A National Anthem is a country’s national song. A patriotic piece of music used by a state as a means of showing national identity. The lyrics, melody, and style are unique to each country. Some countries with component states like the United Kingdom, which are made up of England, Scotland, and Wales, have different anthems for each even though they are not regarded as sovereign nations.
However, the question is, should a woman remove her hat during the national anthem?
Women are not expected to remove their hats during the singing of the National Anthem because the rule of hat etiquette during the national anthem does not apply to them as they are excluded from it. It is only men that are mandated to remove their hats during the national anthem.
Leaving Hats on During the National Anthem
This means wearing a hat on one’s head while the national anthem is being sung. It is frowned upon. Generally, hats are not meant to be worn during the national anthem, especially for men, as doing so is an act of disrespect to the nation.
National anthems are meant to be played at the beginning of official state events, at the start of sporting events, while receiving foreign dignitaries. In some countries like Nigeria, students’ national anthem is sung every morning before the start of school events.
Certain rules must be followed while the anthem is being played. If seated, everyone present must stand at attention as soon as it starts. If one is walking when it begins playing, it is expected that you stop and stand at attention. If a man is wearing a hat, it must be taken off.
Hats come in various shapes, sizes, and designs and are widely worn by women worldwide. There are different types of hats like the cloche, pillbox, derby, and fascinator reserved mainly for women. Others like the Panama, baseball caps, straw hats, and beanies are unisex and can be worn by both genders.
They are usually worn at occasions like funerals, weddings, parties, and derbies. For men, hats should never be worn indoors or when one is in a private space. They are allowed in public spaces and outdoor areas like lobbies, markets, and streets.
In recent times, women can be seen wearing hats traditionally under the exclusive purview of men’s fashion. Like the national anthem, rules guide the wearing of a hat in social situations, including singing the said anthem.
Should Women Take Their Hats Off During the National Anthem?
Women are exempted from the social rules mandating the removal of hats during the National Anthem. It does not apply to them in whatever form. At the same time, men are expected to remove their hats in the course of the national anthem, while indoors, upon introduction to a lady, women are not meant to do so in church and also wear their hats at a restaurant.
Reasons Why Women Should Remove their Hats During the National Anthem
1. Wearing a Unisex Cap Makes it Mandatory
Normally, ladies are not required to remove their hats while singing the national anthem, but where the hat worn is a unisex cap, the rule does apply. Thus, if a lady wears a hat normally reserved for men like a fedora or a top hat, she would be required to take it off during the national anthem. If it is a unisex hat she has on, like a baseball cap or beanie, she would also be required to remove it. This is also applicable when a lady wears a unisex hat at the dinner table.
2. As a Sign of Respect
To show respect to the sovereignty of the nation, the hat should be taken off while the national anthem is being sung. Doing otherwise indicates a flagrant disregard for the supremacy of one’s country. As a guest in another country, the hat must be taken off while their national anthem is being sung. When a visitor’s national anthem is played, the same rule applies. This shows that one has respect for the visiting guest or the host country.
Reasons Women Should Not Remove their Hats During the National Anthem
Here are the reasons why Women should not Remove their Hats During the National Anthem.
1. Protection of Dignity
In times past, hats were considered essential whenever ladies stepped outdoors. A woman seen without a hat outdoors was seen as careless or a member of the lower class. Leaving the hair uncovered was just like being naked. It would have been regarded as a means of seducing the male folk and leaving them at the mercy of their desires. The woman would be seen as a wanton seductress desecrating the sanctity of the national anthem.
2. To Save Her from Embarrassing Physical Exertions
Women’s hats require a lot of effort to put on. Their hair has to be washed, oiled, combed, perfumed then twisted into elaborate, complicated styles. When the hat is worn, it is placed at a certain angle and sometimes held with a pin to the hair. Some women may wear their hats with long hair.
Often, the hair may be made to pass through the hat as part of the fashion. Using up a lot of time to remove the hat, thereby messing up the hair and then going through a whole new process of putting things back in place after the National Anthem. If anything, this would be an unladylike behavior that would draw unwarranted attention and cause embarrassment.
3. It is not a Requirement
While men are required to take their hats off during the national anthem, a woman cannot be seen hatless when she is outside of her house and in someone else’s home, parties, church, a theatre, and the passing of the flag even if the anthem is played in any of those places.
4. Removing the Hat Would Ruin her Outfit
Ladies are meant to look good at all times. This means their clothes must be in vogue, be well fitted, have a nice color, and be neat and well pressed. Her makeup and hair should be expertly done without a thing out of place. Matching shoes, bags, and hats of the right color must be worn too. A hat is an important part of her entire outfit. It isn’t something that can just be easily removed like a handkerchief. The hats make a statement, and taking it off will ruin the appeal of her entire look.
Punishment For Women Who Refuse to Remove their Hats During the National Anthem?
There is no punishment for a woman’s refusal to remove her hat within the duration of the National Anthem. While men are expected to remove their hats with their right hand and put it over their left shoulder, Women are not expected to do the same.
Gentlemen are not expected to wear their Hats during the National Anthem, but hats are too essential to their outfits to be removed for ladies. In time past, removing the hat in public would be deemed scandalous.
However, the National Anthem must be respected. As such, even though removing her hat is out of the question, a lady should stand at attention and place her hand on her chest in the course of the National Anthem. If she is in motion, she must stop and stand wherever she is, right hand over her chest while the National Anthem plays. This is a patriotic thing to do to show respect for the country.