All girl Boarding Schools

In Protestant England, it was commonplace for young women to receive their education in boarding schools. Majority of the young girls were sent there because they were considered to be in the way at home. Often boarding schools had a less than respectable reputation. One eighteenth century woman who ran a boarding school, commented "what nasty indecent tricks do they also learn from each other, when a number of them pig together in the same bed-chamber, not to speak of the vices that render the body weak." 12 She is commenting on the common belief that many young women were picking up inappropriate behaviors while attending these all female boarding schools, such as learning how to masturbate. The lack of male presence within these boarding schools caused much speculation amongst the public on what could be going on between the young female students.

A new 'postulant' is initiated into a French lesbian club, from the anonymous La Nouvelle Sapho (1793), in Passions Between Women, by Emma Donoghue

Click to go home