Would veils exist if women didn't have hymens?

I admit this question is probably too flaky for GQ, but maybe it’s not too goofy for IMHO.

I mean, you see where I’m going with this—the bridal veil sure seems symbolic of the maidnehead to me, and that makes me wonder if we’d even have veils if the symbol didn’t have its anatomical referent.

What do y’all think? Wanna flake out with me?

I can see where you’re going here, but I’m not sure the analogy is all that apt. Whilst traditional western marriage veils might be construed as metaphors for the hymen, I’m doubting that those of Middle Eastern heritage view it in the same way, especially as many women continue to wear veils after marriage.

And what about veils worn by women at funerals, and those who continue for many months after the death of a male relative? Meh, I think yer’ clutching at the proverbial straw-woman’s straw bits mate.

So maybe you can flake out on yer’ own.


I’ve always been convinced that one of the main reasons women in Near Eastern cultures have traditionally worn veils and/or hair coverings is that they are in the desert, and sand is really really difficult to get out of long hair.

But straw bits are the best I’ve been able to do for the last couple months…:wink:

aaaaand, if you really want to make a physiological analogy, then maybe the male foreskin might be a more symbolic one: so why don’t the fellas wear the veil instead of the womenfolk?


Western bridal veils are one of the last leftovers of women wearing their heads covered during Mass. That in turn stems from Paul being bothered by women spending too much time eyeing each other’s 'dos during meetings. Like so many other recommendations of modesty, this one got turned on its head, sometimes quite radically - in this case, by making the head coverings embroidered, lacy… and otherwise ogle-worthy.

I would think it’s a holdover from medieval fashion. Wiki’s article on veils has a lot of info, including uses of veils that have nothing to do with women.

I don’t see any parallel between cloth veils worn over the head, and the tiny piece of tough tissue that surrounds or stretches across the vaginal opening of most girls.

Veils do remind me of babies born in the caul. Google at your own risk.

In the desert, veils are very practical. They make it easy to keep the sun out of your eyes, shade your body, and shield your eyes and mouth from blowing sand.

Exactly what I’ve been thinking as well.

I always thought the veil came from the assumption that, if other men saw your wife/virgin daughter, they’d be consumed with lust and that would cause all sorts of problems.

I like the practical ideas a lot better than assuming everyone has always assumed men were rapists. But, you never know.