Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mixed sartorial signals

Emily Wages, in her essay "You Wear A Kippah" (in Yentl's Revenge) and Rachel Kuhr, in her essay "Tipping My Hat" (in Hide and Seek), write from different religious perspectives. Yet, interestingly enough, both mention that, in Israel, for a married woman to cover her hair is often seen as a political act in addition to a religious one: In the secular community, many consider all religious Jews to be automatic political right-wingers.

In the United States, a married woman who covers her head with a neutral (e.g., baseball cap) or clearly female head covering at all times (not just when in synagogue) is automatically assumed to be Orthodox, for those who understand the "dress code" (see comments here, too :) ) unless she specifies otherwise. A woman who wears a kippah/yarmulkeh/skull cap at all times (not just when in synagogue) is assumed to be a fire-breathing feminist religious radical.

So what's a woman who just wants to cover her head to make a brachah after lunch, or while listening to Jewish rock on the subway, supposed to do? What can I wear, and when can I wear it?




Blogger Sheyna said...

..."a fire-breathing feminist religious radical."

LOL! I've never thought of myself that way before. :-)

I am entirely inconsistent. When I wear a headcovering outside shul (I always do IN shul), I wear a not-so-noticeable kippah with irridescent beads on it. Very not masculine. But I don't wear it every day. I will wear it when I'm feeling particularly spiritual - and when I really want to bring a feeling of spirituality into my day.

And when I'm writing. That's pretty consistent. Hmm...

I wore a snood for about 3 months. Long story, but I learned a lot, Husby hated it, and some of my hair fell out.

The kippah works for me, and I really think that's what it's about. What works for one woman may not work for another. You have to find what works best for you.

In the meantime, it does - as of this writing (December 2007) - limit the number of "Merry Christmas" greetings I get when out and about. :-)

Sun Dec 16, 05:16:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Gee, haven't you always wanted to be a fire-breather? :) :) :)

I've never quite figured out whether those wire "kippot" with beads, made for women, are really kippot or jewelry.

Some of your hair fell out from wearing a snood?? Were you wearing a steel-wool snood?

"What works for one woman may not work for another." As you can see, I haven't quite worked out the details, yet.

"it does - as of this writing (December 2007) - limit the number of "Merry Christmas" greetings I get . . ."


Sun Dec 16, 09:34:00 PM 2007  

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