On Jul 29, 2012, at 8:46 AM, Catherine Olanich Raymond wrote:
>> Heather Rose Jones wrote:
>>> They found a pair of underpants. I have yet to see any sound reason for
>>> identifying them as _women's_ underpants.** Nevertheless, OMG we have a
>>> surviving pair of medieval underpants!
>>> **There are excellent reasons for strongly doubting that they are women's
>>> underpants, but let's just leave it at that for the moment.
> What reasons are those? We know more about men's underpants from
> artwork, and they look more like modern tighty-whiteys than anything
> else, and not like these underpants.
I forget whether the topic has been covered on this list since my post. (The discussion has been going on in parallel on at least a dozen different lists and forums that I frequent.) The very short version is:
* This exact style of underpants can be seen worn by men in 15th c. German contexts.
* There is extensive evidence both from art and text sources indicating that medieval Europeans (and by "medieval" I mean pre-16th century) considered underpants to be such a definitively masculine garment that they were used symbolically to represent women usurping masculine authority and status by wearing them. _Every_ artistic depiction I've found (or had pointed out to me) from medieval Europe that portrays women wearing or in the act of putting on underpants is in a context that is specifically depicting the woman either masquerading as a man or usurping masculine authority. The image depicted here:
is typical of the genre. Underpants-wearing women could not be such a consistent and powerful symbol of transgression if underpants were an ordinary, everyday female garment.