Kleenex Head Covering

by jwundubbed 36 Replies latest jw experiences

  • jwundubbed

    Growing up a woman in the cult was pretty bleak. Most of the adult women I knew were either depressed sad women or an embarrassment to me. I was typical kid in that regard. I was atypical in that I had critical parents and my mother was 'annointed' and also crazy (mentally ill). Suffice it to say my relationship with my mother and how I saw her was complicated.

    From time to time I will think of the weird stuff people did in the cult and it almost always makes me laugh. But a few weeks ago I had a different experience to remembering an old embarrassment.

    Women are never supposed to lead. But if they do and if there is a single man present (even a baby) they have to cover their heads. It wasn't only my mother that would grab a Kleenex to cover her head with when the necessity came to lead. I saw lots of other women do it as well. When it was my mother I chalked it up to one of those crazy things she did and I felt really embarrassed. But when other women did it, I just didn't understand why.

    A few weeks ago I made a flippant off-hand comment about how I would never wear a Kleenex to cover my head and I just started crying. The comment was made out of the context of the cult and I thought it would be funny but it just wasn't. Since then I have thought about the whole situation and my reaction to it.

    How humiliating it must be for a woman who has daughters to have to cover her head with a Kleenex because there is an infant boy in the group and she has to cover her head in order to lead or pray. What a horrible message to send your daughters that you are so unworthy that you don't even carry a head covering for just such a situation and instead have to use a Kleenex. Jehovah's Witnesses don't use head coverings. I knew a few women who had them but it went against the uniform as far as I ever knew. To be so subjugated that you won't even carry a piece of cloth... To have to subjugate yourself to that extent because a single male infant is in the room... That using a Kleenex, and all the humiliation that entails, is preferable to using a piece of cloth and giving a woman any measure of dignity.

    It just hurts to know that I and so many other women went through that. It was so subtle but so incredibly indicative of how the cult views women. It is such a very clear picture of the systemic abuse and bigotry against women. And the fact that it took me 21 years to process that tiny little part of my formative years... it's a little overwhelming.

    I feel very sad when I think about it. I don't mind feeling sad over it. But I did want to share my moment of clarity with someone. Who else would understand such a thing?

  • zeb

    I saw a sister cover her head with an exercise book and I wondered what the hell? It must have been before I was B.

  • St George of England
    St George of England

    The sister only has to wear a head covering if the boy is baptised.

    Still crazy, but just saying.


  • VW.org

    That is why I do not believe in the bible anymore because of crazy teachings like this. From Genises to Revelation. Contradiction. A book written by misogynistic men. 66 books of bullshit. But the drugs they were taking must have been good, especially while writing the book of Revelation.

  • scratchme1010
    A few weeks ago I made a flippant off-hand comment about how I would never wear a Kleenex to cover my head and I just started crying.

    We use humor to cope with all the nonsense we grew up with, but some things just trigger that trauma and unravels how we really feel/felt.

    Thank you for sharing. Seeing a woman with a Kleenex on her head conducting a study is quite a site, though. For the unaware outsider it's a WTF moment.

  • neat blue dog
    neat blue dog

    Like St George of England said, sisters are only required to do that around a baptised male, or their own husband whether or not he's baptized. As for the Kleenex, yes it's ridiculous. Personally I've seen it done with napkins and open magazines. My mother had a scarf collection thankfully for such occasions, and she would even openly deride anyone that used something silly as a head covering, and refused to do it herself.

  • tiki

    But...the point remains...the religion is denigrating and demeaning to women. I remember as a child believing that as a girl I was the absolutely lowest of human creation. The patriarchal system has robbed centuries of women of their dignity, value, and potential. Lack of penis does not equate with lack of intelligence or worth.

  • WTWizard

    This is one more reason why they deserve nothing in the way of contributions. They preach things that go against nature in so many ways--and mistreatment of women and girls is one super whopper. Even in the Old Testament, joke-hova imposes double the period of uncleanness after birth if it is a girl instead of a boy. That's enough. That damnation book has to go.

    Not to mention so many other anti-nature doctrines. They are homophobic to the extreme, insinuating that homosexuality deserves the death penalty. And what about having money? The washtowel is so against people having a decent livelihood, demanding them give up investments, nest eggs, workers' pay, and inheritances for the Worldwide Damnation Fund. They glorify people being sick for the sake of joke-hova. They make people repress their feelings if they are legitimately p***ed at someone--such as forgiving someone for intentionally acting to ruin your life.

    I don't know how they have the nerve to think they deserve any donations at all.

  • Finkelstein

    Isn't stupefying ludicrous to try to emulate the ancient Hebrew civilization which existed 3000 years ago ?

  • jwundubbed

    @St.George of England & @neat blue dog,

    Well, that is the policy to be sure. But you know people go beyond the policy all the time. You know how people will talk about what a person should do in a hypothetical manner, urge people to go the step farther, but then tell them it is up to their own conscience? The women I knew were compelled by the men around them to take it further. The congregation where I saw this happen the most often was a very spiteful congregation. Elder's wives were worse than their husbands and there was always someone watching. Worse if you were leading a group of children, you never knew what innocent comment from a child would come back to bit you in the arse.


    I remember as a child believing that as a girl I was the absolutely lowest of human creation.

    When I was in it, I never realized consciously how badly women were treated. I never wanted anything more than to be a mother and a wife. But get out into the real world and I can't get a great job. Even having been to college, I lack a lot of skills that help a person get a decent job (like the interview/negotiation) but more importantly I lack a very certain confidence in myself as a capable person. In every other way I have great self-confidence. And in specifics I know that I am a capable person with a lot to offer the working world. But I can't seem to get a job above a certain level even though I have the training for it. And when I really think about it a lot of ways in which we were treated as girls and women in the cult start to come up. I don't think I realized how much it all effected me.

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