Strange to say, cross-dressing was often used by staid Victorian-era men to make fun of views in opposition to their own Patriarchal discourse. This cross-dressing was a kind of negative social pressure applied to any group where women were shown to be politically active, like the Suffragettes, the Temperance Movement or the Dress Reform Movements. They wanted to depict such women as ugly and too ‘masculine’ to be taken seriously, because, you know, only spinsters and old man-hating harridans want equal rights and respect.
This type of attack wasn’t limited to photographs. Postcards and cartoons were also written and illustrated to conform to this strategy. Because pretty girls don’t want to hang out with all the plain ones … plainness is catching, don’cha know?
Do you know what this says to me? That some men prefer dressing up as women to serious debates about basic human rights.