Where Marguerite de Navarre flirted with Calvinism in her use of the androgyne as a proxy in the dispute over free will, poets worked to incor- porate the androgyne into specifically French traditions around gender and desire. The term initially indicated a sexually neutral entity, as in the Blason du nombril, written sometime after by Bonaventure des Periers: Which, against all pity, was divided in half, and the fact of a whole so happy two half bodies too languishing, which of late are always wandering, And the one always looking for the other And great is their desire to reunite…].
If this is a single entity, it could be a hermaphrodite; if it is instead a conjoined being, it is already heterosexual. The emphasis on the androgyne as both male and female in one obviated the possibility of reading the figure in terms of sodomit- ical male-male union. French repudiations of the Italian association with male homosexual sodomy recurred as the Renaissance settled in. When seeing it, I think over The sweet bond Which, in happy alliance, Supports the ancient man-woman When the [female] lover and the [male] lover Do not come seeking their other half. Tyard initially deployed the androgyne as the figure for homosocial union.
Tyard used the sonnet form— quintessentially addressed to a female love object since Petrarch—for a relationship with a man. Completion is imagined as both choice: Perfection in unity is a partial reflection of lovers joined because of heavenly recursive prescription: I do not want to know if it was kindness To be taken by the maker, who long ago pitied, The poor ones all split in half, From their celestial origin You hope as much good to me, You value as much as I ought, Having you as the price of my faith, There is my Androgyne.
Du Bellay downplayed any embodied notion of the androgyne, reading the union as a spiritual one with the soul finding its other half. That is, the language of desire with scant reference to corporeal form allows for a unity of souls in heaven that is consistent with Augustinian ideas about simultaneous creation and predestination. Augustine held that the universe was created by God in an instant the division of creation into days was simply a framework for more limited human minds , and so all souls were, in a sense, one and united with each other and God. The first fire of my lesser pleasure Made gasping my altered desire Then of our hearts the celestial Androgyne You bind my faith more righteously: Unity is still heavenly, but unlike the alternating I and you in the first poem, the emphasis on I Je in the second implies more personal, individual fulfill- ment, rather than the soul rejoining God.
In neither poem did Du Bellay specify the object of his desire, allowing room for imagining his vision of unity in either homoerotic or hetero- erotic terms. Although Du Bellay retained a level of abstraction in his language about completion, others proceeded to reduce the religious, psychological, and philosophical complexities and, in so doing, opened up the androgyne to criticism. Most significantly, Merrill assumed that the expression of insis- tent heterosexual desire implied a longing for marriage. But is this appro- priate? The specificity of the attachment is in the halves rejoined in mutual love.
Nowhere is this defined as marriage. Ronsard took minor orders, but that never stopped him from casting himself as a lover, and his love objects were women. Using both the Petrarchan love tradition, with its emphasis on the unattainable female love object, and the French courtly love tradition, in which love is found outside of marriage, Ronsard brings out the impermanence of pleasure rather than its idealized codification in marriage.
To be fair, some did try to shoehorn the androgyne into a marital formula. Where Ficino—along with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Baldas- sare Castiglione, to name just three of the most influential voices on the subject—considered beauty in men or women to be a reliable guide to transcendent love, Le Roy insists otherwise. Le Roy moves immediately to a specifically gendered reading of the halves that fits his purpose: The intellectual, rational male part governs but combines with the corpo- real, impassioned female part.
The combination is both hierarchical and complementary. Marriage provides an orderly locus for desire. Outside of marriage, bad sex threatens: Le Roy replaced the Neoplatonic notion of perfection through fulfillment in another with completion in a socially sanctioned context. This was precisely the problem: Desire, however, remained far too capacious. For some, the androgyne was fraught with lascivious but exciting possibilities. Philippe Desportes used the language of predesti- nation associated with the androgyne as a seduction technique: Because my heart, which heaven has predestined for you, Loves better to consent to the ordained decree, And die by your hands of an honorable plague, Than to prove itself the contrivance of another, more favorable love.
Rather than lovers finding their other halves, finding a lover means she is his other half. The possibilities could be, if not endless, as least prolific. Because his wife is not his other half, he feels free to seek love elsewhere: Because the Androgyne is always separated, And by us our halves are less often chosen. The half sometimes the other part lost Without its other half, without thinking there to find And then one who is by the other ardently desired.
