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cross-dressng-msg - 12/17/10


Cross-dressing in period. Women who dressed as men and men who dressed as women.


NOTE: See also the files: clothing-msg, clothing-FAQ, p-sumpt-laws-msg, fashion-msg, pants-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 23:17:18 +0100

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: Tom Holt <lemming.co at zetnet.co.uk>

Subject: Re: Roaring Women (was Re: Women and swords....)


The message <slrn7tqquc.hio.zebee at zipper.zip.com.au>

  from  zebee at zip.com.au (Zebee Johnstone) contains these words:

> john enzinas <jenzinas at amikanow.com> wrote:

> >william thomas powers <powers at cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:

> >

> >>Its post medieval; but didn't the "roaring women" of elizabethan england

> >>go armed?  (and drank and smoked and were a *scandle* to all right

> >>thinking folk---sounds like they had a lot of fun)

> >

> >i have yet to hear about this in any of the (rather small number) of info

> >sources i have read. who were the "Roaring Women"? where can i find more

> >information?


> I'm not sure there was more than one...


There was a play by Middleton & Dekker called "The Roaring Girl",

first produced in 1611. IIRC she was a female version of the Roaring

Boys (sort of urban Elizabethan middle-class Hell's Angels/punk rockers)


The title of this thread puts me in mind of the Sobbin' Women from

"Seven Brides For Seven Brothers". Which dates me, I guess.



From: rmine at iinet.net.au (Russell )

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Roaring Women (was Re: Women and swords....)

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 12:47:51 GMT


powers at cis.ohio-state.edu (william thomas powers) wrote:

>There was a book on the Elizabethen "underworld" with a title going

>X, Y and Roaring women/girls?.  I can't get to my notes to find the exact

>cite; I'm sorry we're in a crunch at work and I have not home time to speak of.



I think you might be remembering "The Elizabethan Underworld" by

Gamini Salgado  

isbn 0-7509-0976-5

Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd


It has a some very good background and an interesting biography of

Moll Cutpurse - an amazing and unrepentant character.



From: Maggie Forest <maggie at forest.gen.nz>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Any sources for migration era danish underwear?

Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 09:40:33 +1200

Organization: Asia Online NZ


On Wed, 13 Sep 2000 19:44:41 GMT, Ciorstan <ciorstan at mediaone.net> wrote:

>IIRC, Jenny Jochens' "Women in Norse Society" mentions, in passing, an

>Icelandic divorce case where the basis/ground was Husband's objection to

>Wife's wearing fly-fronted pants (men's pants). I haven't succeeded in

>tracking down anything concrete about the 'case.'

>Any suggestions?


Laxdaela saga. chapter 35, Gudrun's second marriage (in the Penguin

Classics edition):


(Gudrun has divorced her first husband after making him shirts which

were so wide in the neck that his nipples are exposed)


One day when they were riding across Blaskogaheath in fine weather,

Gudrun said, "Is it true, Thord, that your wife Aud always wears

breeches with gores in the crutch, like a man's, and cross-garters

almost down to her shoes?"


One day Thord Ingunnarson asked Gudrun what the penalty was for a

woman who always wore breeches like a man's.

Gudrun replied, "The same penalty applies to women in a case like that

as to a man who wears a neck-opening so wide that his nipples are

exposed: both are grounds for divorce."





Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 00:46:38 -0800

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] trans-gender clothing


Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Well, through most cultures and times we study, trans-gender

> clothing for either sex was looked down upon. There appear to have

> been a bunch more women who dressed as men than vice-versa though.

> There were probably a number of economic and cultural reasons for

> this, but the main one was that throughout period women generally

> had a second class status and trading up made a lot more sense

> than trading down.


Yes, this is generally the case. In fact, men dressing as women was

usually seen as almost sinister, and teh man was hiding for some

nefarious purpose.


There is a very interesting 13th c French romance called _Silence_

(which is even in translation, by Sarah Roche-Mahdi) that addresses

these issues. Silence is a girl raised as a boy because of inheritance

laws- and grows up to be a highly esteemed knight, known far and wide

for 'his' prowess. At the end of the tale, due to a sort of 'Potiphar's

wife' scenario, Silence is unmasked as a female, and one of the queen's

'ladies' is unmasked as a male. The issues of identity and voice are

very important in the text, and clothing as social identity is central.


