You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What do you all think about head coverings?

I'm not sure how I feel about them. They are, after all, one of the few regulations in Christian scripture about clothing. (Check out 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.) However, so is not cross-dressing and I think I sufficiently pointed out in the post below that I think it's a bit of a crock (even though I plan on only wearing skirts for Lent).

Originally, I was very against them since Paul advocates them as a way for women to indicate they are "good" and also generally submissive to men. Yuck! I have several problems with this.
A) If I want to be "bad" in the way Paul is suggesting, it's between me and God and I don't feel the need to advertise it to the world.
B) What man would I be submissive to, pray tell? My dad? My brother? Some husband that I could conjure up but would only be vaguely attracted to?
C) I don't generally have a problem with submitting to one's significant other, but why doesn't the husband have to submit to his wife? Answer: God's a sexist pig.
I don't actually think this, but I tend to come to that sort of conclusion when I look at head-coverings that way.

The tzniut version is perhaps even worse. Men have to cover their heads all the time-- as a sign of submission to God. Women, on the other hand, have to cover their heads after they get married-- you guessed it, as a sign of their submission to their husband. Problems:
A) Why is man always the conduit between woman and God?
B) They're so close. I was looking this up somewhere (eep! I don't remember which source) and I read, "The object of covering one's head isn't to hide the hair from view [although bear in mind that this is a controversial opinion in Judaism], but to remind the woman that there is someone over her..." Immediately, I thought they meant God and I fell in love with the concept. What a wonderful idea to have a constant reminder that God is in charge, that we are God's hands, God's feet, God's mouths! And then they continued, "to remind a woman of her submission to her husband." Crap, crap, crappity crap. Shot down.

And then Mary suggested going Plain, Quaker style and I found Quaker Jane.
 Now, I'm not going to go Plain for a variety of reasons that I will discuss another time. BUT! Her thoughts on headcoverings seemed rather congruent with some of mine (because, surprise! mine don't always agree with each other).
She says the following about it:
"For starters, it reminds me that God comes first. In my previous condition, I came first and a great concern for my and other women's position in the world came first. My feminism came first. It came before God. It came before my marriage. It came before happiness. I did not know how to trust my husband, as from my viewpoint he did not have my best interest at heart. I believed I had to have a hand in every decision that was made, indeed control most everything, or it would not be the best decision, or even an okay decision."
Now, I don't feel the same way about all that. And I shall write a post about modesty and feminism one of these days, but today is not that day. HOWEVER! I just about swooned reading that first sentence. I do need a daily reminder that God comes first. I'm using tzniut that way for Lent, but what about when Lent is over?

Story time:
I work in a "dining hall" (not a cafeteria) on campus washing dishes. In order to make sure I had all the pieces of my outfit right, last Monday, I wore our uniform t-shirt with a past-knee-length-skirt, knee-high socks and a long-sleeve shirt underneath. It was hot as all get out. Also Mondays I work with someone who I don't have the nicest feelings toward. I often spend Mondays at work thinking, "Are you stupid or are you just trying to piss me off?" Not very Christ-like. Wearing all these layers, I was getting irritated a lot faster than usual and contemplated throwing dishes at him. Finally, I remembered-- the whole reason I was subjecting myself to the sweaty grossness was so I would remember to pray and be Christ-like. I breathed a lot easier after that. I'm still not sure if that guy is just stupid or trying to piss me off, but I don't hold it against him as much now.

I wonder if covering my hair would work like that once Lent is over. Or would I become accustomed to it and not think about it any more? I just keep getting drawn to head coverings...

On the other hand, my hair desperately needs to be cut, so maybe it's just that...

But I have been drawn to head covering for as long as I can remember...
And there are so many kinds!
PS. Points if you can figure out what denomination/religion all these head coverings are from!

3 comments:

Clara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clara said...

Hasidic
Mennonite
Muslim
Episcopal Monastic (OJN has the prettiest habits...)
Old Catholic?
Baptist? (Oh beautiful black women and your beautiful enormous hats...)

I wish sometimes we had a stronger tradition of head-covering or other distinctive dress in Christianity, aside from the lacy bits some women wear to mass. When I think about dress as a Christian I tend to think about the monastic habit; it would be nice to have a way of dressing that communicated my commitment to God and Church but didn't imply professed consecration.

Allie said...

Man, Clara! I should have figured you'd get those all right. :D Yes to all of them.

I'm with you on the rest of your comment too. I'm learning ways to make my own though... and also reasons I'm glad we don't have them... Have you checked out Quaker Jane's website quakerjane.com? She has interesting info about Plain dressing. One of the most compelling reasons I saw about going Plain was not supporting sweatshop labor and knowing the seamstress (or whomever) making your clothes was getting a fair wage. On the other hand, you could also look at her section about Plain Moderns, which is very interesting and more along the lines of tzniut or something like that.

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