The androgyne becomes an invi- tation to move on, to keep searching by means of desire for completion. And it is both impossible completion and endless searching because the androgyne is always in parts. The Antineopla- tonist Jean de Serres c.
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Henri Estienne, the Protestant humanist printer, published three massive volumes in which Serres translated all the dialogues of Plato from Greek into Latin. Describitur ergo amoris vis atque impetus in animantium venereo congressu. Itaque miror prae- posteram interpretum diligentiam in hoc Androgyni explicando: Thus are described the power of love and the drive to animate beings to sexual union, which is, obviously, the ardent passion for reproduction in order to give birth to future generations and prop- agate the human race.
But the vile Aristophanes here describes a vile and restrained love. To explain it at greater length would only be to increase its infamy. I wonder, therefore, at the prepos- terous diligence of interpreters in explaining the image of the Androgyne, as we said in our introduction. But whatever one says here about the monstrosity of pederasty, except that it is shameful and disgusting to consider such sordid things, has at this point already been refuted. As Marc Schachter argued, Serres turned his commen- tary into an occasion to trumpet the superiority of heterosexual, procre- ative desire.
Serres took seriously the notion that the cleaved androgynes came in all types, and many or most could not expect anything save sensual, sexual completion. Procreation offers generative proof of acceptable sexual expression; its mechanical result serves as a reliable indicator of the successful joining of halves. Platonic transcen- dence, because it might result in inappropriate, non-procreative choice, is too dangerous and improbable to encourage.
For Serres, the androgyne on any other terms reflects the dangers of corporeal desire. Jean de Serres was not the only one who refused positive readings of the androgyne. The author of the Contramours accepted transcendent rational love, but distinguished the androgyne as emblematic of irra- tional desire. Published in , the text rejects the conventional love discourses, especially of Petrarch and Ovid.
Similar authors to follow
Amorous passion, he insisted, obscures the senses, makes men blind, and deprives them of reason. Despite relying on Plato for the concept of rational love, the author singled out Plato as an advocate of carnal desire. The Contramours denounces physicality in love as repulsive: As for people in love who approach each other with infatuation, it does not suffice for them to join themselves together tightly: Moreover, unreasoned physical desire which creates this loss of self is especially abhorrent because it is the result of restless searching for physical pleasure satisfied by sexual desire.
The loss of self extended to gender identity: Or if you have not married, by force you crumple the true half on an honest marriage in order to renew sin by the separation of this Androgyne associated by marriage. By this means, you do not rejoin the separated Androgyne: Rather than the androgyne functioning as the joining of lovers, marital love protects acceptable unions, combats bad sexual tendencies, and helps fix the gender identities of men as lovers of women.
Rejecting the androgyne prevents a concatenation of mutually constitutive sexual faults. The androgyne figure encourages bad sexual behavior and sexual de-differentiation. The desiring man is effeminate, and effeminacy might take over. The androgyne is, at best, an excuse for ephemeral desire and, at worst, the source of social destruction because reckless sexual desire causes adultery, fornication, debauchery, and violence. Cast at once as natural and the source of primordial human nature, the androgyne initially seemed to offer an elegant just-so story to explain human sexuality.
Nor was the story incongruent with crucial Christian notions such as the Fall of Man. The neat explanation of desire, however, harbored—even in its basic premises—elements that undermined it in ways that produced the legitimation of a far more limited understanding of sexual possibility. Humanists and poets bracketed homosocial desire to encourage the privileging of a heterosexual vision of the androgyne. As it turned out, negotiating the instability of heterosexual desire turned out to be rather complicated. The transformation of the androgyne into the emblem of lascivious corporeality rendered the idea of transcendent mutual love suspect.
Only selfcontained difference, with men being defined as men because of their controlled desire for women, would protect against the tug of lustful searching that the androgyne seemed to allow. The containment of the possibilities of pleasure and desire was never easy and never done. The optimistic quest for transcendent completion became, instead, the grim commit- ment to limitation, stratification, and the obviousness of sexual duty. This is, necessarily, a partial list. Francia e Italia Turin: Androgynes are often treated as synonymous, or nearly so, with hermaphrodites, about whom there is considerable historical discussion.
