It is becoming well known that almost every religion has something to say about hair wrapping. It is also becoming well known that many women cover their hair for health reasons that cause hair loss (such as chemotherapy and alopecia). We are so happy about this progress and that awareness is spreading!!
But there is so much more. Did you know that there are a crazy amount of other reasons that women cover their hair? People are so surprised to hear how diverse the hair wrapping community is! From fashion to political feminism, allergy avoidance to historical connection! We asked the ladies of the Wrapunzel community that cover for ‘not so well known’ reasons to contribute and share their reasons for covering with us. The response? Just… wow. These women are THE COOLEST!! Thank you everyone for contributing to this amazing resource that shows the world how diverse the Wrapunzelution is! This is definitely something that needs to be shared with the world!
(We received TONS of entries and had to sift through them to make a concise article. Sit back, relax and read on! Photos and names used with permission.)
Samantha M – I cover my hair because I think it is beautiful! I have always been drawn to the unique head coverings of different cultures and time periods. I work at living history museums where women almost always cover their heads–although the coverings are quite different from tichels! I have had the most amazing connections with women who cover for religious reasons while working in period clothes, and it’s so exciting to have these meaningful conversations about women throughout history and how and why they cover their hair. In the “modern” world, it is so fun to plan the colorful outfits that accompany the scarves, but covering also helps me to conduct myself in a more mindful way. At the same time, I never feel more elegant and regal than when I am wearing a tichel.
Rosa Robichaud, Saint John, NB, Canada – I don’t believe its anyone’s business as to whether my hair is long, short, dyed, curly or straight or what it looks like on a particular day as compared to another. This has now become MY business – and my husband’s too.
Krissa S. – For me, my covering has many reasons. I fell in love with coverings when I was in middle school, and I started to notice the turbans of my best friend’s mother. I thought they were beautiful, creative, and interesting. Of course, as a middle schooler, I never thought that I would ever wrap my hair myself. As I grew, the idea popped up in my mind. I went to a three-week writing camp, and expressed my interest to my roommate. She was uplifted, telling me how much she loved covers and that she had thought about it as well. As I talked to my artistic friends, I realized “different” was celebrated in the world I wanted to live in. They all loved my idea of wearing tichels. So, for me tichel-tying is a means of artistic expression. I was sculpting one day, and my hair kept getting in the way, falling out of the pony tail, getting caught in clay. It would fall in my face as I wrote, drew, or sewed. Tichel tying keeps my hair out of my face as I work on my art. Later I made my first hijabi friend on the internet. I spent years being stared at and verbally abused by men. I felt out of control of my body and the idea of taking control was refreshing. It was feminism at its finest. Why should a man decide what I wear? I came to the belief that every women has the right to wear what she wishes to wear, be it a burka or a bikini, and those women included me and my tichels. For me tichel tying is an expression of my beliefs as a feminist.
Cindy – I started wrapping about a year ago. I work in a local hospital doing procedures which require my hair be covered. I used to wear surgical caps, but had a lot of hair escape. Using the velvet headband and wrapping my hair is perfect! My hair wraps stay in place all day! Working in the hospital, I come in contact with a lot of people. I consistently get positive comments and often have the opportunity to share your website with ladies, and occasionally gentlemen, who are looking for an alternative to wigs or caps to cover their heads, when they are dealing with hair loss from medications or health issues. I also wrap even when I’m not at work! I occasionally get questions about why. I usually reply that I just enjoy covering my hair.
Mishka – I am a trained historian and recognize that for most of history, even Western history, women have covered their heads. We have the idiom to ‘let your hair down’ because adult women were not supposed to let their hair down except in the bedroom. I never intended to cover full time, but once I started I found that I felt transformed, not just in my appearance but also in my demeanour and general outlook. When my head is wrapped in a tichel/mitpachat I feel neat and self-assured. There is a completeness that comes from matching my scarves to the rest of my clothing, and I find that my identity as a woman becomes secondary to my humanity and individuality. I am less concerned about ageing or being seen as ‘sexy’, I have better posture, and (oddly) I feel less self-conscious even though I stand out a mile. Though I don’t want to aggrandise the effect of covering, I must confess that there is a sense that one is part of an ancient tradition in which women are dignified, modest, and attuned to beauty. For me, covering is part of a womanly tradition that shifts the focus from fashion to beauty, from attention-seeking to being attentive, and from the imitation of men to the inspiration of women.
