Girls In Tights Slapping Their Thighs

By | March 14, 2010

What do you all think of us Brits?

Here in the UK we have a long standing tradition of men dressing up as women, especially in the theatre. I’m not talking about transvesticism here, but guys who may or may not dress in women’s clothes away from the stage being required to don a frock for the sake of their art.

I think it probably originates from the time when women were not allowed to perform in the theatre and young boys took the part of the female characters. It survives to this day in pantomime. Some of the female characters, notably the dames, are guys in dresses. Added to the explicable guys in frocks there’s the balancing but more difficult to explain “principle boys” (for example Peter Pan, Dick Whittington) being played by a girl, often resulting in two girls getting affectionate on stage.

Not being one to encourage the reinforcements of gender stereotypes I wouldn’t normally think this was odd, but let’s face it, it is a bit. However I don’t think it’s ever upset any of the kids in the audience and it does offer the opportunity for some very respected actors such as Ian McKellen to express their feminine side in a way that classic roles would not. Well not since girls were allowed in the theatre.

And the title – Well The “principle boy” (who’s a girl) is often dressed in tights and if all the clichés are followed raised her leg and slaps her thigh at various points in the production.

So go on, are us Brits that weird?