Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World
Viking Fashion Disaster

Viking Fashion Disaster

To be fair, Viking women could demand divorce for some pretty minor things, like her husband showing too much chest in public.

Norway North Denmark Sweden
26th January 2016
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8 years ago #9449228        

Central European: Hahahahahaaa! You're wearing a dress! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA----


Viking: Hahaha. You have a battle axe embedded in your skull. Hahaha.

8 years ago #9449167        

Good thing that crossdressing is completely normal nowdays. This actually reminds me of my gym teacher, he wanted to go a bar to get pissed and his wife didn't like the idea, so she hid all of her husband's clothes. As a retaliate he dressed on his wive's clothes, flowery summer dress, stockings, high heels, purse, gloves, pearls and a big summer hat. And so he went to a bar, get pissed and as a bonus police took him to a lockup.

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6 years ago #9740257        

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...

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8 years ago #9448751        

Would love to see a "silly Viking rules" comic.

8 years ago #9449589        

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.

8 years ago #9449060        

This shows just who is boss in Viking society! Explains why all the men sailed away.... it was just to get a chance to dress up in plundered lingerie!

8 years ago #9449444        

I've recently learned , that a traditional way to wash a Japanese kimono is to tear it apart, wash all the pieces and then to sew it back. I wonder if it's true and I want a comic about it.

8 years ago #9449078        

Crossdressing in general was grounds for divorce and men could divorce their wives for wearing male clothes too. She didn't even have to be caught wearing them or actually wear them, someone starting a baseless rumour that she did was enough.
Source: Laxdæla saga (the same one where the open chest shirt is ok reason for divorce 'cause it's a woman's garment).

8 years ago #9448776        

Very appropriate timing for this, as 'Up Helly Aa', a Viking-themed fire festival in the Shetland Islands, takes place today. Known locally as "Transvestite Tuesday" due to the number of men dressing in drag for the comedy sketches that take place later this evening!

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6 years ago #9721583        

I find it a little funny how in America when you say Viking, everyone mostly thinks of a savage, dirty, uncultured rapist wearing a horned helmet, but in truth they had a rich culture, more gender equality than a lot of modern powers and were considered the most hygienic of Europeans at the time. Something like this would definitely not come to mind. Meanwhile, anyone who knows a little viking history wouldn't find this all that surprising if it was actually the reason for that law. Vikings were weird, and awesome.

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