Julie d’Aubigny started out with a fairly unextraordinary life, but soon overcame the ordinary and spent her life proving how badass women can be and becoming known as Mademoiselle Maupin.
Julie was unlucky enough to be born in 1673, a time when women had to overcome a whole hell of a lot to prove themselves. On the bright side she was born to a father who trained the court pages for King Louis XIV, and as a result was lucky enough to spend her childhood dancing, reading, drawing, and most importantly fencing alongside the pages. She also began dressing as a boy from an early age, smashing gender norms centuries before it became cool, and presumably becoming one of the first hipsters.
Around 1687, Madame de Maupin became involved with an assistant fencing master named Sérannes, who happened to be on the run after being accused of murder (We’re not judging Julie, we’ve all made horrible dating decisions). Julie joined her lover on the run and the two made a living giving fencing exhibitions and singing in taverns and at local fairs. Throughout this time Maupin dressed in male clothing but never concealed her gender.
As I’m sure we can all relate Maupin soon grew bored with her bad boy Serannes and became involved with a young woman. This led to a whole lot of crazy adventures, that I won’t go into details about now, but lets just say it involved breaking into a covenant to break her lover out, stealing the body of a dead nun, placing it in the bed of her lover, and setting the room on fire to cover their escape. The flame of this romance unfortunately died out quick and the pair were broken up within 3 months.
Maupin left for Paris and again earned her living by singing. In Villeperdue Maupin, again wearing men’s clothing, was insulted by a young nobleman. They fought a duel and our girl Maupin kicked his as, driving her blade through his shoulder, and also going on to sleep with his close friend.
Maupin went on to have multiple lovers and face multiple death sentences. But if you want more on that you’ll have to check out Google, sorry! We’re just her for the juicy details like how she beat up a fellow Opera singer after he pestered the women in their troupe or how she kissed a young woman at a society ball and was challenged to duels by three different noblemen. She of course beat the crap out of all of them, but had to flee Paris as duels were outlawed at the time.
She fled to Brussels where she was again in trouble with the law for yet another fatal duel and for beating up her landlord. See, women can have anger issues that show themselves in the form of stupid acts of violence too!
Maupin was revered as one of the greatest Opera singers of her time, a talent which helped her get away with the majority of the above hijinks. While her behaviour may not have been moral by any stretch of the imagination she did lead the way for androgynous dress and beat a significant amount of men at their own game. Like her or not Julie d’Aubigny is an underrated badass who needs some more appreciation!