Male Cross-Dressing in Early Modern England

In today’s social context, cross-dressing has become a pretty common practice and accepted across both genders and everyone in between… for the most part. Cross-dressing finds its place among the theatrical glamorous head-to-toe transformation of your local drag-queen, or in a practical setting with men wearing female skinny jeans for the fit–I’m not kidding on that. Cross-dressing as in “adopt[ing] specific items of clothing associated with the opposite sex… has, of course, become so widespread that certain items of dress are no longer identified as exclusive to one sex” (Sedinger 64). However, for people living in Early Modern England (1500-1800), the act of cross-dressing caused mouths to widen, heads to spin, eyebrows to raise, and others fear it raised some other things…

Cross-dressing in Early Modern England was complex on and off the stage and sparked controversy and confusion in the meaning of its practice, and even more so, the meaning of self-identity and sexuality. A lot of those issues are still around today, maybe in the same intensity. Click on a body part to further get an inside look on Male Cross-dressing in Early Modern England.  

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Girl web 3-hair
Girl web 4-chest Boy web 4-chest
Girl web 5-eyes Boy web 5-eyes
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Girl web 6-hips Boy web 6-hips
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Content and original drawings by: Brittany Osaseri