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#1
Old 04-09-2008, 06:18 PM
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What's the deal with Mormon fundamentalist women's hair?

After seeing the news reports on the women and children being removed from the YFZ compound I’m wondering about the women’s hairstyles. I get the long hair (women not cutting their hair is common in a lot of conservative/religious circles), but what I don’t get is the high front. How is that done (some of them are really high)? Doesn’t that take work? Some sort of hair product? Filler? Wouldn’t that kind of work on your hair imply vanity? Why does it seem to be very Mormon (Mormon fundamentalist offshoot sects, not mainstream Mormon)? Are there historic precedents?

Example One
Example Two
And a photo montage

Chloe Sevigny has a tame version of it in “Big Love.” (In which she plays a Mormon polygamist).

I'm not sure there are factual answers, which is why this isn't in GQ. Any thoughts? Experiences with this?
#2
Old 04-09-2008, 06:28 PM
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I see a lot of this among Pentecostal and Mennonite women. I think it's just a way to give a little softer, more flattering look than having your hair skinned straight back in a pony tail. I mean, geez, that's a style that makes even Kate Winslet look bad!
#3
Old 04-09-2008, 07:21 PM
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The married FLDS women are supposed to wear their hair up and contained. The finger waves at the temple (side of head, not big freakin' building) were a particular turn-on of Rulon Jeffs, father of Warren Jeffs and "prophet" before him. They got kinda built into the expected uniform. The poofy thing at the front is a face-framing thing, as mentioned above. It's almost impossible to do on one's own hair. Much easier to maintain as a hairstyle if there are, ahem, several other women around to help. There are several ways of achieving this pouf, but plastic combs are the most likely.
#4
Old 04-09-2008, 07:22 PM
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I feel like I've seen pictures of that hairstyle from the 19th century, implying that you can do it without modern hair products.
#5
Old 04-09-2008, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabula Rasa
The poofy thing at the front is a face-framing thing, as mentioned above. It's almost impossible to do on one's own hair. Much easier to maintain as a hairstyle if there are, ahem, several other women around to help. There are several ways of achieving this pouf, but plastic combs are the most likely.
The women in my faith also have long hair, but with much greater variety of styles (including down). I've known lots of women who can do this high front thing themselves (myself included, though I don't do it --it's like a big-hair eighties thing -- way out of style if you care about style, though these women obviously are not allowed to care about style) and a lot of women I know DO wear it straight back with a chignon at the nape of the neck. Or maybe something like this or this or this.
#6
Old 04-09-2008, 08:39 PM
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No idea as to why, but that photo montage is creepy as hell.
#7
Old 04-09-2008, 08:52 PM
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From the little I've read, these "churches" strike me as sex cults rather than genuine churches. It doesn't surprise me that the women would have to style their hair to please the purient desires of their rapists. I think religion was just used as an instrument of psychological coercion.
#8
Old 04-09-2008, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Borgia
From the little I've read, these "churches" strike me as sex cults rather than genuine churches. It doesn't surprise me that the women would have to style their hair to please the purient desires of their rapists. I think religion was just used as an instrument of psychological coercion.
I absolutely agree. I also think it's a way for men to amass dozens or scores of children they might not be able to have otherwise. And having a lot of kids must make them feel "manly." It's sick!
#9
Old 04-09-2008, 09:27 PM
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The conservative hair and dress of these offshoot groups of Mormons are very uncharacteristic of regular Mormons, who are very much into hairstyling, makeup, and flashy dress, including pants, IME.
#10
Old 04-09-2008, 09:36 PM
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Here's a similar hairstyle from the turn-of-the-century: http://gibsongirl.org/images/centurygirl.jpg

Their hair looks a lot like the styles on this braiding site: http://dreamweaverbraiding.com/braid_examples.htm

Here's another good example: http://dallasnews.com/sharedcont...NS2CISNC.1.jpg
#11
Old 04-09-2008, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
Here's a similar hairstyle from the turn-of-the-century: http://gibsongirl.org/images/centurygirl.jpg

Their hair looks a lot like the styles on this braiding site: http://dreamweaverbraiding.com/braid_examples.htm

