It’s no secret that the Amish life is full of strict rules. But here are some of them are only for women.
An Amish woman is expected to be unselfish. She must always put other’s needs before her own. This isn’t just with family. They are expected to help their neighbours when needed, which includes caring for children, laundry, cooking, etc. This can go as far as not being allowed to care for your own health – rather letting someone else do it.
While men can use buttons, women generally use pins or snaps.
The rule gets more strongly enforced in some communities than others, since many feel buttons are a luxury item and can lead to vanity. Also, the idea that a button could come undone or pop off is skating a thin line to risky behavior.
Before marriage there is a “bundling” ritual.
The couple must lie together in bed but are separated by a wooden board. There’s no touching or other physical business allowed. They can only talk and get to know each other.
You’ve noticed a trend with the Amish and modesty.
So, it’s no surprise when hemlines must be a certain length, that sleeves also fall under the same rule. They have to be at least past the elbows.
Amish women can go their entire lives without getting a haircut, due to a literal interpretation of the Bible which deems it a “shame” for a woman to get shorn.
Instead, an Amish woman grows her hair long and puts it in a bun under the prayer covering on her head.
Amish toys cannot have anything that resembles a face on them.
So, when the mothers make dolls for their children, they are always blank. The idea is to show that everyone is the same in God’s eyes. It also has ties to avoiding graven images. The dolls must also be donned in Amish clothing.
When the kids turn 16, it’s the only time they are given complete freedom.
This is especially interesting for girls, who live under a fairly heavy hand at home. They can party, drink, try technology, etc. If they choose to come back home after, they have to give up all those things and conform to the Amish way of life.
Yep, also there’s no accessories – which isn’t a surprise if even women aren’t allowed to use buttons.
No jewelry or make up – otherwise they are turning themselves into “idols” and breaking the modesty rule left right and center.
Though it can vary from community to community – and age can also be a factor – most Amish women’s hems must conform to a certain length.
The general rule of them is “no higher than six inches above the foot. It makes sense that there is at least a little gap because working with a floor-length skirt would get things dirty really fast.
The Amish community is patriarchal.
Women cannot be bishops, preachers, or deacons. It’s believed that these jobs are only for men, and woman cannot promote the Amish faith. They can, however, be teachers. But since they only have an 8th grade level, what they teach is limited.
The cleaning of the house and cooking of all means are the woman’s responsibly.
This included waking up before the sun rises to have everything ready for when the family comes down for breakfast. Even though they are also expected to help around the farm, the men are primarily in charge of manual labour.
Women are expected to have children.
No ifs, ands, or buts. It’s their duty to bear as many children as possible for their husband. Contraceptives are forbidden, obviously. To refuse is considered a huge sin and disrespect against the husband and entire church. There’s not much know about what happens if a woman is infertile.
Women are expected to be submissive to their husband.
They must seek approval from him for everything – from what’s done around the household to things they need to buy. Buying anything, even a tiny thing, can be considered hugely disrespectful. If he says no, she has to obey.
Besides the traditional clothing, the women must wear those white bonnets.
It’s required for them to have their hair pulled back and neat and then covered. Younger women, however, don’t have to wear them. Instead, they wear a “less modest” version.
One of the big cornerstones of Amish living is modesty.
So, having your picture taken is considered vain – attracting attention to yourself etc. They are completely forbidden from taking photos and avoid any tourists or wanderers that try to snap a pic. There are a few exceptions, but it all requires permission first.
When a married Amish woman finally gets that baby bump, there’s no resting or baby showers.
She is expected to continue on life as normal – right down to farm work. It’s not that they aren’t happy about the coming baby, they just feel that modesty is best. Some even go as far as to try not to scream during childbirth.
For Amish children, there’s no such thing as learning about the birds and the bees.
They typically don’t get told anything about their changing bodies as teens, nor do they learn where babies. Instead, it is assumed Amish teens will talk about these matters with each other, and then figure it out once married.
In modern days, it’s fairly common for Amish girls to go to school.
However, most of them do not go higher than eighth grade and definitely not longer than the male counterparts. This idea is that since they are expected to work at home, higher education isn’t needed. Plus, they don’t want anything that could conflict with Amish religion and beliefs.
Amish woman can absolutely work at something outside the house and farm – even have their own business.
But first and foremost, they are expected to take care of the home and children as well as help with farm chores. Earning more money than their husband give a bad family image.
So, if they can make an extra income beyond what their husband brings in, what do they do with the extra money?
Well, the first rule is that they are forbidden to use it to contribute towards the family. In their culture the man is expected to be the breadwinner. The women simply keep the money for whatever or emergencies.