Creating the Pocky Women

Kathleen Reynolds


The sexually transmitted disease known as “The French Pox,” a forerunner of modern syphilis, represented a significant departure from early modern European knowledge of disease. Particularly distinctive was the gendered nature of the disease; females were labeled responsible for the formation of disease and thus associated with the moral corruption of the pox. This article examines the roots of this societal sexism in the Christian Pauline theory, using the binary between male and female to appreciate the development of the pox and the social differentiation that occurred as a result of its contagion.

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