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The more conservative Mennonite groups have shown during their history a marked resistance to cultural accommodation to the surrounding society's mores, conventions, and fashions. They based this nonconformity to the "world" upon such Biblical passages as "Be not conformed to this world." In both Europe and America there was conviction against the cutting ("bobbing") of women's hair in the decades following World War I. This conviction was based in part on deep-seated aversion to any sort of conforming to the fashions of the "world," and in part on the specific reference of the Apostle Paul concerning a Christian woman's hair being "shorn," indicating that this constitutes a "shame" (1 Corinthians 11:6), and that woman's long hair was given to her (by God) for a "covering" (1 Corinthians 11:15). Such Mennonites not only objected to cut hair, however, but also to all forms of highly artificial and fashionable coiffures, basing their position on the teaching of the Scriptures against worldly conformity in general, and on such passages in particular as 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Peter 3:3, both of which condemn the arrangement of the hair in what J. B. Phillips renders "an elaborate coiffure." In the stricter groups such as the Old Order Amish, Old Order Mennonites, the Church of God in Christ Mennonites, the Evangelical Mennonites (Kleine Gemeinde), any marked deviation from what the church regards as acceptable hairdressing would involve church censure and exclusion from the Lord's Table and ultimately excommunication. In the Mennonite Church (MC) efforts were made by public teaching and pastoral counsel to secure a more perfect conformity to the standards of the group in regard to hairdressing. In the other Mennonite branches the matter of a woman's coiffure was regarded basically as her private concern, although the church was concerned to teach the principle of nonconformity to the world. The conservative groups in Canada, however, still maintained the older forms of hairdressing in the 1950s. In Switzerland there was strong resistance to the cutting of woman's hair, and to a lesser degree in France and the more conservative churches of South Germany.

Author(s) John C Wenger
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wenger, John C. "Hairdressing." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 13 Oct 2019.

APA style

Wenger, John C. (1956). Hairdressing. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 October 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 630. All rights reserved.

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