Stories of Men forced to wear Women's clothing
Photo Bits, Jan 21,1911
"I have been reading some of your articles in Photo Bits with great interest, as I was when a boy put through a prolonged course of Petticoat Discipline, and have fully appreciated the extracts from the correspondence you have reproduced. My father narried a second time, when I was fourteen, and my stepmother was an ultra-fashionable young lady, who from the first insisted on an entire change in our previously somewhat homely life. My father gave way to her in all things, and I was placed, at her request, under her entire control. I objected at once, as she insisted upon my wearing in the evenings a velvet knickerbocker suit, silk stockings, patent shoes and white kid gloves, whereas I had been accustomed to wear my ordinary clothes, and do pretty much as I pleased; but my objections only made matters worse, as she seized on them as an excuse for putting me through the most rigorous course of discipline imaginable. I was measured, and shortly after fitted, in spite of my struggles (which were soon subdued with the help of her maids) with very long and stiff corsets, which were pulled in at first to 24 inches, and tightened a little each day, till I measured only twenty-two inches at the end of the week; after that, except on special occasions, or for punishment, my waist was reduced 1/2 inch a month. Tightly-fitting tunics and breeches of satin or velvet, black or coloured, were always my wear, with silk stockings, and either high-legged button boots, or low-cut or strapped shoes with french heels, which, starting at three inches were rapidly increased in height, till finally, I could more or less successfully negotiate six inches on special occasions. These boots and shoes were always tight and narrow, and usually of patent leather, though I sometimes wore satin at night, while my arms and hands were tightly buttoned up into strong kid gloves, often reaching well over my elbows, tan or black for morning, and white or light coloured for evening wear. I was removed from my school, and a governess was engaged, who had a reputation as a severe disciplinarian and as a figure trainer and teacher of deportment and personal appearance, while I had to obey her slightest orders instantly and without question. Any objections were promptly met by punishments, many and varied in character. I classify them in three sections:
1st, punishment by humiliation, such as compulsory wearing of girls underclothing in silk and satin; or in cases meriting severe treatment, the wearing of entire female dress, in which costume I was compelled to go about the house and have my meals, even decorated with brooches, bracelets and other jewellery on neck and ears. My hair also would be specially curled and crimped, my face powdered, etc.
The second punishment was by discipline inflicted by dress, such as extra tight-lacing, tight narrow pointed boots, very high collars, etc. I have been strapped up by the hands, and my corset, an extra long and stiff one, tightened in till I could hardly breathe; and then my feet have been forced into the very tightest and most pointed extra high-heeled boots that could be got on; and then my hands have been tightly gloved, and strapped one on each side to a belt fixed firmly round my waist. In this condition, I would be compelled to stand where my stepmother or the governess could see me, sometimes for two or three hours, till I felt faint and sick with the helplessness. My stepmother always seemed to enjoy proving to me my powerlessness, and constantly imprisoned my wrists and ankles with straps, or even locked handcuffs, keeping me in bonds for hours at a time. I have been placed in the stocks, and with shoulders strapped back to a back-board, wearing a collar which held my head high and immovable in the air, my hands strapped to the board behind me. Sometimes she made me wear a jacket with a high stiff collar tightly fitting round my neck, and as my hands were fastened, or steels sewn into the sleeves to prevent my bending my elbows, I was quite powerless to relieve myself in the least.
Contd (June 10,1911) Sometimes, again, I had to wear an extra tight corset at night (I always wore night corsets with a locked belt to prevent removal), and tight boots and gloves; if she thought I needed punishment, the boots and shoes being secured by locked, tightly fitting bracelets and anklets; and if I attempted to tamper with them, I regretted it if doscovered! I should have said we had extensive grounds attached to our house, so I seldom went outside the gates, but if I did, though tightly corseted and gloved, and often in girls underclothing, I wore outer garments like other boys, while my tight patent leather shoes had only very elaborate heels, so as not to attract attention. In our own grounds, however, I had to show my figure fully to all short sleeved, short breeches, glove-fitting tunics revealing my corsets, and boots and gloves."