I have found over the years that there has always been a lot of confusion surrounding certain things that are required of women and men based on their religious affiliation. Whether it is clothing, the foods they eat, or time and place of prayer, all of the aspects are derived from the same source: respect. Respect for those around them, respect for the religion, and respect for themselves. One very interesting religious practice is wearing wigs.
Why Do Orthodox Jewish Women Wear Wigs?
In the culture of Orthodox Jews, women only show their natural hair to their husband and their female family members once they are married. They achieve this by tucking strands into hats, concealing their heads under colorful scarves, or pin them up under a wig each and every time she leaves the privacy of her home. This is not done, however to diminish their beauty or affect their standing in society, but to preserve the sanctity and intimacy of their unions. As one Jewish woman put explains,
“The holier something is, the more privacy it demands… there is no aphrodisiac quite as strong as a little mystery… [covering the hair] creates a psychological barrier… between a woman and a stranger.”
While there are plenty of religions that do not opt for a covering of this nature, women of this religion do not see it as a form of oppression, but as a comfort for those in these respective religions.
One reason there is so much confusion about these practices is because what is culture and what is religion gets confused by outsiders of these groups. For example, many Muslim women wear a hijab, married Hindu and Sikh women wear veils, and in certain Christian religions women wear hats or white scarfs during a service. But for Orthodox Jewish women, wigs are the gold standard; which is why in cities in the United States where there is a large saturation of Jewish women (such as NYC) the wig business is a very lucrative one.
Do you wear a wig or cover your hair for religious practice? Leave us a comment below and tell of your experiences!