I am interested in the figure of the androgyne as a cultural, literary construct, rather than people who were termed androgynes or hermaph- rodites or who might now be termed intersexed. For accounts that focus more on hermaphrodites, see, for instance Kathleen P. Long, Hermaph- rodites in Renaissance Europe Aldershot: Neoplatonism is a bit of a catchall. Kristeller emphasizes that it was not a unified philosophy.
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Kristeller ; reprint, Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura , 35— See especially page For a helpful perspective on several varieties of Neoplatonism as under- stood relative to a particular problem, see Gerd van Riel, Pleasure and the Good Life: Plato, Aristotle, and the Neoplatonists Leiden and Boston: Plato, The Symposium, trans. Penguin, , d—e. The Aristophanes tale runs from a to d. Clearly the seminal work of Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Harvard University Press, warrants mention here as one of the first major studies to broach some of the questions discussed in this chapter.
New Left Books, , — Harvard University Press , — Brill, , — Spring Publications, , Marsilio Ficino, Commentaire sur le banquet de Platon, ed. The literature on Neoplatonism in the Renaissance is vast, and much of it revolves around the study of Marsilio Ficino. For an extensive bibli- ography, see Paul O. Olschki, , 36—66 for secondary materials and Michael J. Allen and Valery Rees, eds. Raymond Marcel, 3 vols. Allen and John Warden, 6 vols. Harvard University Press, — Allen, The Platonism of Marsilio Ficino: University of California Press, , — Droz, , ix. The quotation is 2.
Droz, , 65— See Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron, trans. Chilton London and New York: Penguin, , 7— There is no single, agreed-upon text, but modern editions generally utilize the above version which seems to be the most complete. Editions Scientifiques de Pologne, , — On whether it was a collective project or single-authored, see especially Dora E. Polachek, Heroic Virtue, Comic Infidelity: Hestia Press, , 8— Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron, trans.
Penguin, , Paula Sommers argues that this episode indicates that Marguerite rejected the standard notion of the androgyne as a figure of perfect love, but retained androgyny within her larger project as necessary for social harmony. Lyons and Mary B. University of Pennsylvania Press, , — Marguerite de Navarre, Les Prisons: A French and English Edition, ed.
Claire Lynch Wade New York: Peter Lang, , 2. Librairie Fischbacher, which reads her as thor- oughly Protestant in her beliefs. Champion, regards her as Catholic but critical of excesses and corruption on the part of the church. Recently, Gary Ferguson, Mirroring Belief: Marot was not entirely original. On the larger context of blasons, see especially Jonathan Sawday, Body Emblazoned: Sedgwick observes that women circulate d as a form of male bonding, which seems rather apt in this case. Guiraudet et Jouaust, , 78— Slatkin Reprints, , 75, 2.
Pontus de Tyard, Les Erreurs amoureuses, ed. The first book was printed in , the second in , and the third in The examples above are from and respectively. The poem may be found in Tyard, Les Erreurs amoureuses, — Pontus de Tyard Lyon: Jean de Tournes, A Renaissance Pursuit, ed. Horowitz, and Allison P. Coudert Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, , 85— Teske, Fathers of the Church, vol.
Catholic Univer- sity of America, , — The latter was originally published as De Genesi ad litteram. See also Augustine, De doctrina latina, bk. This article appears as chapter 4 of Robert V. Merrill and Roger J. New York University Press, Marcel Didier, — , In addition to Ficino noted above, see Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Commento a una canzone del Benivieni, which was first published in but probably composed around On the context of its genesis and for an accessible modern edition, see Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, De hominis dignitate, Heptaplus, De ente et uno, ed.
Vallecchi Editore, , 10—11, — Baldesare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, trans. Penguin, , — and — The latter section makes a slippery attempt at distin- guishing physical from spiritual beauty. Le Roy, Sympose, 44vff. Galli- mard, , — The Renaissance Androgyne and Sexual Ideology 73 Plato, Opera quae extant omnia. Ex nova Ioannis Serrani interpretatione, perpetuis eiusdm notis illustrata: Stephanus, , — Plato, Opera quae extant omnia, b.
Estienne — , despite being a fierce advocate of Greek language—he was the author of the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae Geneva: He condemned sodomy vocif- erously, although primarily as an Italian and Catholic vice. The link to classical Greece is that his ostensible subject is Herodotus.
