Rogers-Smith, Georgia (2020) Ambiguous or Ambisextrous? Exploring dress, gender and the fashioning of masculine femininity in the ‘long nineteenth century’. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis is concerned with the presence of dress, gender and self-identity in the long nineteenth-century(1780-1910). It presents three case studies, including the Ladies of Llangollen, Anne Lister and Bessie Bonehill, to explore the role of dress and costume in constructing identities of masculine femininity. It further analyses contemporary perceptions of these masculinities, thus offering a new understanding of dress and gender in this period. This thesis is the first to bring these women together, and presents a dresscentred analysis, from a perspective which they have not been considered before. While the debate between dress and gender is prominent in modern fashion studies, it has been a huge debate of the past also, with a running dialogue between the themes. This research presents a new overview and offers a historical analysis into the important contemporary debate.

These three case studies were chosen, over a multitude of others, due to the vast array of available sources of them. While there is much knowledge of other women with masculine identities in this period, their legacy does not stand as strong. These women were not ordinary women; they predominantly came from status and wealth, and defied the prescribed roles for women of the middle and upper-classes. Their privilege did not protect them from scrutiny, which raises the question as to what happened to masculine women of lower social classes.

FINAL THESIS - Rogers-Smith.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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