Here's another good example: http://dallasnews.com/sharedcont...NS2CISNC.1.jpg

Whoa, some of those styles on the second page are amazing-I don't know how they have the patience to manage those.
#12
Old 04-09-2008, 10:31 PM
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So how does one put up one's hair like that? Does it involve a lot of back-combing? Is there an under-structure you pull your hair over?
#13
Old 04-09-2008, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia
Whoa, some of those styles on the second page are amazing-I don't know how they have the patience to manage those.
Well, the cash doesn't hurt. Those braids are done at my Ren Faire (although I don't think by that woman; she doesn't look familiar) and the ones like those photos start around $60 and can be done in about 30 minutes by an experienced braider.
#14
Old 04-09-2008, 11:02 PM
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Since they're not allowed to do much else except have sex, I'm sure most of them get pretty skilled at hair braiding.
#15
Old 04-09-2008, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
Well, the cash doesn't hurt. Those braids are done at my Ren Faire (although I don't think by that woman; she doesn't look familiar) and the ones like those photos start around $60 and can be done in about 30 minutes by an experienced braider.
I need to start working Ren Faires. When I had long hair, I could do more than half of those on myself. Unfortunately, many of the prettiest ones make one look like a Mormon fundamentalist outside of a Ren Faire.
#16
Old 04-09-2008, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
Well, the cash doesn't hurt. Those braids are done at my Ren Faire (although I don't think by that woman; she doesn't look familiar) and the ones like those photos start around $60 and can be done in about 30 minutes by an experienced braider.
Psst. This summer, I will introduce you to Ray. He does the braids at a better price than the three ladies. He did this for me this past summer and it lasted all weekend.
#17
Old 04-09-2008, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by LifeOnWry
Psst. This summer, I will introduce you to Ray. He does the braids at a better price than the three ladies. He did this for me this past summer and it lasted all weekend.
That's awesome! Yes, yes, introduce me!
#18
Old 04-10-2008, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaB
So how does one put up one's hair like that? Does it involve a lot of back-combing? Is there an under-structure you pull your hair over?
It's not that hard to do. I get a little bit of that puff when I have my hair pulled back in a barrette, and that's all natural. It gets a little bit more extreme if the barrette scoots forward on my head. The taller styles probably have some backcombing going on, but I don't think any of the women have pads/rolls/rats in their hair, which in my experience leave a pretty distinctive shape at the sides where the rat ends. Women in the 1940s got pretty large rolls without rats, using only pincurls and backcombing and some setting lotion.

So, to sum up, rats aren't required, but they can be used. Backcombing is likely, and it might involve sleeping in curlers or pincurls to help provide volume. They probably use a lot of hair spray.
#19
Old 04-10-2008, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Purl McKnittington
So, to sum up, rats aren't required, but they can be used. Backcombing is likely, and it might involve sleeping in curlers or pincurls to help provide volume. They probably use a lot of hair spray.
"Rat" - that's the word I was trying to think of! (the closest I got was "snood" but I knew that wasn't right.)

I assumed by looking at the volume of some of them, a rat would have to be involved, but after some comments here I guess it mostly takes patience and long bangs.

I find it interesting (and indicative of the male domination of this sect) that unlike the Mennonite or Amish, the men don't also wear styles that separate them from modern society (from what I've seen in pictures of Warren Jeffs). The women, however, are tagged by both their clothes and their hair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabula Rasa
The married FLDS women are supposed to wear their hair up and contained. The finger waves at the temple (side of head, not big freakin' building) were a particular turn-on of Rulon Jeffs, father of Warren Jeffs and "prophet" before him. They got kinda built into the expected uniform.
This is also an interesting point. Because of the insularity of the the group, one man's preference can become the dominate/preferred style for all the women years after he's gone.
#20
Old 04-10-2008, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorigby
No idea as to why, but that photo montage is creepy as hell.

I agree... and yet I can't stop looking at it! I don't even know why. I wonder what will happen to all these people.

The old lady with the cup on the right looks like an old English teacher of mine.
#21
Old 04-10-2008, 08:11 PM
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Could it be also that just having the hair down is seen as too "hippie"? If the hair is worn down covering the ears and part of the face it's reminiscent of the 1960s.
#22
Old 04-10-2008, 09:03 PM
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My theory on these hairstyles, Spectre, is that a lot of these cults separated from mainstream Mormonism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when similar hairstyles were in fashion, and they've since "fossilized" into their current form.