Donna Halpern – I am agnostic. I cover because it makes me feel regal and beautiful. I also cover because I am an artist and although I don’t cover every day, when I do, it offers another outlet to demonstrate my creativity.
Sarah Pizzichemi – Dear Wrapunzel, I only wrap a couple of times a month, but when I do it is a commemoration to my mother. She was a Christian with a rich spiritual private life. I would often come home and find her with her head simply wrapped during prayer or meditation; especially on fasting days. This had a big impact on me. I first began to occasionally wrap when my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer to help her cover her head and connect with her long distance. I now do it in loving memory of my mother’s fascinating private life and her spiritual conviction.
Inger Eilin – I wrap because it seems to be the only thing that keeps my headache at bay. If I forget it before I leave the house, I’m guaranteed to get a bad headache. Living in a country where few wrap (with the exception of some muslim women wearing hijab) I’m guaranteed to get weird looks, but that is a small price to pay!
Heather – I wrap because I hate fixing my hair. I wrap because I love to color my hair with wild colors, but change my mind often. I wrap because I lose my hair due to thyroid issues. I wrap because I love the way it looks, and I love the way I feel when I do. I also wrap because I see it as a feminist issue in a couple of ways – I choose what I show the world. I choose what I look like. I choose what I wear. I do not have to conform to societal standards of beauty to be a beautiful woman. Everyone has beauty, including me. Wrapping has given me a lot more confidence in myself. I lost a lot of weight (110 lbs), then gained back 70. During that time, I grew incredibly depressed, ashamed of myself for failing to keep the weight off, for being a failure in general. I was in a very dark place. Wrapping has helped my spirit grow, it has helped my soul heal and allowed me to see that I DO have beauty. I DO have worth, and it isn’t just in how I look. It isn’t the body I have or don’t have. It isn’t anything physical. It’s the light that shines out of my eyes. It’s the warmth of my heart and soul. Wrapping (and Wrapunzel!) has helped me to see that.
Katie Shelton – I’m tattooed, dye my abundant, curly hair blue and my fashion sense is modest and eccentric, to say the least. My hair is the first thing people see, but my inner beauty is more important and far brighter than any color I dye my hair and more interesting than any clothes I may wear. I don’t dye my hair, wear my art and clothes for anyone else but me and my husband. Covering my hair and dressing modestly reinforces that belief for me.
Michele Therese – I joined the US Navy and served in places like Bahrain and the UAE. I was exposed to the idea of wrapping one’s head in beautiful cloth. When I returned to America and became a civilian again I began to wear triangle head scarves in order to disguise what I believed was my shame [psoriasis]. With a mere length of cloth I was elevated from feeling disgusting and shameful to feeling beautiful and feminine!
Erin – Some days I wrap up my hair to do mundane tasks. I have long, fluffy, curly hair that likes to drop in my face (and around the house!). Wrapping helps immensely when I’m gardening and even more so when I’m cooking! No hairs in the food! Plus it’s more comfortable than a tight bun or pony tail.
Anne Jambor – I have been wrapping my hair/head for a few years now. I think I started about a year after my last one was born (he will be 13 in July). First it was just because I don’t look good in a cap in summertime. I sweat buckets, I mean buckets of liquid coming down my face at all times of the day. I don’t sweat anywhere else but my head. And that’s not pretty. So I used to only wrap my forehead, and now it varies. Depending on the day or the scarf, if I have a colorful shirt and want to match it with a colorful head wrap… it is depending on the mood and the type of day! I know that sometimes I feel like people are looking at me funny, but I just take it as a compliment. I have had several people be amazed at how fast I can wrap my head with a scarf. I used to be known in our previous community as that Turban French lady!