The Apologie was originally published in For discussion of the Serres volumes, see — The text is Contra- mours. Le dialogue de Baptiste Platine, gentilhomme de Cremonne, contre les folles amours. See 4—10 for the general statement. Contramours, 29 and 81, , , —, —, for examples of such women , 48—49, and 60—64 for examples of Platonic love as lasciv- ious. One way to know that women are bad is that they desire lascivious foods, especially asparagus, truffles, and artichokes.
Chapter 4 Le Pantalon Toward A Political History of Trousers Christine Bard There are many different ways of dealing with the history of gendered clothing, a history which might lend itself easily to different types of historical approaches: Among these traces, texts and images of a political nature are particularly preva- lent. The reading proposed here will follow a path traced by the material sources themselves, considering trousers across a long history of their sumptuary regulation.
It is a new political history in the sense that it attempts to take into account the different bodies or communities which produce political meaning: Such groups or communities are sometimes central to political change the sans-culottes of year II during the French Revolution , sometimes marginal the feminists of , sometimes countercultural the Saint Simonians.
This style of political history can thus also take account of unusual individuals who shine with a unique glimmer or, indeed, of the ambivalent appropriation by mass culture of the signs of a vaguely political challenge to gender ideals.
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It is a new approach, also, in that it attempts to integrate feminist and antifeminist opinions—positions in relation to gender which are often ignored in traditional political-history methodologies. The decision to cover the subject from until the present day also allows the subject of trousers to be more easily seen in a long-term political context and, in this way, provides a perspective on the alternating progress and regression of frequently meaningful public liberties concerning the status of women. Earlier periods during which political events shaped the way people dressed along gendered lines thus help to contextualize the great turning point of the s and s.
During the French Revolution, pantalons took on an even more precise meaning by incarnating republican values. For men, this meant a brutal change from color to black, from finery to simplicity. Clothing helped to lock women into a female otherness and thus facili- tated their exclusion. They were deprived of the rights of citizenship and confined to residence within their gender: Overloaded with symbolic value, trousers and the wearing of them were thus present among all the transgressions which led to the eventual emancipation of women as political subjects.
Civic Trousers The French word pantalons comes from the Venetians, who were them- selves called pantaloni after one of their patron saints, Saint Pantaleon. This might suggest, therefore, that trousers imposed themselves only recently in the West. However, in reality, they were much older than this and were known by other names in Northern Europe where they were worn for practical reasons by horsemen exposed to very cold temperatures. The ancient Gauls had worn wide breeches, which were seen as a sign of barbarism by the Romans.
Working men continued to wear long breeches to work the land. Trousers were therefore associated with a whole range of inferior social positions: The transition from breeches to trousers began during the Enlighten- ment. Eighteenth-century liberals were sensitive to English influence: There were also changes in ways of dressing linked to political events in other countries: On the 20th of June , a man carrying a pike climbed up onto the roof of the Tuilleries palace and waved his breeches like a flag in front of the crowd. The sans-culottes, small-time artisans of the Parisian revolu- tionary sections and of the revolutionary committees, adopted pantalons, a red bonnet, a rosette, and the red, short-skirted coat of the Marseille sections known as the carmagnole as their uniform.
They derived from the impoverished classes and the word sans-culotte had been, until then, a term of insult above all and a lewd word with sexual and scato- logical connotations. English caricature exploited this idea and showed revolutionaries and soldiers wearing no undergarments. And yet, this new item of clothing quickly became widespread. By the s, apart from a few exceptions in legal and ecclesiastical functions, all men wore trousers.
Aristocratic pomp and splendor only survived in certain uniforms which proved to be the last bastion of masculine elegance. Only those men referred to as dandies beaux or gallants disturbed this landscape with a refinement in their way of dressing, perceived as feminine.
In this shift from an old to a new clothing regime, trousers took on new meaning. They became the most significant marker of gender and a veritable emblem of virility; they were the expression of the bourgeois and patriarchal order which was establishing itself; in their way, they symbolized the great forsaking by men in black of the feast of colors and forms.
In the bible, Deut. At the end of the Middle Ages, it was seen as a prediction of the end of the world. Historically, female trans- vestites wanted, above all, to escape from hostile families and from poverty. Many of them became soldiers; some became prostitutes who, disguised as men, managed to enter places reserved for males. There were also women who took on a male social role alongside another woman. Carnivals and charivari wedding festivals facilitated a tempo- rary role reversal, as did comic theater and literature where the story- line revolved around amorous conquests in which one or more of the characters was in disguise, crossdressed.
