Is straightening one's hair okay if they don't like having curly hair and their society widely accepts it as masculine?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch chapter 171 halacha 1

It is forbiden for a man to wear even one garment that is designed as a woman's, although he is dressed in a manner that clearly indicates that he is a man." ... "This prohibition does not apply to clothes alone. A man is forbidden to wear or employ any ornament or beautifying practice that is unique to women in his particular community.

"in his particular community": what if a person has no "community" and there are lots of people who straighten their hair that are males? In some places like the US, males straighten their hair and even have it slightly short. Would this be allowed in this case?

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    Since there are both men and women with straight hair (and curly as well), how can it be considered masculine or feminine exclusively? Jan 23, 2018 at 13:36
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    @Kazibácsi Since there are men with hair on their chests and men who naturally don't grow much how could a hairy chest be masculine exclusively? Yet we aren't allowed to shave that area at all.
    – ezra
    Jan 23, 2018 at 15:56
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    @ezra As I understand, the post considers straight hair as masculine. It's just not true, because there are quite many women born with straight hair. In contrast, hairy chest is masculine, since women don't have it. Jan 23, 2018 at 16:37
  • @Kazibácsi What about the hair under the arms or surrounding the genital area? Both men and women share this fact yet men are not permitted to shave these areas while women are.
    – ezra
    Jan 23, 2018 at 17:55
  • @ezra see Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:9 who writes you can shave these areas with scissors or if you are in place where it is customary for men to shave these areas
    – mbloch
    Jan 23, 2018 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


You cite KSA

A man is forbidden to wear or employ any ornament or beautifying practice that is unique to women in his particular community

Speaking of epilation, Mishne Torah (Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:9) writes

Where does the above apply? In places where it is customary only for women to remove such hair, so that one will not beautify himself as women do. In places where it is customary for both men and women to remove such hair, one is not given stripes.

And the Rema permits it upfront. On this the Prisha (SA YD 182) states that

the word "men" refers even to gentiles. Even if gentile men follow this practice, a Jew is not punished for doing so.

From this it looks like it is permitted to adopt women practices that gentile men observe as well.

If you plan to do this in practice, please CYLOR as always.

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    What about chukas hagoy?
    – ezra
    Jan 23, 2018 at 15:55
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    @ezra OMG! I was just thinking the same question! In both my elementary and high school, if a boy had hair that was deemed "too long" (it was the teacher's and principal's decision on how to define this) you were imitating The Beatles - considered "The Ultimate Goyim" by a number of rebbeim. Interestingly enough, afro hairstyles (the name "afro" should already indicate who it was common with) were allowed.
    – DanF
    Jan 23, 2018 at 17:42
  • @ezra I am not sure who you are arguing against? The Rema who permits? Or are you making a distinction between a hidden area (epilation) and the OP question? Chukot hagoyim doesn't mean we cannot do anything the goyim do - only that we should not imitate non-Jews to blend with them or do something that the Jews haven't done until now connected with paganism or sexual immodesty (see here on MY)
    – mbloch
    Jan 23, 2018 at 18:57

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