16 Things That Are Forbidden For Amish Women But Allowed To The Rest Of Us

The Amish community is a Christian subculture that traces its roots to the 16th century. It follows the traditions of simple living. Though divided into four main groups, the Amish have numerous subgroups, and though not all follow the exact same rules, they are connected by the same philosophy. The lives of Amish women are vastly different from those of an average American wife and mother, and there are some of the most distinctive dissimilarities in what we can and Amish women can’t do or have. 

Their dolls don’t have faces

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Authentic Amish dolls do not have faces. This belief follows the Bible’s teaching about creating false idols. However, this is not a rule set in stone, so some girls have toys with buttons for their dolls’ eyes and noses. The dolls are also known for their plain looks, reflecting the Amish life’s simplicity. 

They avoid being photographed

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Amish women and men are discouraged from having their pictures taken. Some subcommunities have looser rules than others, so they allow people to be candidly photographed, meaning that posing is not permitted. Others will only take pictures if their faces are not included. 

They have to wear modest clothes 

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Amish women do not wear anything flashy, and they usually make their own clothes. Their attire is modest and plain, consisting of longer dresses, aprons, and bonnets. Some stricter communities only wear black and white, while others allow neutral colors. Women also do not wear jewelry. 

There is a hem length limit 

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When it comes to dressing up, Amish women can typically wear dresses or skirts with hems no higher than calf length. There are several factors to consider, like age and whether the community is strict or not, but generally, women are not allowed to show skin. 

They don’t wear makeup

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Amish women do not wear makeup or cosmetics. However, during the adolescent period known as Rumspringa, girls are allowed some cosmetics. Makeup is seen as flashy and does not go with the simplistic and minimalistic way of Amish living. 

Women do not wear clothes with buttons 

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Amish men can wear buttons, but women tend to use pins. In some Amish communities, it is believed that buttons are luxurious items and could boost vanity in a woman. Additionally, having faceless dolls is a way to keep girls from becoming obsessed with their looks.

Their wedding dresses aren’t white 

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Unlike traditional wedding gowns, which are usually white and virginal, Amish women wear blue shades and commonly make their own dresses. The rich blue, often indigo dresses, are uncomplicated and can be worn numerous times, including for church or another special event. Many women get buried in their wedding dresses. 

They do not cut their hair 

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Amish women often never cut their hair. They follow biblical traditions closely, so cutting hair is shameful. They grow them, put them in buns, and place them under the prayer covering. Similarly, men are not allowed to shave their beards after marriage. 

They always wear the praying cover

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Women cover their heads with praying covers (bonnets) made of natural fabrics and neutral colors because the Amish take pride in simplicity. While calling an average person plain can be perceived as insulting, the Amish believe it promotes modesty and humility. 

They do not have higher education  

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Amish girls’ formal education ends after the 8th grade. Only around 10% of all Amish children go to public schools. Once they finish their education, Amish girls can become teachers, but they must give up their jobs once they are married. 

They are submissive to their husbands 

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Once married, Amish women are expected to be submissive to their husbands, especially in public. Most women marry between the ages of 20 and 22. Young adults get to know each other through church, Sunday night singing, and other popular activities. In stricter communities, once married, a woman swaps out her black bonnet for a white one. 

They don’t use electricity 

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Women cook on gas or propane and tend to avoid electricity, even in looser communities. For many, it is not about their beliefs but a fear that reliance on electricity will bring them closer to the rest of the world and hurt their well-preserved culture. 

They don’t drive

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Most Amish are not allowed to drive motor vehicles, like cars. However, in some communities, they are allowed to hire outsiders, whom they call “English,” if they need car rides. Women use a form of a carriage with a horse to get by. 

No physical relations before marriage

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No physical contact is allowed before marriage in many Amish communities. Some allow minimum displays of affection during the dating period. Birth control and abortion are forbidden even when the woman’s life is endangered. 

They can’t get a divorce 

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While separations do happen inside some of the Amish communities, they are pretty rare. Divorce is not allowed, but Amish women can remarry after the death of a spouse. 

No grooming 

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Amish women do not shave armpits or legs for the same reasons they do not cut their hair. It is considered to be a shameful act. Still, in some communities with less strict rules, it was reported that some women shave, though this is more of an exception than a rule. 

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