A French proverb warns of the danger: And yet clothes, it seems, centrally define gender. The military uniform that was invented in the seventeenth century was reserved for men, and in its way, was a prediction of civilian masculine uniformity. The different shapes could not be confused: At the royal court, the glamor and magnif- icence of the clothing worn was not sex distinctive. Stiffness, accentu- ated for urban women by the whalebone corsets they wore under their bodices, characterized the clothing of both genders in the kingdom of France.
It became a source of conflict during the Enlightenment, when cultural and intellectual aspirations to bodily freedom emerged. During the revolutionary period, fashion cemented this aspiration and symbol- ized the new values of the new society: For a short time, women no longer wore a corset.
But they did not get to wear trousers. It was possible to make their clothing look more masculine, to a certain extent. The ban on transvestism was revived by the law of the October 29, Freedom of dress was indeed proclaimed, but the difference between the sexes had to be respected. The end of the revolutionary period firmly established extreme gender differentiation. In , when preparatory work on the Civil Code was beginning, a police order forbade women from wearing male clothing.
Trousers not only reflected social order but, indeed, were central to it, notably by enabling the monitoring of individuals. Among their different func- tions, trousers allowed the sexual identity of the individual to be imme- diately perceptible. They created two classes of sex. Trousers were perhaps a prelude to the usurping of identity which the order sought to combat. Evidence of this is contained in the number of times they are referred to in antifeminist writing and images. Pantalons and Utopian Communities The first public protest against the implied social order created or revealed by clothing came from the socialist milieu.
In the s, French Utopian socialists engaged in a reflection on the influence of clothing on behavior. It shows a young woman wearing baggy white trousers edged with lace similar to those worn by little girls. It is an outfit which makes the woman look both childish and mannish. From onwards, his disciples elaborated a veritable protofeminist theory, though the word feminism was not yet in existence. One of them, Father Enfantin, intended to redeem the flesh and prepare the coming of the female Messiah: It was in the United States that trousers for women really appeared for the first time.
This was at the initiative of costume reformers who created an outfit including pantaloons worn under a short kneelength skirt. It was a practical solution designed to resist the influence of fashion and give women a sense of physical and spiritual well-being. They were able to turn their projects into reality in the Utopian commu- nities, such as the New Harmony society of Robert Owen from to , the members of which saw themselves as examples for the whole of society.
Because Owen was accused of advocating free love, the pantaloons he designed also bore this libertine connotation. They were not imitated and did not travel beyond the confines of the community. They appeared again later, in , in the community founded at Oneida in the state of New York by John Humphrey Noyes: This new experience showed that trousers were not intrinsi- cally radical because the new outfit was intended to allow women to break with the secular world, to arouse a spiritual awakening in them and to purge them of their desires for vanity. With their short hair and pantaloons, Perfectionist women looked younger and, one might argue, more virginal.
Officially, the idea was to protect men from their sexual desires and to control women. This was not necessarily in contradiction with the liberal sexual morality that operated in the community, which authorized contraception by means of masculine withdrawal. There was no question that male dress might be reformed in the similar way: George Sand — incarnated this rebellion, as did other literary female figures and artists who sometimes also used male pseudonyms.
It was again from the United States that a proposal came for femi- nist pantaloons which bore the name of their creator. In , the New Yorker Amelia Bloomer proposed a rational female outfit. This was the first time that trousers were used as a political symbol in the defiance of masculine domination.
Their invention inspired cartoonists throughout Europe. Above all else, they represented a reversal of roles. Bloomers were doubly condemned as being licentious and as making women look masculine: French women changed the clothing they wore on the upper part of their bodies, American women changed what they wore on the lower part. Trousers of any kind remained a complete taboo for French women. Women from privileged social classes wore crinolines and corsets while bourgeois men wore simple and austere suits.
Men appeared to reject the very concept of fashion, which was then associated with femi- ninity, and hence deny the eroticization of their appearance. The persis- tence of strictly gendered clothing in feminist circles must be placed in this context. Most feminist women showed themselves to be profoundly attached to gendered differentiation in fashion.
