Bifurcated Girls

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 08:14
Submitted by Carlin Ross

This picture features the first female gardeners working in Kew Gardens in 1896. They were required to dress like men so they wouldn't be a "distraction".

I was googling around and found that Victorians loved to see young women dressed like men and referred to them as "bifurcated girls". Vanity Fair had a special edition with pictures of them in various states of cross dress.

Seems it was so novel to see a woman dressed like a man that it became a sort of trend or fetish. You'd never think that the Victorians would be open to gender bending. Maybe we're the prudes.

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Victorian women's fashion

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 09:03
Craig B (not verified)

The fashion for very long dresses with petticoats, even for working-class women at work, was also probably not ideal for gardening. While such fashions might possibly have been socially embarrassing, I bet they made the work a heck of a lot easier.