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RE: [Authentic_SCA] Re:Cross dressing, lesbians and the law

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  • ahelou
    ... It doesn t need to be embarrassing to anyone if it s played subtly and honestly - or, perhaps, not even played at all. We all know the old stereotype of
    Message 1 of 24 , Jul 31, 2003
      >===== Original Message From "Leah A. Montgomery" <mog_bane@...> =====
      >On a sidenote: With all this discussion of lesbianism in the past, I'm
      >begining to wonder if that might not be why my persona has been single for
      >her entire life (35 years), inherited her business from her father, and been
      >willing to wander the world for the past 15+ years!? And how would I, as a
      >straight woman, begin to even imagine being able to play such a persona
      >without making a serious *ss out of herself and embarassing herself and
      >every single gay woman out there!? Something I am seriously considering.

      It doesn't need to be embarrassing to anyone if it's played subtly and
      honestly - or, perhaps, not even "played" at all. We all know the old
      stereotype of silly persona stories...some tells you their whole life history
      in the first three minutes you meet them. Some things, like religion,
      nationality, or your favorite song are non-private ways of identifying
      oneself, and can come out openly in a first meeting. Sexuality, on the other
      hand, tends to be deeply personal and private - and even though we might in
      modern times be more frank about discussing it, how would it have been
      described, if at all, during the period we recreate? As someone pointed out
      earlier, I think it was Katherine, different lifestyles were acknowledged and
      hinted at but rarely discussed publicly. You don't need to "play" such an
      intimate part of your story to an audience. Just let it be part of your
      background, let yourself act on it naturally and spontaneously. I know that's
      much easier to say than to do, but it's an interesting challenge.

      For mine own part, while we're sharing <g>: my persona is in nearly every way
      an extension of my modern self. A woman of letters, a musician, possessed of
      a scientific curiosity about the natural world, a gourmet and gourmande, and
      someone with an eye for fine artwork and craftsmanship - loves beautiful
      clothes, just wish I could make them myself! ;-p The key difference, however,
      is that Vittoria makes her living as a courtesan, while the modern me is
      frequently (and deservedly!) teased for being a prude. However, in plays and
      operas, the role I find myself drawn to is always the coquette, the flirt, or
      the fallen woman. This year I even got to play Mary Magdalen for my medieval
      drama class...in a beautiful mid-16th c. English saint's play. (It was cool.
      We even used historic pronunciation. ;) So, when it came to choosing a
      persona, it seemed like a fun idea to pursue that sort of character...besides,
      I could think of no other way, at the time, to explain my existence as a
      seventeen-year-old girl of independent means. But aside from the occasional
      joking and teasing among friends, I don't "play" a courtesan in any obvious
      way. Those who know me, know, and those who don't, don't need to. It's been
      said that the "cortigiane oneste" could not be told apart from noblewomen, and
      I always try to keep that in mind. I also think, though, that I may "retire"
      that aspect of the persona eventually - it's not usually something one keeps
      up forever.


      Ariane
    • kwalys
      Lesbianism wasn t outlawed in some countries with severe anti-same- sex-relations laws. Men being with men was well-known thanks to the Old Testament, and
      Message 2 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
        Lesbianism wasn't outlawed in some countries with severe anti-same-
        sex-relations laws. Men being with men was well-known thanks to the
        Old Testament, and also male writers wrote for and against it. Fewer
        women had the opportunity to publish their work, let alone discuss
        lesbianism. It wasn't thought of much by people at all even though
        lesbians pop up here and there throughout literature and historical
        records.

        There's a tale which is probably a bit of a myth but interesting just
        the same. When anti-lesbianism laws were drawn up in 19th century
        Britain, Queen Victoria's supposed to have objected to the very idea
        that women could be capable of it.

        My (male!) friend did this for his dissertation at Uni, I'm just
        remembering random bits of it. Alys xxx
      • Kirrily Robert
        ... I think it s like what was discussed for religious personae a while ago. If you do it with respect, then anyone who has a problem with it is *their*
        Message 3 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
          Leah wrote:
          > On a sidenote: With all this discussion of lesbianism in the past, I'm
          > begining to wonder if that might not be why my persona has been single for
          > her entire life (35 years), inherited her business from her father, and been
          > willing to wander the world for the past 15+ years!? And how would I, as a
          > straight woman, begin to even imagine being able to play such a persona
          > without making a serious *ss out of herself and embarassing herself and
          > every single gay woman out there!? Something I am seriously considering.

