died; some folks are more observant than others. Some are much more observant than others. ;j

medstar
08-28-2006, 07:22 PM
I was wondering; are these women allowed to trim their hair on a regular basis to keep split ends at bay, or does no cutting mean NO CUTTING?

Acsenray
08-28-2006, 08:16 PM
I was wondering; are these women allowed to trim their hair on a regular basis to keep split ends at bay, or does no cutting mean NO CUTTING?

For Sikhs, no cutting means no cutting. In India, it's common for people with long hair to treat it with oil on a regular basis -- that's supposed to keep things in control.

Eva Luna
08-28-2006, 09:33 PM
Some very Orthodox women shave their head in order to not show their hair.

I only know one Orthodox woman well enough even to ask this question (she is about as Orthodox as they come, but doesn't shave her head). But I'd think that if you wear a sheitl, it's easier to get it to fit properly if you don't also have to worry about piling tons of hair under it.

WhyNot
08-28-2006, 10:09 PM
I only know one Orthodox woman well enough even to ask this question (she is about as Orthodox as they come, but doesn't shave her head). But I'd think that if you wear a sheitl, it's easier to get it to fit properly if you don't also have to worry about piling tons of hair under it.
Not to mention cooler - especially when you must wear long sleeves, collars that cover your collarbones and long skirts.

Lissa
08-28-2006, 10:26 PM
I was wondering; are these women allowed to trim their hair on a regular basis to keep split ends at bay, or does no cutting mean NO CUTTING?

Two of the Pentecostal churches I knew of in my youth allowed trimming of split ends. (And you could also cut out gum. I know this from personal experience.) One of the churches allowed women to get perms. The third church with which I was familiar didn't allow either.

Honestly, a lot of times it boils down to the preference of the pastor. All of the Pentecostal churches of which I knew members were independant churches-- meaning they didn't belong to an organized sect with a common doctrine.

Green Bean
08-28-2006, 10:28 PM
Thanks, ChicanoRojo! You finally answered the question I've been wondering about for some time--what's the deal with the long-hair women who live around here? Apostolic Pentecostals!

There are quite a few who live around here, but nobody seems to actually know any of them. The kids are not in the public schools. And nobody seems to know why they dress that way. But they sound exactly like the descriptions of Apostolic Pentecostals.

The women have very long uncut hair. They always have some sort of head-covering, even if it's only a mini-bandanna thing. They wear long denim skirts and tennis shoes. They seem to have no makeup or jewelry. They would occasionally come into the used bookstore where I used to work and purchase old-fashioned childrens' books. In my few interactions with them, they seemed pretty normal, if reserved. The men and boys wear regular clothing, but the clothes are plain and conservative and not particularly stylish.

Why there should be a pack of Pentecostals in Westfield, NJ, I have no idea.

River Hippie
08-28-2006, 10:29 PM
That can't be right, at least regarding Mennonites. There are many Mennonites in central PA, and a female who had never been shorn from birth couldn't contain it all in that little hair cap.

I'm no expert but since Mennonites share some roots with the Amish and each Amish district or parrish or whatever they call them has differing rules depending on what the elders or bishops decide, maybe Mennonites also differ by region. The ones I'm thinking of always have real long but not necessarily untrimmed hair hanging loose with a little bump or rise in the hair at the back of the head with those little white cap things on the "bump." I always assumed those were Mennonites but maybe not. Do Pentacostals wear the white things?

Lissa
08-29-2006, 12:44 AM
Do Pentacostals wear the white things?

Not usually. Most of the Pentecostals I've known don't wear any kind of headcovering.

Most of the Mennonite women I've seen wear something that looks like an old-fashioned bonnet though it's sometimes made of a mesh-like fabric. I've seen some sects which wear a smaller version of the bonnet, just covering the back of the head

Here's the tongue-in-cheek answer to how to tell a Mennonite from the real Amish: if you're buying something from them, they're not Amish. The real Amish don't like to deal with outsiders, and you'd never see one of their daughters working in a gift shop.

Johanna
08-29-2006, 01:36 AM
From 's link...It would seem that the real reason that these religions keep to such old fashioned ideas about formal dress codes has not so much to do with what the Bible REALLY says..Rather it is about the REALLY old men who run these religions, and about THEM forcing their early 1900's Victorian age ideas on todays people.
Regarding Sikhism--that's one religion where all the women do wear pants, salvar being everyday women's wear in Panjab where the religion is based.

Zsofia
08-29-2006, 09:43 AM
Thanks, ChicanoRojo! You finally answered the question I've been wondering about for some time--what's the deal with the long-hair women who live around here? Apostolic Pentecostals!

There are quite a few who live around here, but nobody seems to actually know any of them. The kids are not in the public schools. And nobody seems to know why they dress that way. But they sound exactly like the descriptions of Apostolic Pentecostals.

The women have very long uncut hair. They always have some sort of head-covering, even if it's only a mini-bandanna thing. They wear long denim skirts and tennis shoes. They seem to have no makeup or jewelry. They would occasionally come into the used bookstore where I used to work and purchase old-fashioned childrens' books. In my few interactions with them, they seemed pretty normal, if reserved. The men and boys wear regular clothing, but the clothes are plain and conservative and not particularly stylish.

Why there should be a pack of Pentecostals in Westfield, NJ, I have no idea.
Yup, sounds like them. I have no idea why the denim skirts and tennis shoes, but we see that around here a lot. It's almost like a uniform.

Lissla Lissar
08-29-2006, 10:00 AM
The Free Brethren do headcovering, but I think only in church. Some strict Presbyterian Calvinists advocated only long dresses and headcovering, based on the 'cover your head when praying or prophesying' bit in the New Testament. Even the strict ones I know, though, allow for hair-trimming and styling.