Gender Identity. Post War Recovery Moved Families From

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Gender Identity

Post war recovery moved families from destroyed London to new builds in the surrounding counties. A display of female solidarity through shared identity could be seen as a way to reinforce a shrinking community, by dressing alike and sharing time together. In Wolff’s descriptions of both Flaneuse and Flaneur, the world beyond the home is considered to be a male space (1985). This is a middle class understanding of the social world, which restricts women to the home and actively ignores the spaces of the social and cultural world that working class women occupy. A personal account from Teddy Girl Rosie Shine shows women inhabiting music and drinking venues, "There was a jukebox and dancing, just tea and cakes, because we
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A cultural identity can prove unsettling to those from a different social positioning, who are unable to decipher such visual language. An anonymous column in the Brighton and Hove Evening Argus, complains that a young lady got a bus dressed as “the complete Edwardian girl”, upsetting the author by wearing clothes that did not adhere to the writer’s taste:

“She had gone to a great deal of trouble, and she looked an awful mess. Imagine a girl who looked like a man who looked like a girl. Now just into what category would you put her?” (Evening Argus 1954).

The writer seems annoyed that this person is undefinable by the writer’s terms, almost offended that a woman would have short hair and trousers and yet still look feminine enough to be called “a girl”. This could be misplaced homophobia, but more likely a class bias, the heterosexual assumption of lesbian identity performed through so-called ‘male’ clothing may not be relevant for majority of Teddy Girls, no more so than any other social group. Most historical photographs show male and female participants interacting intimately (see figures 7, 8 and 9), which is more likely indicates heterosexual women, but no easier to prove than disprove. Figure 9 ‘Teddy Boy and Teddy Girl at Petticoat Lane’ Roger Mayne 1956.

For these Teddy Girls, sexuality does not correspond to, nor is communicated by, gender informed clothing choices. Whether it is intentional or not, such acts and
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