In the following generation, Hubertine Auclert — adopted a more balanced approach. She was one of the first to develop a polit- ical analysis of the changed male clothing practices that had occurred since the French Revolution, and exhorted women to follow suit: Born into poverty in Paris in the early years of the Third Republic, she was the first woman to be allowed entry into an internship in a mental asylum, she engaged in numerous struggles, she was an extreme-left militant wavering between anarchy and revolutionary socialism, and she was an apostle for integral feminism.
She piloted all of these struggles through the writing of many works. But the viril- ization of women remained extremely marginal on a political level. It was overridden by a strongly imagined difference between the sexes and the idea of a woman in trousers as a veritable threat to the social order. Feminists tended to interiorize that concern completely: What were women who dressed as men looking for? As Julie Wheel- wright has clearly shown, they were looking for happiness and freedom but also for adventure.
They also offered audacious women the protection of closed apparel. The young woman featured on a bawdy postcard evokes the protec- tive advantages of closed underwear culottes in French: Intimate clothing became more masculine, signaling other changes of this type to come. The modern girl offended and excited because she acted like a man.
She benefited from the same moral freedoms and cherished her individual autonomy. This fashionable image, which was exploited by novelists and moral- ists, partly reflected real changes in gendered styles. However, it would be an exaggeration to see it, in the manner of some contemporaries, as a triumph for virile women.
This was not very surprising. The cries of horror provoked by the under- mining of femininity suggest that a more complex network of meanings was at play than merely the assumption of fashion norms. The codes of femininity were indeed fused with the codes of heterosexual attraction.
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Therefore, when these codes were challenged, it was automatically assumed to reflect what was then called sexual inversion. This transgression was spontaneously seen as feminist. Lesbophobia was a source of antifeminist inspiration and also a source of embarrassment for the feminists. Toward the Legitimization of Trousers In the twentieth century, trousers as they were now categorically known became an item of clothing for both sexes.
Their legitimacy for women was the result of several influences which encouraged each other reciprocally. It is impossible to say which one predominated but it can be affirmed that the convergence of the different factors had an eman- cipating effect. The influence of feminism has already been underlined: In The Second Sex , Simone de Beauvoir clearly understood the political impor- tance of trousers.
Le Pantalon 87 Nothing is less natural than dressing as a woman; masculine clothing is undoubtedly also an artifice but it is more comfortable and simpler, it is designed to favor action instead of hindering it; George Sand and Isabelle Eberhardt dressed in male attire; in her last book, Thyde Monnier talks about her partiality to wearing trousers; all active women like flat heels and strong fabrics. A feminist rereading of history had begun. This political flavor of female trousers was also a source of inspiration for modernist trends in fashion.
Paul Poiret was the first to revise fasion conceptions of feminine shape by removing the corset from his models, by dressing them in breeches, and even daring to present some models wearing culottes and male accessories. In the s, the flapper with short hair and a spindly shape made androgyny fashionable.
However, it was not until the end of the s that trousers could be seen and they were mostly confined to the beach and the mountains.
They were also worn, however, in certain circumstances and in certain surround- ings lesbian nightclubs for example. They were definitively ennobled by the way in which the androgynous stars of the s used them: Garbo, Dietrich, and Hepburn. Aesthetic perceptions and morals changed but trousers had not yet managed to impose themselves. They were still associated with manual work. Postcards from the beginning of the century showed them on woman carrying out traditional jobs, such as shepherding or oyster fishing; new jobs, such as carpentry; or temporary jobs, such as those found in munitions factories.
The wars reduced sex-distinctive dressing; the moral climate produced a stricter and less-frivolous look for women and made uniforms for soldiers or nurses fashionable.
This ended up with the adoption of shorts and trousers. After liberation, the American influence played a decisive role. Sporting pedal pushers in the summer of , Brigitte Bardot provided the ultimate proof of how trousers had become cultur- ally acceptable. From onwards, more trousers were sold than skirts. However, it was still possible to find older women who had never worn trousers in their lives and who believed that female trousers looked very bad indeed, without being able to explain why.
Amongst young people in the s, the miniskirt accompanied the success of trousers both in the street and in fashion parades. For students, May meant wearing jeans, thus breaking the rule which forbade trousers in school, and it also meant being able to run fast when the riot police charged. For a few years yet, trousers would continue to be audacious and anticonformist in certain circles. In , a Communist deputy was turned away from the National Assembly because the porters forbade trousers on women.
