The traditional scholarly line is that neither of these scenarios [men or women cross-dressing in an attempt to seduce women] is really about same-sex attraction. The women who falls for a woman-in-breeches is mistaken, this argument goes, and so not really wanting her but the “man” the breeches make her seem to be. On the other hand, the women who falls for a man-in-skirts is mistaken, and so not really wanting “her,” just liking “her” very much, or perhaps (without knowing it) desiring the real man behind the skirts. To deny the lesbian implications of these two scenarios, this paradoxical argument has to define desire as conscious but illusory in the first, unconscious but authentic in the second.
— Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature by Emma Donoghue