Lady of the Camellias: the incredible popularity of prostitutes in the Victorian era
• Ladies of the Camellias: the incredible popularity of prostitutes in the Victorian era
In view of the modern inhabitants of the concept of "Victorian era" associated with bigotry and stiffness. But in those days, I was present and "the other side of the coin." In London, the second half of the XIX century was highly developed prostitution. In the capital alone, legally, there were about 80,000 moths.
In the Victorian era patriarchal structure implied that a woman's place was supposed to be just beside her husband. The ladies were not allowed to work and have their own income, their main task is considered the birth of children and housekeeping. Those women who were trying to achieve financial independence, could go to work unless the stenographers or maids, but this is not enough even for a piece of bread.
It was then that the attitude towards prostitution was radically changed. Young women regarded it as an intermediate occupation to earn quick money and then change the profession. However, many detained in brothels for years to come.
Prostitutes were divided into several categories. At the bottom, there were those who worked in brothels. Those women had to give most of the hostess establishments earnings ( "Madame"). There were those who engaged in prostitution on their own, not sharing with anyone. "Elite" of the craft were considered representative of the demi-monde, or in another courtesan. These ladies talked only with the rich and aristocrats. Some even managed to marry their clients.
Many traditional affordable sex ceased to be interesting, therefore, in some brothels practiced with joy sadomasochistic inclination. These institutions enjoyed much greater popularity than the usual brothels.
The legal age of "entry into a profession," began with 13 years. Some poor rural families to sell their daughters to brothels even 11 years to regularly receive a percentage of the working girls.
In 1885, journalist hives Thomas Stead (W.T. Stead) was the first to fight against child prostitution. He published a series of revelatory articles in the Pall Mall Magazine magazine about how the process of buying girls. The journalist described the purchase of 13-year-old virgin. Initially, the client exhibited a doctor's confirmation of the child's virginity and then proposed to use chloroform, the girl did not resist to the "right" moment.
London public outcry forced the government to adopt an amendment to the Criminal Code to increase the "sexual age of consent" to 16 years. Subsequently hives Thomas Stead was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Such a number of legal prostitutes could not lead to mass infectious diseases and on the part of clients and among themselves prostitutes. In 1864, the Law on infectious diseases. All the ladies of easy virtue had to be compulsorily undergo a medical examination. Those who have had a sexually transmitted disease, isolated in hospitals for three months. Refused suspended from work.
The famous writer Charles Dickens did much good for the ladies of easy virtue of the time. He created together in a shelter for prostitutes "Urania Cottage" philanthropist Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts (Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts). We went to prostitutes, who did not want more than to engage in their profession and wish to start life anew. It is the stories of the fallen women and the reasons forcing them to go to the panel, lay the basis for the works of Dickens.