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Croquet’s Cheating Women
April 21 @ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
Update: Due to concern for the spread of COVID-19, the Victorian Society New York will be postponing all spring events. We will continue to monitor developments and remain grateful to all who are working to mitigate this growing health concern. When possible, we hope to be able to reschedule all our postponed events. Thank you for your understanding.
In the 1860s, the British sport of croquet caught on in America, “especially with Ladies,” as one newspaper put it. Although the outdoor activity was supposedly noncompetitive and centered on socializing, it actually stirred up bitter arguments, particularly about women’s behavior on the lawns.
Jon Sterngass, a Saratoga Springs-based writer specializing in children’s nonfiction, has uncovered evidence that certain croquet strokes were perceived as a form of symbolic castration, and that women were constantly accused of cheating at croquet by double-tapping, concealing balls under skirts, or hitting while opponents weren’t looking. Sterngass will lecture on how the sport evolved as it was popularized nationwide, and how gender expectations shaped public perceptions. Find out how Victorian women, while posed on pedestals as paragons of virtue, actually played on the grassy courts to win.
Tuesday, April 21
6:15-8 pm (with reception/refreshments)
5 East 48th Street