To understand Hunt’s approach to the regulation of sexuality, it is critical to have a historical understanding of the 19th century, a time characterized by the societal concern of sexual immorality. The 19th century operated under the ‘separate spheres doctrine,’ in which patriarchy was superordinate, and the sexes operated in their own respective spheres. The Industrial Revolution was the genesis for the rapid growth in the ‘respectable’ middle class. The newly formed ‘respectable middle class’ was cumulated in the pinnacle of respectability: the ‘domestic angel.’ The domestic angle was the submissive and responsible mother, who operated under the private sphere of the domestic home. Contrary to the domestic angle is the prostitute, the “fallen woman,” who violates the gendered norms of the 19th century via operating on the streets and brothels of the public sphere. Hunt argues that prostitution was seen as the ‘social evil,’ and the ultimate consequence of urbanization; a ‘sexualized urban social disorder’ (p.79). It was seen as an urban phenomenon because the lower classes were becoming wealthier, and the upper class struggle...
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...ty, as in all cases, homosexuality is always labeled as the abnormality, whilst heterosexuality always as the norm.
The commonalities between Hunt and Kinsman is seen in the attribution of sexuality as a social creation. While Hunt provided a historical analysis of regulation movements, he does not accept a Durkheim attribution of ‘society’ acting via social control. Rather, both authors contend that the interaction between members of society is what suffices the mainstream view of what is ‘acceptable’ and ‘deviant’ sexuality. Both authors discussed the power of expert sources of knowledge, as Hunt discussed the role of medical experts in the Hygiene Movement, and Kinsman discussed the role of ‘expert knowledge’ in our understanding of the world. Overall, sexuality has existed since time immemorial, and will continue to be a hot topic for moral regulation.
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