To Honor Her Head

Hats as a Symbol of Women’s Position in Three Evangelical Churches in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Ruth Borker


The position of women in evangelical churches is determined by a number of interweaving factors, the most important of which is the Bible. Although these churches are often regarded as highly maledominated because of the supposed unambiguous nature of the Biblical texts, I hope to show here that in fact the very absoluteness of the Biblical standard and the ambiguity of meaning built into it generate a marked flexibility in meaning that permits a variety of symbolic strategies by both men and women with important implications for women’s position. In this chapter I will demonstrate this semantic flexibility through an in-depth analysis of the meaning of a key symbol of women’s position in three Edinburgh churches: the wearing of hats.


Church Member Dominant Meaning Core Meaning Bible Study American Anthropological Association 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Borker
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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