You're only cool if you're wearing the right headcovering….

by Erika

headcovering

When my family moved to Pennsylvania in 1993, it wasn’t long before my father decided that the women in his house had to wear headcoverings. We had started attending Charity Christian Fellowship (where their sign says, “Everyone Welcome,” but which I often wanted to graffiti underneath, “But not everyone accepted”) and it was very clear that if you didn’t have the “right” headcovering, you were “different.”

I was never quite accepted with my bold and bright bandanas and my bright purple snood. I was looked at with a sneer by most people, the girls kept their distance and there was no chance in hell I would ever be looked at romantically by one of the young men. My headcoverings branded me as rebellious and independent. One of my bandanas even had beaded moccasins printed all over it. There was no way that I was proper wife material.

One of the bishops of the church encouraged my father that, while it was not a hard and fast rule of the church, it would be best if we dressed as closely to the rest of the congregation so that there was unity and no jealousy between the women. It was more about how the women dressed than how the men dressed. He was especially encouraged to have his women wear the type of headcovering that the rest of the women wore.

The only one that succumbed to that was my sister. She was always the first to conform, it seemed. In an effort to fit in, she bought some white spandex type material and put her sewing skills to work and made herself some of the tight white headcoverings that only the “cool people” at the church wore. From the first moment I had laid eyes on those types of headcoverings, it reminded me of a white plunger being stuck over a bun on the back of the head.

I always found it rather ironic that I, who wore a simple bandanna (which became popular with the hippies of the 60s and 70s) was the one that was considered different. Yet women who wore something that resembled the cup end of a plunger were considered the “cool ones.” The world of extreme patriarchy is a strange world indeed.

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