The other day I was thinking: if traditionally a Kippah is worn to signify an acceptance of God and his power, then why don’t women have to wear them? A relatively religious friend of mine and I recently got into a conversation about this issue, and she told me that she had heard that because women give birth, they are naturally closer to God and so men, because they cannot give birth, wear Kippot to compensate and bring them closer to God, as well. She thought that the reason was beautiful, and I, although not completely won over by it, agree that there is some beauty in the idea of giving birth being a special womanly connection to God.
I did some research on the topic, and while I did not find that exact explanation, I found this:
“Women don’t have to for two reasons:
1) Women have a stricter code of modesty, and so they are already reminded of G-d in their dress.
2) Women are naturally more intuitive into spiritual concepts and G-d and thus don’t need as tangible and physical a reminder as the men need”
While I am not going to address the first reason right now, as I believe it is mainly a denominational belief issue, I will address the second. It makes me uncomfortable. Who can say that a woman is more intuitive about spiritual concepts or closer to God than a man, unless he or she has been both a man and a woman? How can you generalize an entire gender’s spirituality when a connection to God is such an individual thing?
However, studies have shown that women actually tend to be more religious and to have more belief in God than men. In one study, 77% of women said they have an absolutely certain belief in a God, while 65% of men said so. The difference in the numbers is not trivial, and so I want to be more open-minded about the possibility of women as a gender being more religious than men. But a part of me (the part of me that likes to ignore statistics?) still insists that this generalization is too convenient, too simple—I’m torn.
While I have never worn a kippah and do not particularly want to, I have a great respect for women who do. And a part of me wishes that I wanted to wear a kippah, because the part of me that thinks that men are just as spiritual as women knows that wearing one is a necessary step for equality. And the other part of me, the part that is weary of tearing down tradition, thinks that maybe there is something to be said for the fact that for hundreds of years women have not had to wear kippot and have stayed connected to God. I find myself somewhat of a hypocrite because in reality, I have no interest in wearing a kippah, but in theory, a large part of me thinks that women should.