Women Dressing in Men’s Clothing to Fight: Historical Accounts.
Throughout history, there have been a number of women who defied the gender binary by wearing men’s clothes to fight. Such bold individuals have pushed through social barriers and have served as powerful symbols of courage and strength. Here, we explore a few women who dressed in men’s clothing to fight:
Joan of Arc
Perhaps most famously of all, French saint and national heroine Joan of Arc famously dressed in masculine clothing in order to wage war against England in the 15th century. A peasant girl from a small commune in France, many historians believe she was motivated by divine inspiration to dress in men’s clothing and lead troops at only the tender age of 17. She was killed in 1431 at the age of 19, but her legacy as a brave and courageous fighter continues to this day.
In 18th century America, Deborah Sampson became the first female soldier to fight in the US military. Shocked that women were being denied the right to enlist, she posed as a man and enlisted under the name Robert Shurtliffe. She served in the Continental Army between 1782 and 1783 and even fought in combat, though she was significantly injured in the Battle of Tarrytown. Sampson’s gender was eventually discovered upon her discharge, however, her military record still stands as a testament to her bravery.
Deborah Dee Torial
In 18th century India, Deborah Dee Torial followed in her brother’s footsteps and assumed his identity in order to serve in the military. Operating under the alias Lybeus Thurtan, Torial fought briefly for the British East India Company. Upon discovery of her gender, Torial was honored for her bravery with a military pension and even commemorated in a British memorial later erected in her honor.
These remarkable individuals provide an inspiring example of bravery and strength. By dressing in men’s clothes to fight, they have pushed the boundaries of gender identity, revolutionizing traditional gender roles.
Their stories illustrate a clear determination to fight for their beliefs, regardless of the cost.