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Cross-Dressing: Ancient and Modern Reappropriations of Homosexual Identity

Cross-Dressing: Ancient and Modern Reappropriations of Homosexual Identity c a Se y c . mo ore Cross-Dressing: Ancient and Modern Reappropriations of Homosexual Identity It turns out that where homoeroticism is granted full social sanction, as it was in Rome, it flourishes . . . Men, we learn from ancient Rome, will enjoy sex with other men, if there is no social censure . . . And so now we come back to the idyllic day of free choice and tolerance envisioned by the gay and lesbian movement. Joshua Berman Without dispute, the understood schemata for sexual relations in the ancient world signic fi antly diverge from those of the modern world, especially those that me- diated behavior in same-s ex sexual or social relations. Same-s ex relations in an- cient Rome—and in fact, all sexual relations—were largely predicated on notions of power, of domination and submission, and of social class.1 As Marilyn Skinner notes, “Sex relations were structured hierarchically, in contrast to our ideal of equality between the partners, and the gender roles of active and passive partner were not tied to sex—for the person in the submissive role, at least, structural ‘femi- ninity’ was the consequence of lower status, not sex” (19).2 As far as http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Cross-Dressing: Ancient and Modern Reappropriations of Homosexual Identity

The Comparatist , Volume 37 – May 12, 2013

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

c a Se y c . mo ore Cross-Dressing: Ancient and Modern Reappropriations of Homosexual Identity It turns out that where homoeroticism is granted full social sanction, as it was in Rome, it flourishes . . . Men, we learn from ancient Rome, will enjoy sex with other men, if there is no social censure . . . And so now we come back to the idyllic day of free choice and tolerance envisioned by the gay and lesbian movement. Joshua Berman Without dispute, the understood schemata for sexual relations in the ancient world signic fi antly diverge from those of the modern world, especially those that me- diated behavior in same-s ex sexual or social relations. Same-s ex relations in an- cient Rome—and in fact, all sexual relations—were largely predicated on notions of power, of domination and submission, and of social class.1 As Marilyn Skinner notes, “Sex relations were structured hierarchically, in contrast to our ideal of equality between the partners, and the gender roles of active and passive partner were not tied to sex—for the person in the submissive role, at least, structural ‘femi- ninity’ was the consequence of lower status, not sex” (19).2 As far as

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 12, 2013

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