Trousers only won out when they became more feminine. They were very rarely unisex. They became acceptable as a result of a symbolic resignification of modernity and compatibility with female activities together with the creation of a formal difference with male trousers in fabric, color, and cut. This is exactly the same process of resignification and feminization which can be observed when women enter hitherto masculine domains in the political or professional field. Le Pantalon 89 An Obsolete but Still Existing Order At the beginning of the twentieth century, the ban on women dressing as men was still part of the police code, though it was believed that the order had become obsolete.
For this reason, in , the sports champion Violette Morris believed it to be her right to lodge a complaint against the French female sports federation which wished, amongst other things, to forbid her to wear trousers. The former believed that trousers represented the future in clothing for the modern woman, while the latter supported their case— somewhat surprisingly—by reference to the ban of Violette Morris lost her case.
Reading between the lines in the newspaper articles, it is the transgression of sexual norms symbolized by the wearing of trousers which is suggested: The defeat of the sportswoman at the dawn of the s was a harbinger, in its own way, of the major conservative turning point which preceded the Second World War. The order was more or less forgotten about. But rules still existed banning the female sex from wearing trousers.
In schools, girls could only wear them under a skirt during very cold periods in winter. They were not welcome in places of worship. Priests assumed the right to refuse communion to females wearing them. In many private companies, female clothing, which might sometimes be a uniform, neces- sarily included a skirt. The easing and, in some cases, the disappearance of this ban was a result of May The mandatory skirt was carried away by the great wave of protest at that time, the rejection of bourgeois norms, of conformity, and of uniformity.
In , the order resurfaced in political debate: This ban, which was designed to ensure that the audience's view would not be impaired, forbade women from wearing hats in the theater. Apart from his clear personal preference for women in skirts, he believes his refusal was above all due to the antipathy he felt for Bernard Lafay.
While the country was in the middle of a debate on the Islamic headscarf, the reminder of this ban on trousers for women did not go unnoticed and news of it traveled as far as the Arab world. Finally, using discus- sion groups on the Internet, many young people exchanged views on the question, which very quickly turned toward the right of men to wear skirts.
The Question of the Skirt: For one out of eight, this had been of a sexual nature. This was established by a survey carried out among one thousand six hundred girls aged from eighteen to twenty-one and living, working, or studying in this area. Having recourse to protective trousers is, today, far from limited to young women in communities made fragile by social injustice or racism.
It has become general in secondary schools, where skirts have become the exception. Although the choice might not be as free as it seems for girls and women, it is nonexistent for boys and men. Women continue to have a monopoly on skirts. Skirts for men appeared during the s in the particular context of widespread male homosexual coming-out. Jean-Paul Gaultier, as a talented young designer, launched the skirt for men, in Its gay connotation alarmed straight men and also alienated those gay men who preferred the more stereotypical codes of virility. The internet has brought isolated individuals together.
Once again, the United States was the pioneer of this trend, which, today, has become global. Today, a shorthaired woman wearing trousers and flat shoes, wearing neither makeup nor jewelry, is no longer seen as a transvestite. As male apparel has become unisex, drag kings have to wear either false or authentic mustaches or beards in order to appear virile. The asymmetry is obvious: She dons the panoply of power. The range of possibilities for women has broadened to the extent that it has exploded the category of transvestism. This is a clear measure of the progress made. However, we have not yet arrived at equivalence.
If skirts for men were to become fashionable, they would undoubtedly serve the cause of equality between the sexes and would show that the underlying model for equality is no longer a masculine one. EHESS, , 81— This article summarises the monograph, Christine Bard, Une histoire politique du pantalon Paris: Thanks are extended to Chantal Barry, who translated material for this chapter.
Farid Chenoune, Des modes et des hommes. De la parure vestimentaire [The psychology of clothes] ; repr. Aubier, ; John Harvey, Des hommes en noir. Sylvie Steinberg, La confusion des sexes. Grogan, French Socialism and Sexual Difference: Women and the New Society, —44 London: Fischer, Pantaloons and Power. Kent University Press, Felicia Gordon, The Integral Feminist: Madeleine Pelletier, — London: Julie Wheelwright, Amazons and Military Maids. Comment elles les portent, 1st ed. Le Pantalon, une histoire en marche Paris: Maurice Grimaud, letter to author, October 20, Agence France Press, March 7, Sohane was a year old girl who was burnt alive by a year old man in the suburb where she lived in a so-called punishment attack for improper behaviour.
