Too…much…to…unpick hereUm...define what you mean by 'dressing as men? ' What men? You mean dressing to deceive, to impersonate? Surely that depends wholly on what era you are writing in or imagining. Bradamante in 'Orlando Furioso' dressed as an armoured knight because she was a warrior and petticoats would have been silly. In spite of that she is usually in western art portrayed in a dress. Y'all don't remember the 50's, but I was there, and during the war women worked in factories and construction -ever hear of the iconic 'Rosie the Riveter'? Then the men came home and like magic they turned into permed and perfumed creatures in midi skirts and tight sweaters. Or dressing as a man in 18th century France or England, with the long curly hair, make-up and tights ? Would wearing a skirt in 19th century Scotland be classed as impersonating a man?
In our culture, let's face it, it is men who define what is masculine and feminine attire and 'dressing as a man' is and has always been a wholly flexible standard. Women tend to be more practical, given half a chance. Joan of Arc in the Shaw play is asked why she dresses as a man. The answer goes something like 'I am imprisoned night and day with five of the King's guards. Do you want me to live among them in petticoats?