One of the most asked questions about the Amish community is; can you become Amish if you have tattoos? Most people in the US and Canada know the old Amish community order for its longstanding stability and resistance to the influences of the American culture.
The Amish descended from Jacob Amman, who successfully led a split from the Mennonite community in I693–I697 over issues involving a more conservative way of life, such as the practice of foot washing, banishing excommunicated members, and maintenance of the traditional clothing style.
The Amish people do not disfigure their bodies. They consider conformity to developments in the modern world as an abomination since they do not share the same worldview.
They are bound by stringent community norms that prohibit displays of self-aggrandizement or pride.
They exist emotionally and physically apart from the reality of modern Western culture. Hypothetically, this segregation is expected to protect them from some of the general societal body image issues.
The simple answer is No. You can't become Amish if you have tattoos. Most Amish communities will not accept anyone from the outside if they have a Tattoo. The Old Order style Amish Don't accept anybody who has tattoos.
It's so serious that Individuals who were Amish left the community and got a tattoo can never rejoin the Amish.
The static nature of their lifestyle raises the fundamental question of how such folk groups, especially basic religious societies, develop their iconography if they are unable to draw inspiration from the industrialization of the modern world.
Even more fundamental to the beliefs of the Amish is the view that their bodies are God's temples and that they must treat them as such.
Amish Dress Code
The Amish follow principles for living a godly life that is designed to guide them in their daily deeds, thoughts, and words.
Among these rules is modesty in dress, which has nothing to do with luxury and grandeur. The issue of appearance also applies to tattoos.
Tattooing is prohibited, as is body decoration with jewelry, cosmetics, and piercings. Wearing rings for medicinal purposes, such as rheumatism therapy, is the only exemption, but this is strictly a practical measure rather than an aesthetic one.
The Amish female clothing is simple and functional. The Amish dress colors are purple, brown, blue, grey, wine, and black. Women's hair should be long, thick, uncut, split just at the center, and brushed down both sides.
From childhood on, girls' hair is braided and then pulled back in puberty. For Amish men, the beard typically begins to grow at baptism; however, the young men find a way to keep it fairly short throughout their courtship period. They can no longer cut it after they get married.
One can better understand Amish practices by combining personal experience with a scientific approach to studying culture and personality. Typically, visual symbols, particularly those linked with body art and attire, provide an effective way of preserving group awareness and integrating a sectarian society's core values.
Amish Rumspringa Tradition
The Amish dressing tradition demonstrates how they perceive tattoos in relation to the sanctity and holiness of their bodies.
Their appearance rules prohibit them from getting tattoos after their rumspringa, which follows their baptism. Rumspringa comes after the age of 16.
Amish youth are granted a considerable measure of independence at this age, which they might utilize to explore the world.
Some can even opt to practice an "English" lifestyle as it is commonly known. Thereafter, the majority of children are expected to return fully to the Amish way of life, with all of its responsibilities and rewards.
The Amish believe that spending as much on a single garment as it would normally take to outfit two or more individuals is a sign of enormous vanity. For them, human beings are bound to reflect on their youthful days and regret their display of vanity once they reach old age.
Their beliefs appear to be founded on God's admonition against pride. According to the scriptures, there was no other transgression or sin for which the punishment was more severe than pride.
Angels became devils as a result of their pride. Nebuchadnezzar, a once-mighty king, was reduced into a wild creature (to feast on grass like an ox). Also, Jezebel (a mighty queen) was devoured by dogs because of her pride.
The Amish traditional dress design is based on the 17th-century clothing worn by European peasants. Rejecting the world's influences, this group of individuals is adamantly opposed to change and deviation from tradition. For example, after the founding of the Anabaptist fraternity in I525 and for many decades afterward, the beard was widely grown by men from all social groups, with the exception of the Catholic clergy.
When the Anabaptists met in I568, they approved a resolution prohibiting the trimming of one's hair and beard to match up to the "worldly trends." As a means of projecting an air of ferocity, Napoleon's soldiers started donning mustaches in place of beards following the French Revolution.
Also, the Amish and Mennonites began trimming their upper lips at the same period, most likely in response to this practice. Both groups despised the military. Both factions have been staunch critics of the mustache up to the modern era.
However, as images in museums demonstrate, many men without Amish ancestry trimmed their upper lips and wore beards over the last century.
Nevertheless, because the Amish adhered to this procedure so completely and identically, this style of beard became informally known as the Anabaptist beard. The simplicity highlights the enormous importance of humility in Amish society.
Amish clothing is a very identifiable external indicator of group affiliation, although more so for its simplicity and cleanliness than for its peculiarities.
The premise is that an individual's look should represent humility and minimize being identified as an individual. Violators of the Amish appearance code may face reprimand from community leaders. While the clothing code is meant to discourage visible expressions of individualism, there is room for personal taste.
The contemporary Amish men have their hair cut in a bob as a cultural statement. According to region, Amish haircuts should either be shaved off just below the lobes of the ears or slightly above them; nevertheless, it is not shingled.
A person's hair length is an excellent measure of their level of conservatism. This hairstyle was popular in the 18th century, and it has remained well-liked among the Amish to this day.
By cutting one's hair too short, a member of the Amish community leaves him/herself at the mercy of the church's sanctions.
Going by how much society views them, tattoos have become widespread. They have evolved beyond the little hidden form that used to be its limits. Hands, calves, and even necks are covered with ink blotches. Yet it is not limited to males.
Will individuals regret getting tattoos in ten or twenty years, or will they become so "commonplace" that they no longer attract religious criticism and stigma? While this is uncertain, many people would rather not carry a permanent symbol of teenage folly on their bodies.
Thus, a majority of the society believes in dressing and portraying itself modestly as the Amish do. Though elusive, people still strive to put their best foot forward by dressing modestly to church and work.
Is Body Image an Issue in Amish Communities?
Of course, the Amish are not entirely resistant to the influence of the world's modernity.
In the West, it is common for people to feel dissatisfied with their physical appearance. Dissatisfaction with one's body image often results from societal pressures on looks reinforced by media and cultural norms.
People think about their body image based on how they appraise and look at their appearance. Many women in the United States have a "normative dissatisfaction" with their bodies because of the prevalence of negative body image.
This is an issue of concern because negative self-perception is often linked to a wide range of mental illnesses, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, disordered eating, and body dysmorphic disorder.
Surprisingly, many cases of binge eating among young people in the United States have also been linked to a negative self-perception of one's body image, even at the non-medical level.
Body dissatisfaction and poor self-perception can also lead to depression and anxiety. Some people may have detested tattoos at one point in their lives, but as they age, they have an overwhelming urge to obtain one. Consider it a midlife crisis! Some will receive one that combines two of the most significant aspects of life: music and faith.
However, this violates the fundamental principles of the Amish faith. A person considering joining the Amish community would be required to get rid of their tattoos.
People's appearances and attire are important symbols in Amish society rather than material or economic accomplishments. It is absolutely fascinating that a civilization that focuses heavily on personal integrity and religious devotion can inadvertently center its symbols on bodily appearance.
As previously stated, the Amish "think that a positive body image, both mental and physical, is a divine gift from God that necessitates the individual's attentive stewardship."
While the Amish have developed their own distinct Christian rites and customs throughout time, they share theological origins with other Christian communities that have always avoided the cardinal sins of greed and laziness.
For instance, some Christian weight reduction publications and programs have emphasized the significance of maintaining a slim body as a way of expressing God's glory.
Therefore, a deep religious identity, such as the Amish, may heighten the pressure to maintain a "healthy" body image.