That is, of course, entirely a wild ass guess, so don't go quoting me.
#23
Old 04-10-2008, 09:21 PM
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IMS, traditionally, a woman only let her hair down for her husband ala Victorian times and (for all I know earlier). Hair cascading down the back is seen as sensual even to us non-cult non Mormon folk. Just think of the librarian or nurse or repressed spinster type in a movie taking her hair down. And also, doesn't it say in the old testament somewhere that a woman is never to cut her hair or some such?

Just some thoughts.
#24
Old 04-10-2008, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Norse

I find it interesting (and indicative of the male domination of this sect) that unlike the Mennonite or Amish, the men don't also wear styles that separate them from modern society (from what I've seen in pictures of Warren Jeffs). The women, however, are tagged by both their clothes and their hair.
I think that idea has merit. I'll bet it makes them easier to spot or catch when they try to bolt, too...
#25
Old 04-10-2008, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorigby
And also, doesn't it say in the old testament somewhere that a woman is never to cut her hair or some such?
No. It talks about men's haircuts and beard trimming (Leviticus 19:27 "You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shall you mar the corners of your beard') but not women's. There's also the Nazarite, who can be male or female and doesn't cut his or her hair (among other things), but that's a voluntary vow, and their rules don't apply to others. Maybe the NT?
#26
Old 04-10-2008, 11:19 PM
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It's in 1 Corinthians, in Chapter 11, which talks about modesty for women and woman's relationship with man. (That link goes to the Catholic Bible, but all the King James versions I could find online led to ugly sites.) Leave it to Paul to muck up women's lives centuries after the fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 Cor 11:15
But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
#27
Old 04-11-2008, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Purl McKnittington
My theory on these hairstyles, Spectre, is that a lot of these cults separated from mainstream Mormonism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when similar hairstyles were in fashion, and they've since "fossilized" into their current form.

That is, of course, entirely a wild ass guess, so don't go quoting me.
Oops, I just quoted you. But only for purposes of conversation.

The FLDS broke away from the main stream of LDS in the 1930s. They did, however, have a sort of aesthetic theme, as the "true Mormons," of reverting to the pioneer origins of the LDS. Hence (if anything about this group can be summed up in a "hence"), the pioneer-wear and the odd Hollywood Westerns (Dances with Wolves, excepted) hair.
#28
Old 04-11-2008, 12:31 AM
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Can someone 'splain a 'rat' and a 'pincurl' for me? I Googled but the sites I found didn't really seem to explain so much as refer to them.
#29
Old 04-11-2008, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat
Can someone 'splain a 'rat' and a 'pincurl' for me? I Googled but the sites I found didn't really seem to explain so much as refer to them.
A rat is a sort of oval form, made out of either wool or a person's collected "fall out" hair, that serves as a bit of a cushion or pad for a hair-do. You can wind hair around it for a bun, for example, and it would be a poofier bun than you'd have if you just rolled the hair on itself.

Pincurling is a way of setting hair into ringlets. You wind damp hair into a little ring, then secure it with a bobby pin or hair clip until it dries, then finger-comb it out.
#30
Old 04-11-2008, 01:54 AM
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10-Q so much
#31
Old 04-11-2008, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Purl McKnittington
It's in 1 Corinthians, in Chapter 11, which talks about modesty for women and woman's relationship with man. (That link goes to the Catholic Bible, but all the King James versions I could find online led to ugly sites.) Leave it to Paul to muck up women's lives centuries after the fact.
Would you mind if I nitpick a little? There is no "Catholic Bible". Catholics, Episcopalians, and, I think, some other denominations include the Apocrypha, but that's the only difference I know of.

If you want a good reference site for Bible passages, I recommend Bible Gateway which not only lets you look up passages, but gives you side-by-side comparisons. Here's a longer version of the section in 1 Corinthians 11:
Quote:
3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

11In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
If anyone's interested in the King James Version of this passage, you can find it here. The only other references I could find to women and hair were a passage in Numbers 5 which covers what to do if a woman comits adultery and the passage in Luke 7 where a woman wipes Jesus' feet with her hair.

