Thursday, February 25, 2010

travestis parisiens

Updated Below

I collect female impersonator ephemera. (You can view my collection here.)

During my search for additions to my collection, I often encounter a set of early 20th Century postcards from France titled “Travestis Parisiens,” which translates to “Parisian Transvestites.” The postcards depict a person in various stages of dress/undress being assisted by an angel. The beautiful images are artist signed Jean Tam.

Are the transvestites depicted by artist Tam males dressing as females or females dressing as males or both. The postcards appear below; you be the judge.

By the way, these postcards are too expensive for me and are not part of my collection.

UPDATE: I don't speak French, so I used Babel Fish to translate "Travestis Parisiens" from French to English and it cam up with "Parisian Transvestites."

According to Jamiegottagun, who knows how to mind her French P's and Q's, Babel Fish is wrong and the correct translation is "Dressing up Parisian." Therefore, the persons depicted in the postcard images are not necessarily transvestites, although the females donning men's duds are definitely crossdressing.

jean-tam-travestis-parisiens-1002221 jean-tam-travestis-parisiens-1002224jean-tam-travestis-parisiens-1002226 jean-tam-travestis-parisiens-1002225 



  1. To your question Staci, about m2f, f2m or both, I cannot tell, and I think that is part of the beauty here.

    I am delighted to see, really delighted in fact, that an Angel has been summoned to aid in the transformation. So many "authorities" would tell us that our transgression are ... well ... not Angelic, and some might even invoke the devil.

    I think these are the first pieces I have seen that refer to the divinity of our explorations. That is meaningful.

    As if their being beautifully made was not good enough.

    I haven't yet looked at my lotto ticket this week. If I win, I will pick these up for you.

    xoxo - Petra

  2. Hon, it doesn't say Parisian "Transvestites."

    In English, it means "Dressing up Parisian."

    That's a saying there that means about the same thing as when we say "Putting on the Ritz."

    I speak French.

    "Travesti" can be used as a noun in French to mean transvestite, but it would also have to be modified as "se travesti" to change it from being a the transitive verb, "to dress" to a noun.

    "Travestis, the way it's used here is a transitive verb meaning dress up.

    There still cute little cards though of a pretty woman dressing up "parisian," which also doesn't mean "in Paris," but instead "like-Paris," as in "with style."

    1. "Travesti" ... noun mean transvestite, "se travesti" .. verb, "to dress" "
      Considering that, this is clearly a pun. The cards look to be from 1919-1922, from the hair and clothing. At that time women were bobbing their hair and some had the audacity to wear men's clothing. It is a comic/wry statement on Paris fashion, or the fad of dressing in men's clothing. These are not men dressed as women, but more like the Sexualization of lesbians or butch dressing women. The last one looks like motorcycle goggles and driving gloves.

  3. Jamie --- I don't speak French, so I had to depend on an online translator (babblefish), which blew it in this case.

  4. Don't feel bad. Most online translators blow it with French words that have subtle, various meanings, like that one. Their words often don't translate to a single English word. Unfortunately, for Babelfish, travesti, and parisien are both good examples of that.

    But keep your eyes out for a card titled "Travestis de Paris." That would be