There is also a romance from around the same time where the hero/heroine

(I forget which) is found out because of their table manners and the way

they ate their food. But I can't remember the title...





From: b.scott at csuohio.edu (Brian M. Scott)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Girls with Short Hair

Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2003 22:14:30 GMT


On Sun, 3 Aug 2003 20:43:45 +0000 (UTC), tmcd at panix.com (Timothy

McDaniel) wrote:

>Cynthia Virtue  <cvirtue at thibault.org> wrote:


>>Speaking likewise from theory, I doubt it.  We're hard-wired to be

>>able to recognize members of the opposite sex for evolutionary

>>reasons, and the way they move is part of that pattern-recognition.

>>It takes work to move like the opposite sex after sexual maturity.  I

>>doubt clothes mask it very much.


>Speaking likewise from theory and limited experience, I doubt you.

>I think sex recognition is learned far more than you think.


Some weak evidence in your favor:


An acquaintance who did a Master's in War Studies, specifically

on women in war, says that there are many well-documented

instances of women passing as men in 17th century fighting

forces; presumably there are even more who aren't documented.

She also mentions that '[t]he Arabs during the Crusades were much

given to remarking that they'd cleared up after a skirmish and

found yet /another/ Frankish woman in mail, fighting as a man

does'; these women seem to have been airbrushed out of history,

so there's no way tell whether they were passing, but I suspect

that at least some must have been.


>But GAD I'd like real data!  Any people in here who were adult before

>women in pants became more common and can therefore testify as to

>whether they had trouble with sex recognition at the transition?

>Surely there are books on this subject?


I was born in 1948.  The trousers that (some) women wore in

informal settings when I was a kid were for the most part cut

entirely differently from those worn by men.  They were also

generally tight enough to leave little doubt in most cases, and

of course hair length was also a fairly reliable signal.  It

isn't until you get to the 60s that you find significant numbers

of men and women wearing similar clothing and similar hair

styles.  Real ambiguity was definitely possible, especially with

slender builds of either sex.  It still is, under the same

circumstances, if the person doesn't have clearly masculine or

feminine gestures, stances, ways of moving, etc.  At the same

time it's clear that many body types send clear signals as long

as the clothing doesn't conceal them.





To: Authentic_SCA at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: Same-sex couples and cross-dressing

Posted by: "Brad Moore" mamluk at yahoo.com   mamluk

Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:34 am (PST)


Posted by: "adiebaren" adiebaren at aol.com

<<< My partner and I just participated in our first Ren-Faire as

vendor/artisans. I'm comfortable in skirts, but my partner hasn't

worn a dress since she left her family of origin. I outfitted us in

sketchy inexpensive costumes, skirt, smock and bodice for me,

breeches, shirt and leather apron for her. We're woodturners, which I

suspect would not have been a typical occupation for women in

Elizabethan times. >>>



A fascinating book on the subject is available, Clothes Make The Man: Female Cross Dressing in Medieval Europe, by Valerie Hotchkiss; ISBN: 0815323697 9780815323693, and the OCLC: 33983482. The work itself, and her bibliography should provide you with a starting point. Also, if you have access to a good research library, such as a university library, try some journals: Gender and History, Sexuality and Culture, Sexualities, Evolution, and Gender, Journal of Gender Studies, to name just a few. Most of these are available electronically through a university library's database.


I am not terribly familiar with the Ren Faire Circuit, but am a graduate student in Medieval History focusing on Gender/Sexuality and Clothing/Dress. If you prefer, you may contact me privately at mamluk at yahoo.com.


You might also check out the book, Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila, and her website, www.ninyamikhaila.com. The book does a good job of featuring what middle class people would have worn during the period. Janet Arnold's books Patterns of Fashion 3: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women, C. 1560-1620 and Patterns of Fashion 4: The Cut and Construction of Linen Shirts, Smocks, Neckwear, Headwear and Accessories for Men and Women C. 1540-1660for more advanced costume ideas. Good luck in your endeavors.


Nicolas L'Anguille


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org