Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Record Number: 43814
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Hinds , Sarah,
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Late Medieval Sexual Badges as Sexual Signifiers: A Material Culture Reappraisal
  • Source: Medieval Feminist Forum 55, 2 ( 2020): Pages 170 - 191. Available with a subscription: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/mff/vol55/iss2/8/
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Archaeology Cities and Towns Masculinity Secular Badges Sexuality in Art Young Men
  • Award Note: 2018 Gender & Medieval Studies Graduate Student Prize Essay
    Feminae Article of the Month, November 2021
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 14- 15
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: "This article offers a new interpretation of late medieval “profane” badges as objects which signified sexual activity within an urban masculine youth culture. Much scholarship on badges with sexual or genital content has typically examined these objects through an iconographical lens and has characterised their function as apotropaic. This study instead focuses on the material properties and archaeological contexts of one form of badge, a cockerel mounting a hen. It explores the materiality, motif, and depositional contexts of these badges through the framework of the life-course and posits that these were objects owned and used by young males to signify their engagement in pre-marital sexual activity. The case is made that cock and hen badges functioned as markers of status and belonging amongst young men in late medieval London who were biologically adults, but socially children. These badges allowed their owners to demonstrate a form of masculinity to their peers at a time in their lives when other forms were denied to them structurally." - [Abstract written by the author.]
  • Related Resources: Crowned vulva on horseback, 1375-1424, Amsterdam, Van Beuningen family collection, Kunera database.
    Scene in an inn or brothel with couple having sex, 1375-1424, Nieuwlande, Van Beuningen family collection, Kunera database.
    Procession of three phallic figures carrying crowned vulva on a litter, 1375-1424, Bruges,Van Beuningen family collection, Kunera database.
  • Author's Affiliation: University of York [PhD student in Medieval History]
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2020.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 15368742 (Print); 21516073 (Online)