          I think it's like what was discussed for religious personae a while ago.
          If you do it with respect, then anyone who has a problem with it is
          *their* problem, not yours.

          Yours,

          Katherine

          --
          Lady Katherine Rowberd (mka Kirrily "Skud" Robert)
          katherine@... http://infotrope.net/sca/
          Caldrithig, Skraeling Althing, Ealdormere
          "The rose is red, the leaves are grene, God save Elizabeth our Queene"
        • Kirrily Robert
          ... *snerk* Tell me, did we meet, or perhaps not-quite-meet, at the Cooks and Bards collegium last October? Your name rings a faint bell but I m not sure
          Message 4 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
            Agnese wrote:
            > if only to disconsert the Ealdormerian men.
            > ..which doesn't take much...

            *snerk*

            Tell me, did we meet, or perhaps not-quite-meet, at the Cooks and Bards
            collegium last October? Your name rings a faint bell but I'm not sure
            whether we've met or not.

            Yours,

            Katherine

            --
            Lady Katherine Rowberd (mka Kirrily "Skud" Robert)
            katherine@... http://infotrope.net/sca/
            Caldrithig, Skraeling Althing, Ealdormere
            "The rose is red, the leaves are grene, God save Elizabeth our Queene"
          • hasoferet@aol.com
            In a message dated 7/31/2003 11:41:28 PM Pacific Standard Time, ... Wait until you re elderly...say twenty-five or so...and marry a dashing widower with a
            Message 5 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
              In a message dated 7/31/2003 11:41:28 PM Pacific Standard Time,
              ahelou@... writes:


              > I also think, though, that I may "retire"
              > that aspect of the persona eventually - it's not usually something one keeps
              >
              > up forever.
              >

              Wait until you're elderly...say twenty-five or so...and marry a dashing
              widower with a beautiful library housed a country villa?

              Raquel


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • hasoferet@aol.com
              In a message dated 8/1/2003 7:25:20 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... On the other hand, the Cairo Geniza has documents covering the life of a strong-minded
              Message 6 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
                In a message dated 8/1/2003 7:25:20 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                kmaitland@... writes:


                > Very possible, but it is just as likely that the men in your persona's life
                > could not handle a strong independent woman. LOL. Now that I think of it, I
                > do not recall in my research and reading any of the Black businesswomen of
                > late period Spain (and mid-period Egypt) being married either.

                On the other hand, the Cairo Geniza has documents covering the life of a
                strong-minded businesswoman named Wuhsha who seems to at least have had a
                gentleman in her life, and I seem to recall that the Prophet Mohammed's first wife was
                intitally his boss. I think a successful business woman can generally find a
                husband if she wants one. ;)

                Raquel


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Leah A. Montgomery
                ... And after talking it through with my husband last night, I realized that I could just play her as if she has been like this all along, without making any
                Message 7 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
                  >It doesn't need to be embarrassing to anyone if it's played subtly and
                  >honestly - or, perhaps, not even "played" at all.

                  And after talking it through with my husband last night, I realized that I
                  could just play her as if she has been like this all along, without making
                  any changes to her at all. The two big things are that she has never been in
                  a relationship with a man, and she is always around women and her friends
                  are women. This may not seem to big considering the era that we are playing,
                  but she is a world wise character and not all places in the world are female
                  backwards, including her own home, where if a woman obviously isn't going to
                  do the normal thing of marriage home kids, she's frequently accepted as 'one
                  of the boys' so to speak. So I make no changes to her at all, and continue
                  to play her as I have been.




                  Leah A. Montgomery
                  SCA: Safia bint Wahib al Marakeshi called Samira
                  Head of Byat Al Viola Hirrar
                  Bryn Gwlad, Ansteorra (Austin, TX)
                  mog_bane@...

                  _________________________________________________________________
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                • ahelou
                  ... Yeah, that s the general idea . Vittoria
                  Message 8 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
                    >===== Original Message From hasoferet@... =====
                    >Wait until you're elderly...say twenty-five or so...and marry a dashing
                    >widower with a beautiful library housed a country villa?
                    >
                    >Raquel

                    Yeah, that's the general idea <g>.


