Cross-dressing in the Orchard

Naturally.  What do you do in the orchard?

This is another adorable photograph from Women in Pants.  It is dated c. 1910.

"Couple posed in a relaxed embrace, c. 1910"

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Notes On A Scandal

If I ever wax rhapsodic about romantic friendship, please slap me and set me right down in front of Notes On A Scandal.   This is the real thing.  This is the reality of the past, of heteronormativity.  Think of the millions of women who have suffered in silence, in confusion, in loveless lives, because they could not know who they loved.

Notes_On_A_Scandal

Romantic friendship, 1873

I just came across this engraving from the digital collections of the New York Public Library.  Women in 1873 would have seen this as simply a charming image of close friends, but from the vantage point of 2009 I see it as having a real romantic undertone.  If I imagine a man in the exact position of the darker woman, the picture would clearly be an image of courtship.  Perhaps the artist had in mind a schoolgirl wooing; a practice which was tolerated, if not actually encouraged, in Victorian culture.

"Toinette"

"Toinette"

1920 Vogue: “Now do write!”

I don’t think this advertisement from 1920 Vogue for stationery features lesbians, but I can’t help thinking that there was some- just a little– homoerotic intent. Ok, maybe just romantic friendship. But still.

My favorite non-fiction book about the concept and flourishing of female romantic friendship is Surpassing The Love of Men by Faderman. I don’t have a favorite fiction because there are just too many. What is yours?

Vogue, 1920.  Romantic friendship persists, despite the sexologists best efforts.

Vogue, 1920. Romantic friendship persists, despite the sexologists' best efforts.