17 Everyday Things Amish Women Are Prohibited From Doing, but Everyone Else Can

The Amish, a Christian subsect found in different areas across the US and Canada, are notorious for their simple way of life and affront rejection of modern technology. Despite the ever-evolving world, their cultural practices and traditions have stood the test of time, with most, if not all, rules for women still being abided by today. No matter how unique their lifestyle is, though, we’re positive you’ll still learn a lot from them—even through the things Amish women are forbidden from doing!

They Must Never Go Against What Their Husbands Say

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Submission is highly valued in the Amish community, and Amish women are expected to submit to their husbands the moment they are married. This is primarily based on their culture’s rituals, traditions, and biblical teachings that the community follows. Amish Basket explains, “One of the reasons why submission is so important in the Amish community is because it helps to maintain order and stability. By having a hierarchy in which the husband is the head of the household, there’s less room for disagreement and dispute.”

They Are Forbidden From Using Electricity

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Though both men and women in the Amish community are prohibited from using electricity, this rule affects women more, as they are the ones who usually do the household chores. Amish women are restricted to using gas for cooking and candles for light, as they aren’t allowed to use electricity. This isn’t based on any biblical teachings; instead, it has more to do with the fact that they don’t want to advance and adopt modern technology. Overall, they don’t use electricity simply because they feel that it would lead to temptations that are detrimental to their quality of life.

They Are Forbidden From Driving

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Those who belong to the Amish community veer away from owning, driving, and riding motor vehicles. They are amongst the most traditional and conservative groups in the United States, and this is one of the things that genuinely highlights that. Instead of using cars, the Amish go around using horses or buggies—more traditional modes of transportation. More recently, the Amish have been introducing bikes and manual scooters to their community; still, they avoid cars and planes and would only use the train for special events, such as weddings or funerals in other parts of the United States.

They Aren’t Allowed to Be Intimate Before Marriage

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We already know of a lot of religions that prohibit being intimate before marriage, but perhaps none is stricter than the Amish in terms of implementing it. In line with the biblical teachings they adhere to, both Amish men and women are forbidden to have physical contact with each other before marriage. Some show a small amount of affection when dating but mostly abstain until after marriage. Birth control is also forbidden.

They Are Forbidden From Petitioning for Divorce

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Divorce is allowed and legal in all but two countries in the world. Although that’s the case, Amish women don’t have that choice—no matter how badly they want to leave their marriage. If an Amish man or woman wants to separate from their spouse, they are forbidden from doing so. For them, it’s a betrayal of not just their vow in marriage; it’s also a betrayal of a vow they make when getting baptized into the community. Divorce is completely banned, but if someone has experienced the death of a spouse, they are allowed to marry again.

They Aren’t Allowed to Dress Provocatively

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In modern society, women are allowed to wear whatever they want. While unspoken social rules deem certain things taboo, it’s the wearer’s prerogative. However, it’s not the same for Amish women, who are restricted to only wearing modest clothing. This means no bright colors, hems a certain length, and limited skin showing.

They Aren’t Allowed to Cut Their Hair

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According to Amish principles, it’s shameful for women to cut their hair. They must grow their hair long, and when they are out in public, their hair needs to be pulled back in a bun. Amish women aren’t the only ones with rules regarding their hair, though; men are forbidden from shaving their beards once they’re married, too!

They’re Forbidden From Creating False Idols

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Dolls with life-like features have been all the rage recently, and many kids ask their parents to buy them. However, though Amish women can play with dolls, they are probably not the same kind of dolls you’ve played with before. If you’ve ever encountered an Amish doll, you would have noticed it didn’t have a face. This is because when an Amish woman makes a doll, she is forbidden from giving it a face, as the Amish aren’t allowed to create false idols.

They Can Never Wear a White Dress on Their Wedding Day

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Apart from cultures like India, most people worldwide believe that white is the color of marriage. However, Amish women aren’t permitted to wear the traditional white on their wedding day. Despite this being a sign of purity, they typically choose blue. This is less for biblical reasons and more for practicality—it means they can wear the dress again, like to church.

They Are Forbidden From Showing Their Hair in Public

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Amish women must wear a bonnet, otherwise known as a prayer cover, when they are out in public. This is to maintain a high level of modesty, as they aren’t allowed to show their hair outside the home. Amish Basket explains, “These caps keep the hair discreet and symbolize a woman’s submission to God’s will. This is according to the Amish belief that women shouldn’t draw attention to themselves.”

They Aren’t Allowed to Seek Out Higher Education

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Most societies today believe that people—regardless of race, social class, or gender—have the right to pursue their education. However, once Amish girls reach the 8th grade, they are finished with school. At this point, they have two options: they can either become teachers or get married. Once married, they’ll have to give up their teaching role to take care of the home.

They Aren’t Allowed to Have Their Picture Taken

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Have you ever imagined being unable to look at the camera and smile when someone takes your picture? Well, this is something the Amish need to live with their whole lives. This rule doesn’t just apply to Amish women, as Amish men are also banned from having their photos taken; in looser sects, photography is strongly discouraged. Occasionally, photography is permitted, but it must be candid—subjects are banned from striking a pose.

They Can’t Forgo Rules on the Length of Their Clothes’ Hems

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The Amish have so many rules about how they conduct themselves, and their clothes’ hems are things they should never forget to check! When talking about Amish women’s modest dresses, this goes down to the length of their hems. The general rule is that Amish women aren’t allowed to wear skirts or dresses that go above their calves.

They Are Forbidden From Wearing Makeup

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Amish women, in general, aren’t allowed to draw attention to themselves. Because of this, one of the things they simply cannot do is to wear makeup. There is a specific time in an Amish woman’s life—the Rumspringa—when they are allowed to wear a small amount. However, for the most part, they are required to be makeup-free.

They Are Forbidden From Having Buttons on Their Clothes

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Another interesting disparity between Amish women and men is that men are allowed to wear buttons on their clothes, but women aren’t. Instead, Amish women are permitted to wear pins. This is because buttons are seen as a luxury, which might invoke feelings of vanity.

They Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re Married

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Nowadays, women in most societies work because they have to or want to. But if you’re an Amish woman who’s just about to get married, then you better start bidding your colleagues goodbye. This is because Amish women are required to submit to their husbands after marriage; therefore, they are not allowed to keep their jobs in marriage. The moment they say their vows, their job to stay home and care for the house children starts.

They Can’t Shave Any Part of Their Body

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Amish women aren’t permitted to groom themselves for the same reason that they’re not allowed to cut their hair: it’s shameful. This is mainly rooted in biblical teachings, and Reuters explains, “The beard and the hair are symbols of Amish righteousness, religious symbols that God is present in their lives.” This means they’re not allowed to shave their legs or armpits. While this is traditional, many Amish women keep up with personal grooming in slightly looser communities.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.