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In the first half of Female Husbands, we see people like James Gray who were celebrated for dressing and acting like a man to fight in the military. Gray's story and how they were treated by the public after being outed is very different to the other female husbands that are featured in this first half. Gray's story shows that as long as a woman is dressing and acting like a man for patriotic reasons, then it is acceptable to the public. This reinforces ideas of masculinity and how its admirable when women try to mimic men in this sort of scenario. –Olivia Foster

In the second half of the book, we see how the existence of female husbands begins to be seen as a threat to cis men's visions of masculinity. We witness the immersion of an anti-cross dressing law in the US and an over surveillance of prostitution. Female husbands threaten the ideas of western masculinity, and make them fall into a unique category –Olivia Foster

I found this reading to be quite interesting how these “female husbands” were looked at the time. I also found it interesting how they way that they dressed and their sexual orientation were seen as one and the same. -Deon Satchell

The women's rights movement also included the right of attire, which allowed women to dress however they wanted. Women went around in non-female attire but weren't necessarily female husbands. Most female husbands either did not have parents or ran away from them. Being married to a wife was key to the masculinity of female husbands. A law was passed that women who married female husbands were still subject to their husband's authority. - Zack Dutke

At the start of the second half of the book Manion highlights the conflicting ideas on how to categorize cross-dressing and gender roles. There was concern that associating the concerns of cross-dressing within the women’s right movement would muddy the discussion and blur the line between men and women. -Savannah Alexander

While reading the second half of the book, Manion uses a tone and language that address female husbands and people that are transgender. When referring to trans people, he uses the terms “trans gendering” and “trans gendered” and things like that. The way that people during the 19th century viewed referred to cross-dressers compared to now. -Anna McCandless

Once the story of John Smith and his wife Donelly proved that Smith was indeed a cross-dresser and female husband, many around them were against this ideal and extremely offensive while getting arrested. Although, since there were no laws against same-sex relationships or cross-dressing, Smith was let go as officials recalled no such code restraining him. This was one of the many stories of female husbands in the 19th century, and it kickstarted the idea and commonality of same-sex marriages. -Anna McCandless

Many people thought that cross-dressing and the action of allowing female husbands within society were shut down immediately because cis-gendered men were offended by women trying to become men. Cis-men also were afraid of women doing male-dominated jobs because those women would “develop male brains.” This way of thinking caused many to hate the idea of female husbands throughout the 19th century. -Anna McCandless

For my 471 History class, this was one of the books that were required for reading this semester. In particular, James Howe and Charles Hamilton were two characters I were struck by due to not only their scenario but the surrounding and supporting characters. Especially James Howe's wife and who helped him manage their tavern together. In certain scenarios involving intersex and transgender individuals, the supporting characters can be the difference between survival and criminality. - Daniel Childers

One of the takeaways from this book was the aspect of mobility being central to the individual's survival. Especially sailors which I was fascinated by because of the notions of close proximity and zero privacy. In actuality, that is an appealing characteristic for female husbands to survive. Sometimes these ideas of limited privacy and close quarters can be easier to thrive and survive in, even at times live normally. - Daniel Childers

James Gray was one of the female husbands mentioned and their story is telling at how military service can supersede and diminish prejudice. While not always and not by everyone, in my other class and this class as well, we've seen this aspect of military service as a bridge to being respected and viewed as honorable. What is about military service that holds such a high respect? Patriotism for sure, but giving yourself to a cause bigger than you says a lot about your character, and can be in turn, respected and revered for. - Daniel Childers

Charles Hamilton is one of the first female husbands that we are introduced to in Manion's book. Their marriage with Mary Price is one that particularly stood out, because of their court case. “What seemed of greatest concern was Hamilton's sexual savvy in pleasuring a woman in such a manner that she could not distinguish it from penetrative sex with a man who was assigned male at birth… The court declared these sex acts to be 'vile and deceitful'…” (25). -Moe Cushing

Something that really stood out to me in this book and something that we discussed as a class is the idea of institutionalization as a form of punishment. This was also involved in treating homosexuality and transgenderism as mental illness(es). -Moe Cushing

The James Howe case was one that particularly stood out to me due to the fact that they were extorted on the basis that the extorter knew their biologic gender identity. I cannot begin to imagine how isolating and traumatizing a situation like this would have been for someone who was only trying to express what they felt their gender to be. - Joey Welch

Another part of the text that I found to be particularly intriguing was the idea that while there was a general consensus that cross-dressing and the modification of one's biological sex was wrong, there was no real legislation put in place in the US to condemn and punish such actions. I think this was largely the case because these instances were seen as few and far between so they were dealt with on a case by case basis. - Joey Welch

I think the point made in the section about John Smith where it is discussed that there were benefits to women of female husbands suggests that this is happening more frequently than what is written on it or factually known about it. It seems like there would likely be a number of women who would potentially live like this for economic reasons even if it was a surprise to them, there may have been some incentive to continue the relationship as they would remain more autonomous in this way. Ruth Curran

It is interesting that in both the cases of John Smith and Albert Guelph that the women are both thought of as having been “duped” like how could they not know. Since it was a desired value to wait for marriage to have sex for virtuous or religious people, it is odd that the people felt that way about the women who were tricked. It is surprising that the women are discussed in this way and that the attention doesn’t solely remain on the individual who tricked them into the marriage. Ruth Curran

In the second part about Albert Guelph in New York, it is interesting as it states that the examination was not done by females. I think maybe this speaks to Albert’s demeanor and how well they are passing off as a man. It’s almost like the men are so comfortable with them on this level of them being a man, that they feel they can take this liberty. The daughter who wanted to remain married was of course not unhappy with the situation either. It seems this could be for financial and economic reasons as well as a situation where she could potentially have what she wanted without losing so much of her autonomy. Ruth Curran

manion_female_husbands.txt · Last modified: 2023/04/07 19:35 by