The Amish people are known for their simple way of life, which is rooted in their Anabaptist Christian faith. This lifestyle has distinct rules and practices, especially for women. Here are ten things Amish women typically can't do that other women might take for granted:
- Use Electricity in Their Homes: The majority of Amish communities abstain from using modern conveniences such as electricity, believing that these conveniences could lead to unwanted influences from the outside world and disrupt their community's cohesion.
- Drive Cars: The Amish travel primarily by horse and buggy or on foot to maintain their simplicity of life. The freedom to hop in a car and drive anywhere is something most Amish women don't have.
- Wear Contemporary Clothing: Amish women wear plain, modest attire often handmade within the community. This usually includes a long dress, a bonnet, and an apron. Wearing flashy, modern fashion is not part of the Amish lifestyle.
- Wear Jewelry or Makeup: Consistent with their belief in simplicity and humility, Amish women typically abstain from wearing jewelry or makeup, which are seen as forms of vanity.
- Use Modern Technology for Entertainment: Activities like watching TV, surfing the internet, or playing video games are typically not part of an Amish woman's life. Instead, they spend their leisure time engaging in community activities or handcrafts.
- Get a College Education: Formal education in the Amish community usually ends at the eighth grade. They prioritize practical skills and religious teachings over higher education.
- Cut Their Hair Short: Amish women traditionally keep their hair long, as short hairstyles are considered worldly and immodest. They usually wear their hair in a bun covered by a bonnet.
- Hold Leadership Roles in Church: Within the Amish faith, leadership roles are reserved for men. Women participate in church activities but do not typically become ministers or bishops.
- Divorce: Amish communities adhere strictly to their marriage vows, and divorce is extremely rare. Even in the case of an unhappy marriage, women (and men) are expected to remain married, but may be allowed to live separately.
- Question the Ordnung: The Ordnung is a set of unwritten rules that govern the Amish way of life. From dress code to technological restrictions, Amish women, like all community members, are expected to follow these rules without question.
While these restrictions may seem limiting to outsiders, it's essential to understand that they are deeply tied to the Amish community's values of humility, simplicity, and community cohesion. It's a lifestyle that Amish women choose to maintain out of a deep-seated faith and commitment to their community's traditions.
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Accompanying photo by Randy Fath.