Amelia – Although I started covering my hair for my wife, I also now do it to help calm sensory integration problems, and as a small piece of combating depression. The act of taking the time to wrap with intention does something for me that simply brushing and braiding my hair didn’t fulfill.
Jona – I started wrapping because my best friend wraps and was getting bad looks and nasty comments in our small town. Then I started to realize that I continued wrapping because it makes me feel pretty. As a big woman in a society that tells women that to be pretty you have to be thin. Wrapping made me feel pretty when I never had before in my 28 years on this earth.
Anonymous – I wrap because it’s fun and beautiful. I’m practicing for when I get married, G-d willing, and cover my hair according to Jewish law. I don’t wear tichels on a daily basis, but practicing tying them is an enjoyable pastime with a purpose.
Tessa DuRocher – I am 23 years old and I started wrapping my hair on occasion almost 2 years ago. I can, after a year of on and off head wrapping attest to the idea that it DOES make me feel more confident. Bad hair days are a thing of the past and my morning routine is drastically shortened. I don’t wear one every day but as I acquire more and more scarfs…I’m enjoying it even more. I also believe that I’ve taken to this sort of thing so greatly because I love to change my hair, A LOT. But there’s only so much cutting and dying that I can do…and I certainly don’t have the patience to grow it out to my butt… Learning various head wraps helps fulfill this need of mine for change. What woman DOESN’T feel more regal and elegant with a little bit of “oompf” on top?
Edith Wherton – When I put on the scarf it is sort of a meditation. When the ends get wrapped around the head, it’s like putting on a crown. I feel empowered. No submission for me!!! And then there is the fact that it looks better with makeup and earrings! On a good day this 58 year old granny can pass for 57 and 1/2 easily!!!
Nikki Leeper – Growing up, people would tease me by calling me Q-tip. I was stick thin, with a frizzy mess of brown hair that could not be tamed. I looked like the the start of any high school chick-flick. You know, before she removes the glasses and straightens her hair to reveal her “inner” beauty. I never felt beautiful until a few years ago. There are two groups of people who, without knowing it, have been the biggest support to me. The first group is the African American hair gurus, who armed me with products and processes. And the second group is the gorgeous women of Wrapunzel, who have inspired both my headwrapping and my art (I am a weaver, doll-maker and illustrator.)
– For me, it’s a mixture of everything. I began “ticheling“ when I was a teenager! I just began to cover my long thick curly hair in order to keep it away from “nasty” boys and men. That was my very first reason: I did protest against this behavior which considers girls and women as “objects”. I was always disagreeing with the actual “standards of fashion” which uncovers the body. So I guess my first reason for wearing a tichel is what some can call “feminism”. In this sense that I did hide some physical features to tell to the people surrounding me: I am not only a body. I am a soul that lives in a body, not a just body. I was telling them that if they want to know me, they have to go a little bit further than just the outside.
Kate B – I was recently drawn to wrapping. I don’t do it for religious or modest reasons. I do it because it makes me feel put together and beautiful. It sets me apart. It’s allows me to be colorful on a whim. It makes me feel regal.
Ivana – For the first time I became aware of my priorities, of my dualism and how the secular lifestyle was affecting my spiritual life and my family life. Progress was immediate, my thoughts cleared, days started to have sharper directions. The quality of my marriage (which was amazing to begin with) improved and jumped to a whole new level. I cannot find the words to express it in one paragraph, but it’s been a year that I started hair wrapping journey and it is only getting better.
E. F. – I started covering around the same time that I started going to college, which exposed me to a measure of both sexual and religious harassment that hadn’t really been prominent in the rural community where I grew up. Choosing to cover my hair more regularly allowed me to reclaim a measure of agency in the face of that harassment (“No, you don’t get to see my hair, creepy harasser dude”).
Chana Meira Golden – I choose to wrap as an expression of personal style and dignity. This seemingly simple act empowers me to determine for myself how I present and interact in society. And having lived in the Middle East, I’ve found that wrapping provides a sense of fulfilment, as well as unity among diverse women who wear hair coverings to take ownership of their unique identities.
