Prostitution During the Eighteenth Century Essay

Prostitution During the Eighteenth Century Essay

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During the late eighteenth century, particularly 1770s through 1790s, the common woman of London, England had a primacy through life because of the growing center of prostitution. Women, specifically single women, were considered to be destined for prostitution because of the absence of a male role model. However, some women found great success in this lifestyle because of the beneficial assets garnered within their interactions with their clients. As to the courts, benefiting some of these assets were due to involuntary judgments which lead to women imprisonment. Women who worked as prostitutes were compared to materialistic property used for pleasurable encounters. Often in London, these women were categorized in three different demeanors according to some of the case trials brought against them. The major characteristic was focused on the means of survival. Women struggled to survive in London because of the male dominancy overruling their judgment of their own behaviors and beliefs. Another demeanor of prostitutes was identify with theft and abuse of taking what should have been rightfully owed to them for their services. Lastly, the behavior of organized crime was in favor of prostitutes; for what they did against their clients was only to gain recognition and praise from their brothel-keeper. There was a concerned discourse about the city on whether the act of prostitution was right or wrong. London usually showed a humane attitude towards prostitutes and maintained justice for the women who choose this profession.
Life for a prostitute meant engaging in the midnight festivities that often resulted in daylight miseries. The various aspects of communication between the prostitute and their clients were drawn togeth...

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...for Moral Reform, 1688–1800,” Journal of British Studies 46, No. 2 (April 2007): pp. 290-319, Accessed March 3, 2014, JSTOR.
Karras, Ruth Mazo, Common women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Mackay, Lynn, “Why They Stole: Women in the Old Bailey, 1779-1789,” The Journal of Social History 32, no. 3 (1999): 633, accessed October 23, 2012, JSTOR.

Nash, Stanley D., Prostitution in Great Britain 1485-1901: An Annotated Bibliography Metuchen, New Jersey & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1994.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.0, 04 March 2014), May 1693, trial of Elizabeth Elye (t16930531-45).

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 17 April 2011), Tabulating decade against defendant gender, between 1770 and 1799. Counting by defendant.

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