Gender's Two Bodies: Women Warriors, Female Husbands and Plebeian Life

TitleGender's Two Bodies: Women Warriors, Female Husbands and Plebeian Life
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsEaston, Fraser
JournalPast & Present
Issue180
Pagination131-174
Date Published08/2003
Abstract

This article analyzes two subgroups of working-class women who dressed as men in order to obtain employment and other benefits in 18th-century England. One group, called "female husbands," consisted of women who dressed as men in order to marry other women. The second group, called "women warriors," were women who dressed as men in order to participate in wars. The first group was generally condemned, ostracized, and prosecuted, while the second group was more accepted and even admired by society. The difference in treatment of the two groups is explained as arising from the differences that 18th-century society drew between the female-husband group's attempts to imitate male sexual function and the women-warrior group's efforts to imitate male anatomy, without the sexual activity component. The criminalization of the female-husband group was part of British 18th-century society's attempt to regulate both gender and class.

URLhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/3600742
Short TitleGender's Two Bodies
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193776810

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