One thing I've noticed about the news coverage of the FLDS situation in Texas is that, while little girls are all wearing long dresses with long hair, at least some of the little boys are wearing modern clothes and look like they'd be hard to distinguish from any other boy their age. I'm assuming they do this to make it clear to the girls and women that they are set apart and different from the broader world.
#32
Old 04-11-2008, 08:38 AM
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Some fundamentalist Christian groups believe a women's hair is her "crowning glory" and should not be cut. Have you ever seen a photo of Shirley Phelps Roper?
#33
Old 04-11-2008, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wee Bairn
Since they're not allowed to do much else except have sex, I'm sure most of them get pretty skilled at hair braiding.
I'm pretty sure they're allowed to do other stuff like cooking, cleaning, childcare, clothesmaking, beekeeping, manual labor, etc. If you watch Big Love you'll notice that the compound women seem to have alot of rather masculine skills like welding and working on cars.
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#34
Old 04-11-2008, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siege
One thing I've noticed about the news coverage of the FLDS situation in Texas is that, while little girls are all wearing long dresses with long hair, at least some of the little boys are wearing modern clothes and look like they'd be hard to distinguish from any other boy their age. I'm assuming they do this to make it clear to the girls and women that they are set apart and different from the broader world.
Hmm...that seems to be a general trend for hardcore fundamentalist Christians.
#35
Old 04-11-2008, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siege
One thing I've noticed about the news coverage of the FLDS situation in Texas is that, while little girls are all wearing long dresses with long hair, at least some of the little boys are wearing modern clothes and look like they'd be hard to distinguish from any other boy their age. I'm assuming they do this to make it clear to the girls and women that they are set apart and different from the broader world.
The FLDS men and boys are required to wear long sleeves and long pants. Women are not allowed to wear the color red, but I'm not sure about the men and boys.
#36
Old 04-11-2008, 02:19 PM
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I found this comment re their garb by someone who now oversees their care to be darkly comical:


"They huddled together. It was very obvious they were scared. They were non-responsive. They looked like deer caught in the headlights," said church leader Helen Pfluger, 59.

She estimates she spent at least 30 hours with the women and children over the weekend but said communications never rose above the most basic level.

"I felt like I was from Mars, that I was alien to them. There was not one thing we had alike, except that we were female and had children," she said.

Pfluger said the children dressed in 19th-century garb, did not know what crayons or breakfast cereal were, and that they were not accustomed to some of the food they were offered.

"Our food made some of the children sick. They are used to drinking raw milk and they asked for it," she said.

"When they had clothing needs, it was impossible to give them what they needed. Where are you going to find a long-sleeve, high-neck, loose-waist, long dress for a 3-year old girl?" she asked

Last edited by Wee Bairn; 04-11-2008 at 02:19 PM.
#37
Old 04-11-2008, 04:44 PM
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This may be a slight highjack, but is somewhat relevant to the discussion around the bible quotes.

Quote:
3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.
You know, this is really odd. When I was younger I used to do some Bible Quizzing. (Quick background: teams of middle/high school kids are given a specific book, or set of books from the bible that they will be quizzed over for the rest of the year. It's set up basically like a baseball/football league, in that you travel to different churches during the year, and then go to a big national tournament at the end. There are general questions, but some specific verses are marked as "quote verses" which are to be memorized and quoted back word perfect in the allotted 20 seconds.)

Anyways. One year we covered 1 & 2 Corinthians. I actually remember parts of the above quoted section clearly. Matter of fact, I remember them so clearly that I am pretty sure they must have been quote verses. However, I am almost certain that all the verses that refer to women and their hair were NOT there. With some variance of wording allowed for different translations, the content I remember would have contained verses 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9.

Maybe I'm imagining things, as it was several years ago. But I could swear up and down that those verses were just plain not there.
#38
Old 04-13-2008, 10:59 AM
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This is a great article about the hair and dress of the FLDS:
http://sltrib.com/polygamy/ci_8908641
#39
Old 04-13-2008, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Norse

I find it interesting (and indicative of the male domination of this sect) that unlike the Mennonite or Amish, the men don't also wear styles that separate them from modern society (from what I've seen in pictures of Warren Jeffs). The women, however, are tagged by both their clothes and their hair.
True, but there's also the fact that male fashion has tended toward an unflattering bagginess, and what I think is excessive modesty in things like the fit of jeans and the length of shorts and trunks. If this incident were taking place thirty years ago, you'd probably see more marked differences in how the men dressed in the sect, versus outsiders.
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