Pass as a Woman, Act like a Man: Marie-Antoinette as Tribade
in the Pornography of the French Revolution.
Focusing on six sexual types--the sodomite, the tribade
, the narcissistic courtier, the bawd, the citizen wife, and the monstrous favorite--DiGangi shows how "signifiers of gender and (more subtly) of sexuality serve to convey arguments about political loyalty, military ethics, and aristocratic comportment" (3).
27] Hamilton's next lover applies a different term to her body, again through epistolary exchange--this time materially informed by Hamilton's shifting identity: she is first referred to by a male pronoun, but Fielding largely encapsulates this relationship with feminine words, thereby enforcing an interpretation of Hamilton as a tribade
Crucial to this picture of toleration is the cultural distinction between the tribade
and what Traub calls the femme.
In broadly schematic terms, Traub describes the opposition between representations of the tainted figure of the tribade
and the more normatively acceptable person of the chaste friend and the ideology associated with her, demonstrating how the friend is eventually contaminated by the specter of sexual suspicion and "chart[ing] how a discursive regime of impossibility is gradually displaced by a governing logic of suspicion and possibility" (20-21).
Suzanne Desan, "'War Between Brothers and Sisters': Inheritance Law and Gender Politics in Revolutionary France," French Historical Studies 20 (1997): 497-634; and Elizabeth Colwill, "Pass as a Woman, Act like a Man: Marie-Antoinette as Tribade
in the Pornography of the French Revolution," in Homosexuality in Modern France, ed.
Valerie Traub highlights the social impact of the rhetoric on gender and sexuality present in travel narratives as well as the emergence of the term tribade
, "an early modern antecedent to lesbianism" (156).