                    Vittoria
                  • Heather Rose Jones
                    ... If a woman is looking for historic contexts in which to be unmarried, I think there are a lot more obvious ones than lesbianism. For several years I ve
                    Message 9 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
                      > >===== Original Message From "Leah A. Montgomery"
                      ><mog_bane@...> =====
                      >>On a sidenote: With all this discussion of lesbianism in the past, I'm
                      >>begining to wonder if that might not be why my persona has been single for
                      >>her entire life (35 years), inherited her business from her father, and been
                      >>willing to wander the world for the past 15+ years!? And how would I, as a
                      >>straight woman, begin to even imagine being able to play such a persona
                      >>without making a serious *ss out of herself and embarassing herself and
                      > >every single gay woman out there!? Something I am seriously considering.

                      If a woman is looking for historic contexts in which to be unmarried,
                      I think there are a lot more obvious ones than lesbianism. For
                      several years I've been promoting the book:

                      Bennett, Judith M. & Amy M. Froide eds.. 1999. Singlewomen in the
                      European Past 1250-1800. Univerisy of Pennsylvania Press,
                      Philadelphia. ISBN 0-8122-1668-7

                      This collection of papers addresses issues around single women (by
                      various definitions) in a wide variety of cultures, eras and
                      contexts. If there is a single take-home message, it's that no valid
                      generalizations can be made across Europe and across the centuries
                      about what women did or did not do with regard to marriage or the
                      lack thereof.

                      It's a great book for disabusing oneself of a lot of the myths and
                      "common knowledge) around the subject (e.g., expected age of
                      marriage, proportion of non-married women at various life stages,
                      economic options for unmarried women). And the book was recently
                      listed in the UPenn book catalog at a drastically reduced price, so
                      there's no excuse for anyone not to buy a copy!

                      Oh, and note that one of the editors is the Judith Bennett whose name
                      has come up previously in this thread. She is a goddess among
                      historians. I worship at her feet.

                      Tangwystyl
                      --
                      *****
                      Heather Rose Jones
                      hrjones@...
                      *****
                    • Kristine Maitland
                      Very possible, but it is just as likely that the men in your persona s life could not handle a strong independent woman. LOL. Now that I think of it, I do not
                      Message 10 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
                        Very possible, but it is just as likely that the men in your persona's life could not handle a strong independent woman. LOL. Now that I think of it, I do not recall in my research and reading any of the Black businesswomen of late period Spain (and mid-period Egypt) being married either.

                        The more things change... grin

                        I wouldn't worry about it Safia -- I'm queer (bi, if you wanna get technical) and I've being playing a straight persona for over a decade. I played a courtesan for 7 yrs (and I'm thinking of going back to it), if only to disconsert the Ealdormerian men.

                        ...which doesn't take much...

                        in service

                        Agnese "Inez" Rusconi
                        Historian for the Barony of Ben Dunfirth
                        Ealdormere

                        mundanely:
                        Kristine Maitland
                        Researcher of alternative histories
                        www.kmaitland.ca


                        -----
                        On a sidenote: With all this discussion of lesbianism in the past, I'm
                        begining to wonder if that might not be why my persona has been single for
                        her entire life (35 years), inherited her business from her father, and been
                        willing to wander the world for the past 15+ years!? And how would I, as a
                        straight woman, begin to even imagine being able to play such a persona
                        without making a serious *ss out of herself and embarassing herself and
                        every single gay woman out there!? Something I am seriously considering.


                        Leah A. Montgomery
                        SCA: Safia bint Wahib al Marakeshi called Samira
                        Head of Byat Al Viola Hirrar
                        Bryn Gwlad, Ansteorra (Austin, TX)
                        mog_bane@...

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Jan C. Lane
                        With all this discussion of lesbianism in the past, I m beginning to wonder if that might not be why my persona has been single for her entire life (35
                        Message 11 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                          "With all this discussion of lesbianism in the past, I'm beginning to wonder
                          if that might not be why my persona has been single for her entire life (35
                          years), inherited her business from her father, and been willing to wander
                          the world for the past 15+ years!?"

                          It's a good thing to remember that sexuality, like many other things in
                          life, isn't a black and white issue. We have those who are exclusively
                          homosexual at one end and those who are exclusively heterosexual at the
                          other and those who are truly bisexual in the middle. By "exclusively", I
                          mean that these persons have never had sexual experiences or desires other
                          than those of their orientation. However, there's a whole lot of room
                          in-between the exclusives.

