Lois Leveen

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March 8, 2012

Petticoat Dis-junction

Petticoat Dis-Junction: a (transgendered) Civil War fact in honor of International Women's Day.
Loreta Velazquez
Women fought on the front lines in the Civil War. Some even sported facial hair, although alas not as fab as their male compatriots. Loreta Janeta Velazquez (pictured above) fought for the Confederates, disguised as a man. Jennie Hodgers fought for the Union, disguised as a man. Turns out, when you didn't do physicals as part of enlistment/draft, it was much easier to disguise self as what self was not.

Mary Bowser, of course, did not disguise herself as a man. She simply made use of the disguise provided in a culture that didn't find a black woman capable of "intelligence," in either sense of the word.

Happy International Women's Day, whatever you're wearing.
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