Cross-dressing that consisted of women dressing as men had more positive attitudes than vice versa; Altenburger states that female to male cross-dressing depicted a movement forward in terms of social status, power, and freedom. While some (The Famous Flower of Serving-Men) merely need to move about freely, many do it specifically in pursuit of a lover (Rose Red and the White Lily or Child Waters) and consequently pregnancy often complicates the disguise.
Occasionally, men in ballads also disguise themselves as women, but not only is it rarer, the men dress so for less time, because they are merely trying to elude an enemy by the disguise, as in Brown Robin, The Duke of Athole's Nurse, or Robin Hood and the Bishop.
According to Gude Wallace, William Wallace disguised himself as a woman to escape capture, which may have been based on historical information.
Even the beefy American actor Wallace Beery appeared in a series of silent films as a Swedish woman.
The Three Stooges, especially Curly (Jerry Howard), sometimes appeared in drag in their short films.
He was married five times to women, and adopted three boys.
He led a full career as a musician and, in later life, as an entertainment agent.
Ulrika Eleonora Stålhammar was a Swedish woman who served as a soldier during the Great Northern War and married a woman.
Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, colonial governor of New York and New Jersey in the early 18th century is reported to have enjoyed going out wearing his wife's clothing, but this is disputed.
The tradition has continued for many years, usually played for laughs.