Saturday, May 14, 2005

Wigs on Orthodox Women

As a self proclaimed expert on high-quality, natural hair wigs, I’m disturbed by the trend among affluent Orthodox Jewish women to opt out of a head covering in favor or shaving off their hair and covering their head with a wig.

I have several problems with this approach:

First – that it seems to contradict the basic purpose of covering your head. I thought you cover your hair so that other men won’t be attracted to you. You show your most attractive self (coverless) only to your husband. In contrast, with a wig, your most attractive self is shown to the outside world, your husband sees the bald you.

Second – It favors the affluent so strongly. Affluent women can afford the very expensive, custom made, human hair wigs. The rest need to settle for synthetic, industrially made, often ill-fitting wigs. But that’s maybe a faux egalitarian approach. Obviously wealthier women can afford nicer clothes as well, so I won’t try to resolve this one….

Last night I got an explanation to my first issue. The explanation is even more bothersome to me than my original impression.

In talking with a friend of mine, I realized that his beautiful 21 year old married daughter had been wearing a wig. That hadn’t even occurred to me, but he explained that it was camouflaged since the front part of the hair was hers, the back part was custom made to blend in.

So what was the point of this gorgeous “wig”? Well, his explanation was that a woman’s hair, especially if it’s long hair, is her weapon, her power. When she wears a wig, she may look the same (or even better) to men, but to herself she feels weaker.

So, let’s assume we agree with him (I’m sure he didn’t make this up), that the purpose of the wig is not to make other men crave her less, but rather to make her feel weaker…

Pretty sad… Do we women need to make ourselves feel weaker? Aren’t we weak enough? I much prefer the head covering idea, at least there the thought is of saving your best part for your husband, a gift…


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