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According to halacha, are women permitteed to have their hair styled in a man-typical way?

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, @Jamie Behun, but “a boy short haircut” can either refer to a short haircut styled exactly like a boy (which is, today, common among certain types of women... if ya know what I mean) or only resembling the shortness of a boy’s haircut, lacking a girl’s characteristic long locks, but styled differently and typically having distinguishable feminine bangs and volume/body. IMHO, the halachic application would differentiate between the two so describing which you mean would help get a more precise answer. – Oliver Jun 13 at 13:52
  • @Oliver I mean a boy short haircut exactly like a man's haircut. – Jamie Behun Jun 14 at 1:57
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The Shulchan Aruch writes that it is forbidden for a woman to get a haircut like a man (literally, to shave her head like a man). The Shulchan Aruch also writes, earlier, that even though the halochoh is that a man is not allowed to shave his pubic hair and armpit hair, if in that place men also do it, one doesn't get lashes for doing so. Meaning, it is not a violation of the Torah commandment to dress like a woman. The Ramo writes that it is permitted and that only talmidei chachomim, Torah scholars, refrain. It would seem, therefore, that this question could have a different answer in different locations.

Based on the language of your question, a "boy short haircut", it seems that in your location women typically do not get such a haircut. If that's the case it would seem to be forbidden for a woman to take such a haircut.

One point that still needs clarification is how many women need to get this short haircut for it to be considered a unisex style.

שו"ע יו"ד קפב:ה : לא תעדה אשה עדי האיש וכו' או שתגלח ראשה כאיש

שו"ע יו"ד קפב:א : המעביר שער בית שחי ובית הערוה וכו' היו מכין אותו מכת מרדות בד"א במקום שאין מעבירין אותו אלא נשים כדי שלא יתקן עצמו תיקון נשים אבל במקום שמעבירין אותו גם האנשים אם העביר אין מכין אותו. הגה: ואפי' לכתחלה שרי (ר"ן פ"ב דע"ז). רק החברים נמנעים בכל מקום (שם ובב"י בשם נ"י) (וע"ל סימן קנ"ו) עכ"ל

  • Why is this any different that pants where many poskim (Rav Ovadia) permit it on the basis of Klei Gever (as it has been ubiquitous and unisex), but forbid it due to making a separation between the legs? – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 16 at 8:34
  • I'm not sure I understand your comparison. A separation between the legs can be perceived as suggestive for obvious reasons. I don't think that a short haircut is perceived as suggestive in the same way. Do you understand the separation between the legs differently? – BigJohn Jun 17 at 1:28
  • It's not about suggestive. It's about what is considered dressing like a man. I was pointing out that Rav Ovadia held that woman wearing pants is ubiquitous – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 17 at 18:34
  • "Why is this any different than pants..." It isn't in terms of klei gever as explained in the answer quoting Shulchan Aruch 182:1, "if in that place men also do it...", but in terms of a separation between the legs a short haircut is very different from pants as explained in my previous comment. Maybe I didn't understand your question. We're you asking why didn't I quote Chacham Ovadia? – BigJohn Jun 18 at 14:27
  • yes why didn't you quote Rav Ovadia – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 18 at 16:24

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