This essay shines a light on the previously ignored queer representations of women on Gothic secular ivories, taking as its case studies three popular iconographical themes: the Castle of Love, the game of chess, and the courtly hunt. Refusing to yield to compulsory heterosexuality when looking at the indeterminately gendered bodies that populate these objects reveals both the ivories’ inherent queerness and their potential to interrogate their own normativity. Like the romance literature that inspired the images on these objects, they represent and enforce idealized gender norms with remarkable reluctance. In particular, the author highlights overlooked depictions of female homosocial spaces on Gothic ivories, considering how these spaces appeared to a female viewer who might have seen herself reflected in the queer female agents depicted. Paying close attention to the material, iconographical, functional, and textual strands wound together in these objects demonstrates that the women depicted are far more subversive than scholarship has hitherto recognized.
Le Pouésard, Emma "Fighter, Player, Hunter: Queer Women and Female Agents on Secular Gothic Ivories." Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 59, No. 1 (2023) : 1-31.