- He Found a Hair and it Bothered Him: Female Pubic Hair Removal in the Talmud
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 35, Fall 5780/2019
- pp. 128-152
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Three passages in the Babylonian Talmud directly address female pubic hair, the offensive presence of which is connected both to sexual assault and to national catastrophe. The passages also display formal similarities, in that they are all essentially Babylonian biblical commentaries into which Palestinian comments regarding pubic hair depilation are inserted. This paper argues that late Babylonian editors, living in a Sassanian Zoroastrian milieu in which pubic hair and its removal had vastly different connotations than in the Roman West, transposed their assumptions onto the sources they arranged. In doing so, they mapped their ideas about the female body onto their traditions about the past, actively composing terrifying tales of national destruction.