                          Now, the definitions rely on both sexual desire and sexual practice. A
                          woman who has never married may not be homosexual at all. The same can be
                          said of a man. Perhaps she has never met a man whom she felt was worthy of
                          her. Perhaps her goals lie in other directions. After all, she's
                          financially independent and may not want children. Perhaps the thought of
                          sexual intimacy in any form is frightening. Perhaps she's simply not
                          interested in sex with anyone, male or female. In other words, there are
                          many reasons why people don't marry, and sexual orientation isn't the only
                          one. :)

                          In service,

                          Jannifer
                        • Jehan du Lac
                          You have said well, madame. There are many reasons not to marry. My brother Anne is one such. As a minister of the Reform he is not constrained to celibacy
                          Message 12 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                            You have said well, madame. There are many reasons not to marry. My
                            brother Anne is one such. As a minister of the Reform he is not
                            constrained to celibacy like a papist, but he prefereth the comfort of
                            his Greek and Hebrew texts and as to heirs I consider that he regardeth
                            those he hath taught at Strasbourg, Geneva, and Saumur as his children
                            in some fashion. But I do not think he useth those habits well-known
                            amongst schoolmasters, though he be firm with the rod. Mr. Knowlton's
                            opinion that no woman would have him should be disregarded as he is no
                            good judge of that. And amongst the country people where I dwell many
                            of their daughters go into service in the towns, many hoping thereby to
                            earn their dowries, but not all doe and so many remain single and many
                            sons are constrained to remain boys all their life for fear of dividing
                            the patrimony of the family and indeed such concern is shown as well
                            amongst the noblesse, who are possessed of more and the more jealous to
                            guard it, not spending the family heritage on dowries and jointures and
                            the like unless there is benefit to be gained and in Italy I have heard
                            many of the daughters are sent into convents to save the family the
                            expense, to the girls' great displeasure. In my own family being the
                            youngest son I was forced to find my own way with little property as
                            many Gascons do, some to great glory like M. de Monluc but many more to
                            be wasted on the fields of war, and as we all know one cannot support a
                            wife without the wherewithal to keep a house, whether amongst the menu
                            peuple or the artisans or the noblesse, and so I chose a wife late in
                            my life and lost her to the hazards all womankind are prone to,
                            although in my youth I did take my comfort with those sorts that follow
                            the camp and used them not ill for even in difficult times I did
                            provide for such issue as I had of them and now these days doe most
                            take comfort with mon sien compagnon for though he is English we share
                            a soul as did my late neighbor M. de Montaigne and his great friend La
                            Boetie even as he hath written in his great booke, and for now I am
                            content although my sister doth ever connive to find me a new wife and
                            hath even searched one out for Mr. Knowlton although he liketh none so
                            far.

                            Jehan


                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Jan C. Lane" <jclane@...>
                            Date: Sunday, August 3, 2003 10:38 am
                            Subject: RE: [Authentic_SCA] Re:Cross dressing, lesbians and the law

                            > "With all this discussion of lesbianism in the past, I'm beginning
                            > to wonder
                            > if that might not be why my persona has been single for her entire
                            > life (35
                            > years), inherited her business from her father, and been willing
                            > to wander
                            > the world for the past 15+ years!?"
                            >
                            > It's a good thing to remember that sexuality, like many other
                            > things in
                            > life, isn't a black and white issue. We have those who are
                            > exclusivelyhomosexual at one end and those who are exclusively
                            > heterosexual at the
                            > other and those who are truly bisexual in the middle. By
                            > "exclusively", I
                            > mean that these persons have never had sexual experiences or
                            > desires other
                            > than those of their orientation. However, there's a whole lot of room
                            > in-between the exclusives.
                            >
                            > Now, the definitions rely on both sexual desire and sexual
                            > practice. A
                            > woman who has never married may not be homosexual at all. The
                            > same can be
                            > said of a man. Perhaps she has never met a man whom she felt was
                            > worthy of
                            > her. Perhaps her goals lie in other directions. After all, she's
                            > financially independent and may not want children. Perhaps the
                            > thought of
                            > sexual intimacy in any form is frightening. Perhaps she's simply not
                            > interested in sex with anyone, male or female. In other words,
                            > there are
                            > many reasons why people don't marry, and sexual orientation isn't
                            > the only
                            > one. :)
                            >
                            > In service,
                            >
                            > Jannifer
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
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                          • ahelou
                            ... Maitre Jehan, If you will forgive my impertinence for joining this conversation uninvited, allow me to say that, if you were indeed the neighbor of M. de
                            Message 13 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                              >===== Original Message From Jehan du Lac <baronjehan@...> =====
                              > for even in difficult times I did
                              >provide for such issue as I had of them and now these days doe most
                              >take comfort with mon sien compagnon for though he is English we share
                              >a soul as did my late neighbor M. de Montaigne and his great friend La
                              >Boetie even as he hath written in his great booke, ...
                              >Jehan

