Women In Rastafarianism
While the Rastafarian movement is one culture, and one religion, men and women are not treated the same. In this community, women are considered queens, though they are seen inferior to men (Dubb, 2012; Mash, 2011), but must follow additional and separate rules. The understood role of a Rasta-Woman is that she “raise [her] child, and provide a stable environment for the men” (Dubb, 2012; Mash, 2011). These women are also ordered not to commit to adultery (Mash, 2011).
This role, as previously stated, comes along with quite a few seemingly strict “rules”, which guide a Rasta-Woman throughout her life, the first being the rule on how to become a Rastafarian as a woman. According to Mash (2011), “women are only called to be Rastafari through their husbands… are not allowed to be leaders… [and must recognize men as] the spiritual [heads] of the family” (p. 3). Other rules listed included that while on her period, a woman cannot cook for her husband, and that she must never use birth control, or get an abortion (Mash, 2011). The Rastafarians feel that birth control is a European method designed to “suppress the development of the African population”, and that abortion, regardless of which stage of pregnancy, is murder (Mash, 2011, p.6).
There are also limitations on what a woman may wear or do with her hair. In the book, which provides guidelines for Rastafari women, it is plainly stated that they may not wear makeup, promiscuous clothes, or put chemicals in their hair (Mash, 2011). Also mentioned was that while a woman is praying, she should wear head dress, to cover her hair and head, which is a practice that they derived from 1 Corinthians 11:5 (Dubb, 2012; Mash, 2011).