Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9740257:

Viking Fashion Disaster 4 3, 8:39am

As silly as they might seem, both reasons for divorce were quite real in those days...

Old Nordic and Germanic society had very *definite* ideas about the roles of men and women. No, they were most definitely not "more gender-equal" , quite the contrary. Women simply had more rights attached to their obligations, especially compared to the more "Romanised" parts of Europe.

A male dressing in womens' clothes would have openly declared he was not a Man, and as such could not be expected to fulfill his obligations towards his Household. Forcing a woman to stay married to someone like that would have been considered cruelty of the highest order. Her (extended) family would have taken her in, and there would have been a godawful row over the dowry.

The bare chest seems silly, given the Manly Men attitude of the old Nordics and Germanics.
At least until you realise that only the poorest of people would show up bare-chested at any sort of gathering. The didn't do the bare rolling-pecs thing.
Your wealth/status was assessed on how you dressed. How well you dressed, as well as those under your protection: your family, your attached families, and your thralls, if you could afford them, was crucial in how you would be seen by society at the time.
I can see where a wife would become *very* cross with Hubbie if he insisted on showing off how *poor* he was...