Brigitte Chevet, Jupe ou pantalon? Assouline, , Duke University Press, Sometimes she plays the part of a vicious queen, sometimes a strumpet, sometimes a great lady but of doubtful morality. How many of us would go to applaud her with enthusiasm, if she would at last play a pure heroin in a moral work. The theatrical columnist stated that the paper had sent the letter to the forty-two-year-old Catholic who had converted from Judaism Sarah Bernhardt — This was her published response: Finally, that delightful poet Jules Barbier has just brought me one which is magnificent. I believe I am satisfying your wishes by asking my friend Duquesnel to produce it immediately.
Moreover, I could not wait any longer. After all, I am a grandmother! Her decision to perform the role of a Catholic teenage martyr proved extremely problematic for many different factions, including conservatives, Catholics, and nationalist anti-Semites, all of whom had unanimously adopted Joan of Arc as a symbol of patriotism, manip- ulating and utilizing her likeness as visual rhetoric for their specific causes.
During this time, multiple images of Bernhardt as Joan of Arc began appearing on cabinet cards, photographs, and posters—produced in a manner, I argue, designed to quell objections to the forty-two-year- old divorcee in the role of the pious French maiden. These images fall into three groups. The first is a set of indoor photographs with Bernhardt as a feminine Joan of Arc, with long flowing hair, wearing a skirt. The second, conversely, has a masculinized Bern- hardt representing Joan with a large flag, wearing a tunic and pants, her hair in shortened bob.
Finally, Eugene Grasset created a beautiful Art Nouveau—style poster advertising the play and depicting a gender- blended figure with ambiguous hair length and accompanying iconog- raphy. As a girl, Joan claimed to hear heavenly voices commanding her to lead an army to purge the English from France and restore the rightful heir to the French throne. This illiterate, seventeen-year-old peasant girl succeeded in convincing many people of her legitimacy as the defender of France. Most importantly, she convinced the Dauphin — to supply her with an army.
Amazingly, within months she succeeded in liberating Orleans and facilitating the coronation, at Reims, of Charles VII as king of France. Joan desired to continue the fight and expel the English from all French land but Charles was content with his victory and withheld effective support. As a result, things went very badly for Joan thereafter. Without adequate reinforcements, she suffered mounting military losses and was eventually captured by the English allies in Burgundy.
Charles refused to ransom Joan and she was handed over to the English. From to , at the urging of Charles, a retrial exonerated Joan, resulting in the elimination of any suspicion that Charles acceded to the throne with the aid of a witch. Joan of Arc was only canonized in and not as a martyr but as a virgin. Joan of Arc, the embodiment of ultimate patriotic fervor and sacri- fice, the symbol that God was on the side of the French, was a perfectly malleable personification of French ideals during the tumultuous last decades of the nineteenth century.
Republicans envi- sioned Joan of Arc as a more earthly flag-waving Amazon. In the early s, posters by Eugene Grasset featuring the infamous actress Sarah Bernhardt portraying an androgynous Joan of Arc on the Paris stage were seen all over the city. These images, whether we speak of the poster, the contrasting feminized Nadar cabinet cards, or the masculinized photographs, intentionally created an image of Bernhardt as Joan of Arc which was ambiguously gendered but courted popular favor by playing both parts so elegantly that it was an alluring visualization of both iconic feminine types.
The play contained frequent allusion to it. Nationalist anti- Semites denounced Bernhardt for the effrontery of playing the revered, virginal, French Catholic icon. Central to this was the conventional French mother who, from her proper place in the home, kept the nation intact. Threatening this unity was the conspiratorial Jew. Text body is clean, and free from previous owner annotation, underlining and highlighting. Binding is tight, covers and spine fully intact. Color illustrated stiff glossy wraps with end flaps, errata sheet laid in before front free endpaper, XIX , pages, Chronology, Catalogue, Exhibitions, Literature, almost color illustrations and black-and-white documentary photographs.
While the continuity within his entire evolution is fully explored, particular attention is paid to moments of dramatic change: Almost half of Mondrian's finished canvases from the s and s are presented in sequence for the first time. Emphasis on Mondrian's pictorial development also involves an emphasis on his working process.
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