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Viking Fashion Disaster
29 1, 6:15am
Heh.. not surprising, really.
The culture had a very definite idea of who/what belonged where, and clothing was a big part of the way people expressed allegiance, wealth, and a host of other things. It's a bit of a theme in any culture, and one of the ways of utterly humiliating a man and ruining his reputation is to make him dress up as a woman, publicly. It's known from Gothic/Hun/Germanic culture, and no doubt the nordic cultures at least knew of it, even if there's no direct evidence it was actually used as a punishment. Unless you consider the fact that it's specifically mentioned in divorce law...
We do know that women were specifically forbidden to wear mens' clothing, and given the way a Man was supposed to act and bear up to his duties, it's highly unlikely they would do the reverse *voluntarily* : As a punishment you would simply have been declared "not worthy a man" by your peers. To do so voluntarily would declare openly you were not a man, that you were not accepting your obligations as a man, and that you will not accept fate, and the will of the Gods.
Pretty heavy stuff in an age where oaths were taken really, really seriously....
To force a woman to stay married to someone who has been openly humiliated, or even worse, declared a personal vendetta against fate and the gods by symbolically emasculating himself, would be cruel. They were a rowdy bunch, but cruelty was very much frowned upon.
So much better to let the woman divorce, save her from the utter lunatic/coward.
It's not as if someone who'd done *that* would have a very long life expectancy to begin with.