|Titre :||Courtly Amazons of the Grand Siècle : Tracing the Roots of Female Equestrian Culture in Early Modern Europe|
|fait partie de :|
|Auteurs :||Valerio Zanetti, Auteur|
|Type de document :||document vidéo|
|Année de publication :||2018|
|Format :||21 min.|
EquivocÉpoque Moderne (XVIe-XVIIIe) ; Europe ; Femme
It is now widely recognised that the increase in mobility connected to the development of new sporting practices was crucial to the struggle for female emancipation between the 19th and the 20th century. And yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to women’s corporeal exercises in early modern Europe. My paper investigates the emergence of an independent female sport culture at the French court during the Grand Siècle (ca. 1580-1715), with a specific focus on horseback riding. I show how the display of athleticism in the saddle called into question contemporary gender conventions and contributed to re-shape the way early modern femininity was imaged and performed.
I begin by analysing how early modern conceptions of elite femininity were challenged when aristocratic women entered the male arena of the hunt and appropriate masculine sporting habits. Ladies gradually moved beyond traditional structures to establish an original athletic regime based on a new set of rules and aimed at the achievement of goals independent from hunt-related conventions. I will show how the display of athletic skilfulness and controlled vigour, previously considered unnatural and unsuited to a lady, would become by the early 1700s a perfectly acceptable, if not desirable, female attribute.These new athletic performances were based on a more intense interaction with the horse and entailed the acquisition of specific technologies of the body. I will reconstruct how the equestrian education of young girls was carried out, and subsequently explore the intellectual and psychological dimension that accompanied these corporeal experiences.
It is necessary to establish the political motives behind women’s wish to create new spaces for homo-and heterosocial interactions. I will then consider some possible rationales of an altogether different nature, equally embedded within the intricate networks of court life, but at the same time strikingly familiar to modern eyes. Considering how physical activity is strongly connected to issues of self-determination and intrinsic motivation, I suggest that women eagerly embraced new equestrian practices as a way to cope with depression and the more or less ordinary frustrations of life at court. By exerting agency over their own body and shaping it through exercise, women took up a rare opportunity to react against the dictates of a patriarchal society which governed their social, sentimental, and corporeal existence.
At first an elite phenomenon linked to the aristocratic milieu, the female taste for equitation progressively trickled down the social ladder spreading through all social classes, thus engendering new dynamics of psychophysical empowerment which changed the way western femininity has been imaged and performed from the 17th century to the present day.
|En ligne :||oui|
|En ligne :||https://vimeo.com/277460103|