                              Maitre Jehan,

                              If you will forgive my impertinence for joining this conversation uninvited,
                              allow me to say that, if you were indeed the neighbor of M. de Montaigne, you
                              must count yourself among the most fortunate men in France! It is only a few
                              months ago that I first had the pleasure of reading his essays, and those on
                              education I most particularly enjoyed. I have often wished to travel into
                              France (and travel, as M. de Montaigne advises, is a necessary part of the
                              best educations), for I greatly love the language, which, though not so
                              beautiful as my native Tuscan, is yet an elegant one, and I flatter myself
                              that I speak it not without some accuracy and grace; yet more than that,
                              France has in the last century produced so many great poets and philosophers,
                              that I would wish above all for the opportunity to become acquainted with
                              them. Florence does not lack in philosophers nor in scholars, but that the
                              ones I most admire should live elsewhere is a constant disappointment.


                              Vittoria
                            • Jehan du Lac
                              I have indeed visited with M. de Montaigne in his chateau and he was a most amiable fellow, although grievously afflicted with the stone. He hath a tower for
                              Message 14 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                                I have indeed visited with M. de Montaigne in his chateau and he was a
                                most amiable fellow, although grievously afflicted with the stone. He
                                hath a tower for his study and contemplation which is most pleasant
                                filled with more books than e'er I have seen in one place (or he did,
                                his wife and daughter having no use for that great library nowadays).
                                He did the king my master much good service and was well-enough
                                esteemed hereabouts that his goods and property were largely unmolested
                                during the late wars, though he be a Catholic. As to philosophy, my
                                Latin is not good and so I avoid it, my bible and psalter in the French
                                tongue being largely sufficient for me in the matter of books, although
                                I do have a great pleasure in the news and will spend a few sous when
                                the colporteur doth come by with his wares, but I confess that when M.
                                de Montaigne's book was put on sale in Bordeaux I did spend a fair bit
                                to have it bound for it did amaze me to be acquainted with one that
                                hath written such a book, and yet it had no great matter in it at all,
                                as it were, being but his own musings within himself, as if one were to
                                his closet with a bit of wine after dinner, and though he be now
                                deceased I do take some pleasure to read from his book a little and
                                hear his voice. I was much taken with his recounting of the matter of
                                the cannibals. He did ever mourn for La Boetie, though he made little
                                conversation of it with his neighbors and it is only in reading his
                                book that I heard his cry for his lost friend and so I have wondered if
                                he did but write it to find another such in this world. I do not
                                particularly know Mlle. de Gournay, his fille d'alliance, but I have no
                                doubt, gracious lady, that you would be another such to him were he
                                still living to have your acquaintance.

                                Jehan

                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: ahelou <ahelou@...>
                                Date: Sunday, August 3, 2003 6:31 pm
                                Subject: RE: [Authentic_SCA] Re:Cross dressing, lesbians and the law

                                > >===== Original Message From Jehan du Lac <baronjehan@...>
                                > =====> for even in difficult times I did
                                > >provide for such issue as I had of them and now these days doe most
                                > >take comfort with mon sien compagnon for though he is English we
                                > share>a soul as did my late neighbor M. de Montaigne and his great
                                > friend La
                                > >Boetie even as he hath written in his great booke, ...
                                > >Jehan
                                >
                                > Maitre Jehan,
                                >
                                > If you will forgive my impertinence for joining this conversation
                                > uninvited,
                                > allow me to say that, if you were indeed the neighbor of M. de
                                > Montaigne, you
                                > must count yourself among the most fortunate men in France! It is
                                > only a few
                                > months ago that I first had the pleasure of reading his essays,
                                > and those on
                                > education I most particularly enjoyed. I have often wished to
                                > travel into
                                > France (and travel, as M. de Montaigne advises, is a necessary
                                > part of the
                                > best educations), for I greatly love the language, which, though
                                > not so
                                > beautiful as my native Tuscan, is yet an elegant one, and I
                                > flatter myself
                                > that I speak it not without some accuracy and grace; yet more than
                                > that,
                                > France has in the last century produced so many great poets and
                                > philosophers,
                                > that I would wish above all for the opportunity to become
                                > acquainted with
                                > them. Florence does not lack in philosophers nor in scholars, but
                                > that the
                                > ones I most admire should live elsewhere is a constant disappointment.
                                >
                                >
                                > Vittoria
                                >
                                >
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