Showing posts with label Re Dressing Americas Past. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Re Dressing Americas Past. Show all posts

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cross Dressing in the Old West

Being the "historical" not "hysterical" (most of the time) I am, I've heard of this book but never really read a review.
It's called Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past by Peter Boag.
Here's a bit of the review from Terri Schlichenmeyer:

 "For women, the frontier was a man's world. There was adventure and prosperity there, and becoming a man as much as possible was a way to seize opportunity. Safety was another reason for appearing masculine, cross-dressing could be scandalous fun, and it could help escape punishment for criminal behavior. There were also women who believed themselves to be boys from birth. For smooth-faced men, it was common to dress as women for dances and parties because biological women were scarce. Men impersonated women to entertain others. In some Native American communities, "berdaches" were encouraged to embrace femininity. Like some women, males took on girlish appearances to escape crime, and then there were the men who simply wanted to "be" women. But for those men, and their female counterparts, life wasn't easy. Being arrested for the "crime" of wearing clothes for the opposite sex was common and cross-dressers were often shunned. Interestingly, however, their partners (usually same-sex) were generally socially accepted. Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past is good, but long. Boag offers lots of excellent examples to back up his reasoning behind why these stories are largely hidden from history, and what he found will set western fans (not to mention screenwriters) on their ears. This is fascinating stuff, on many levels. And yet, the book has its distractions. It's very scholarly and often reads like a dissertation, which occasionally makes it hard to read if you're just looking for a peek at hidden history and not a lecture. That aside, because it uncovers a wealth of stories that are overdue for telling, I liked "Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past" and I think you will, too. If you're a Western History buff especially, you need to outfit yourself with this book soon."

It's a little pricey in today's world of E-books. Read more of the review here.