Prostitution In The Old West And Feminism

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Prostitution in the Old West and Feminism


This paper is primarily going to focus on the “Prostitution in the American West (1865 - 1890)”. The purpose of the paper is to identify and analyze the prostitution history in the old American west and the factors relating to it. The paper will also explore the reasons which contributed and encouraged these women to come in to this industry and how they contributed towards the society. The paper also explains the phenomena and concept of feminism and how does it contributed and influenced the democracy and other aspects of the society and culture. These aspects comprise of different discrimination and biases which existed in the old west such as racial discrimination, cultural and religious.

Prostitution in the Old West and Feminism


Prostitution is defined as providing sexual services to someone in exchange of some payment. Individuals who carry out these activities are identified as prostitutes. Prostitution is recognized as one of the active part of the sex industry. Virtually the existence of prostitution is found in every society and cultures. The legal status of the prostitution activities vary from state to state and country to country, in few places it's considered as a regulated and legal profession where as in other cultures and societies it's seen as a taboo and a punishable crime. In fact this profession has formed itself as an industry and its estimated that the amount of annual revenue generated from prostitution at global level is around $100 billion. The assessment of the prostitution varies with respect to religious values, culture, and ethical values.



Prostitution is regarded as one of the oldest profession and trade in the world and it's around for centuries. People have different perspective about prostitution. After Mesopotamian times, behavior surrounding prostitution has changed many times ranging from a cultural evil to a celebrated necessity. The Victorian era (1840-1900) in the United States have witnessed and the same development of thoughts as their prostitutes were empathized in the beginning of the century and then completely rejected by the society in the end. The twentieth and the twenty first century both have kept the same thoughts towards the prostitution as of the latter Victorian era. After almost a century and half the perception of the American society towards prostitution has not observed any significant change due to the view of the society over it. (Butler, 1985, Pp. 111-165)

The Victorian era in the 1800's was well known for the existence of strict moral values at that time. Individuals used to look down on everything or any one with reference to the social norms of the society; and majority of the society was highly against prostitution. A new perspective surfaced in the woman towards their own place in life, which initiated new organizations. The nineteenth century feminists such as Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Margaret Sanger were influenced and inspired by the movements initiated by the early feminists and started to view and portray prostitution as ...
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