Khadijah – I cover to make a statement to sociey: “I am in control of my body and sexuality.”
Honor Anastasia – I began covering my head a few years ago, simply because I loved how it looked. It was purely fashion and hair protection. But as I covered more and learned more and more about why other women cover, it became so much more. I have fallen in love with the elegant modesty covering your hair brings. I have developed a spiritual connection between me and my scarves. When things become to crazy in my life or I feel lost, I can find G-d in my scarves. The act of covering my hair, of creating wraps that both emanate modesty and beauty, the very idea of moving past society’s ideas of beauty into a whole other level, is just so amazing. When I see a women who has covered her hair, I see a powerful woman. Whether she is strong in faith or femininity or simply her own convictions, I see that power. I do not cover every day, or nearly as much as I want to, due to the fear of persecution and ignorance. But when I do cover I feel beautiful and I feel strong.
Laura Nasto – I suppose my reason is fashion based. I have been very fortunate to blessed with beautiful, healthy, curly hair; which I currently have dyed in a mermaid fashion (teal & purple). But, I don’t want to be known for my hair only, and I think this is common for many women with beautiful or outrageously coloured hair. It can easily become a source of vanity for us and envy for others, neither of which are good things; especially in the media-driven society in which we live with impossible beauty standards. I realized I don’t need hair framing my face, and more importantly, I discovered my own inner beauty which I’d been ignoring. I feel more confident when I wrap my hair, and it’s easier than doing my hair each morning and forcing my unruly curls to listen to me. I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum, and I’m not afraid to be different or of what people say about what I do. I have two jobs, one is at the deli at Hannaford and the other is as massage therapist, in central NY. I can’t fit my scarves under my hat at Hannaford, but outside of there I wear them everyday.
DeAnna Troupe – I wrap my hair in the pollen season to keep the pollen out of my hair. I wrap at other times of the year to keep people from touching my hair.
Sara Alves – My name is Sara, and I cover for personal political and feminist reasons. I am also an atheist. I feel strongly that western society has gone from expecting women to cover to hide their sex from men to expecting them to uncover themselves to be sexy for men. But it was never a choice, and always the dictate of the male gaze. I am an intelligent person and I refuse to be treated as an object, and I refuse to let the male gaze dictate how I should look to please. Wrapping makes me feel beautiful and regal. It lets me take control of the attention I get, instead of being a victim of it. Wrapping gives me back my power and connects me to women all over the world. It is one of the most profound choices I have made in my adult life, and brings me joy each and every day.
E. M. – I have many reasons for wrapping my hair, and they are all intertwined! It has helped give me the courage to be comfortable being me, and I feel free and unique and beautiful when I wrap up my hair! It also helps protect my hair and scalp from the sun, and my hair is healthier because I don’t have to wash it as much!
Anonymous – As a teenager obsessed with her hair (think super early mornings for blow dries, hogging bathroom mirrors, and the dreaded bad hair day), losing my hair to cancer felt like losing my identity. Until I finally realized, my hair had nothing to do with who I was inside. I may have lost my hair, but gained a connection to my inner strength and beauty. Today, as a Hypnotist exploring energy work, I’ve found that the clip-in wigs are placed directly over some very sensitive energy points. So after a lot of internal debate, and with the full support of my husband, I feel like I’m ready to start wrapping. Slowly at first, but hopefully I’ll gain the confidence to make the full shift.
Anonymous – I started covering 10 months ago basically because I thought it looked beautiful, and I did not think I was ever “beautiful.” I was always slightly obsessed with my hair, thinking that if I could find “THE” perfect style then I would have achieved beauty. However, in the pictures I saw of women wrapping they all seemed to shine, and I became intrigued. Amazingly, in stepping out and wrapping up my hair in my scarfs I found myself. I found, and am still finding, my true personality, my creativity, my love of the asymmetrical. I know now in my heart that real beauty comes not from a hairstyle. Wrapping, I am finding, is so much more than what I thought it ever would be. It provides protection and intimacy in my marriage, brings a depth to the mundane things in life, and splashes color all around. Would I go back to my previous life? Never.