17 Things Amish Women Can’t Do That We Can

Krystal Smith

The unique customs and traditions of the Amish community differ from those of the average American woman. Surprising aspects of daily life for Amish women include their distinctive approach to education and marriage, their deliberate choices in attire and technology use, and the values that shape their existence. By exploring the intricacies of their way of life, we hope to shed light on the stark differences between their traditions and the freedoms many take for granted.

Get a College Education

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In the Amish community, formal education typically ends around eighth grade, focusing on practical skills and religious teachings rather than pursuing higher education. This means that both Amish men and women usually do not pursue college degrees, opting for roles within their community that align with their lifestyle’s integral values.

Being Insubordinate to Their Husbands

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Amish marriages center on religious beliefs and the Bible, typically positioning wives in a submissive role to their husbands in public settings. While publicly, the husband leads and the wife follows, women might wield more influence in decision-making within the home, creating a distinct balance in their private lives.

Work Outside the Home

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In Amish society, distinct gender roles dictate the husband’s role as the family’s leading provider. At the same time, the wife focuses on household management and childcare. Some Amish women might run businesses or become primary earners, but this occurs rarely, mainly when children are young, underscoring the traditional emphasis on women’s domestic roles.

Get a Divorce

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Divorce is an infrequent occurrence within the Amish community, as they staunchly uphold their marriage vows. In marital dissatisfaction, both women and men are expected to remain married. Still, they may be permitted to live apart, reflecting the community’s strong emphasis on commitment and endurance in marriage.

Have Physical Contact Before Marriage

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Premarital physical contact is generally discouraged in the Amish community. Some modern adaptations allow limited displays of affection during courtship. The traditional practice of “bundling,” where courting couples share a bed but stay physically separated by sacks, has disappeared, reflecting evolving social norms within these groups.

Cut Their Hair Short

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Amish women typically maintain long hair, adhering to a cultural norm that views short hairstyles as worldly and immodest. Embracing modesty, they often style their hair in a bun concealed under a bonnet, reflecting the community’s emphasis on traditional values and modest appearance in daily life.

Go Bareheaded

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Amish women typically wear a “prayer covering,” sometimes mistaken for a bonnet, as a symbol of modesty and reverence. This attire signifies dignity and humility, avoiding anything ostentatious or unusual. Wearing head coverings is customary, showcasing their adherence to simplicity and modesty in their appearance.

Drive a Car

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Amish women opt for horse-drawn buggies or walking instead of driving cars, choosing a more straightforward way of life that fosters community bonds. The ability to hop into a car and drive is freedom not commonly practiced among most Amish women, highlighting their commitment to tradition and a more straightforward existence.

Use Electricity

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Amish women typically refrain from utilizing electricity, which is aligned with their community’s dedication to preserving their unique lifestyle and minimizing outside influences. This deliberate choice fosters a strong sense of unity and simplicity within the community, prioritizing traditional values over the allure of modern technological comforts.

Wear Makeup and Jewelry

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Embracing simplicity and humility, Amish women commonly avoid wearing makeup or jewelry, viewing them as expressions of vanity. This choice underscores their focus on inner virtues rather than outward adornments, reflecting the community’s profound commitment to modesty and simplicity in daily life.

Wear Contemporary Clothes

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Amish women dress in modest, community-crafted attire, favoring long dresses complemented by bonnets and aprons. The allure of modern, flashy fashion doesn’t align with their values, as they prioritize simplicity and modesty, reflecting their dedication to traditional clothing within their cultural norms.

Wear a White Wedding Gown

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​​Unlike the customary white wedding gowns in various cultures, Amish women choose hues of blue and indigo for their wedding attire. They are handcrafted with modest designs, and these calf-length dresses hold practical value. They are often reused for church attendance and, remarkably, even worn after death as burial garments—a testament to the enduring significance and utility within Amish traditions.

Be Photographed

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In Amish society, both men and women typically avoid being photographed, viewing posing for pictures as a display of excessive pride. Some might agree to be photographed if their faces remain unseen, while others permit candid photos, considering it’s the act of posing, rather than the photo itself, that contradicts their beliefs.

Use Modern Technology

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Partaking in activities like watching TV, surfing the internet, or playing video games isn’t typical among Amish women. They prefer engaging in community events or practicing traditional crafts, prioritizing real-world interactions and hands-on pursuits over digital entertainment.

Have Dolls with Faces

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Amish tradition prohibits dolls with facial features for young girls. Instead, they play with faceless dolls, emphasizing humility and avoiding idolatry. These dolls, known as “faceless” or “plain” dolls, reflect the community’s belief in simplicity and discourage the veneration of human-like representations, encouraging children to focus on essential virtues rather than physical appearances.

Hold Church Roles

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In Amish communities, men primarily hold leadership positions within the church, while women actively engage in church activities without commonly assuming roles like ministers or bishops. This traditional structure emphasizes male leadership in religious matters while acknowledging women’s vital contributions in other facets of community life.

Question the Rules

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The Ordnung is the guiding principle governing all facets of Amish life, dictating everything from dress codes to technological boundaries. Like all community members, Amish women abide by these rules without hesitation, underscoring their profound reverence for tradition and their shared dedication to preserving their distinct lifestyles.

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