Mary Jane Hayes was a “deviant” woman—a “drunken prostitute” who was in and out of both the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum and Fremantle Prison from 1871 to 1898. One of twelve women in the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum records to have been referred to as a prostitute, Mary Jane was particularly reviled: her alcohol consumption and unsavoury lifestyle were often blamed as the cause of her violent behaviour and insanity. Prison and asylum records reveal several arrests for drunkenness and vagrancy, with an estimated 67 convictions; newspaper articles also depict her numerous convictions for indecent behaviour, obscene language and larceny. Mary Jane Hayes’s contact with both the asylum and prison, as well as her mentions in newspapers, allows for an archival and media content examination of late 19th-century Fremantle society and its treatment of deviant women who fell into the category of moral insanity: madness caused by a moral failing, especially alcohol and sex. This article will make a wider contribution to colonial Australian history, particularly the history of Fremantle, by developing a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of women and moral insanity in the late 19th century.
Late one night in October 1961, Los Angeles police officers V. C. Dossey and C. H. Watson thought they had made a legitimate arrest when they charged Betty, a white woman, with disorderly conduct. The officers were in their radio car, patrolling a predominantly black neighborhood in South Los Angeles—an area, according to police, “plagued by females” engaging in suspect sexual practices—when they observed Betty “cruis[ing] in a manner designed to attract” the attention of men….
In this paper, police files and court cases from the Copenhagen City Court from the late 1930s are used as a window into the ways in which the living conditions and everyday life on the street unfolded among ‘prostitute’ women in poor inner-city neighbourhoods. Bourdieu’s notion of habitus is employed to analyse the social conditions under which the women became ‘prostitutes’, and the tricks of the trade that it was necessary to learn in order to ‘work the streets’ in poor inner-city neighbourhoods in a transforming Copenhagen in the 1930s.
This article aims to contribute to the growing literature on the treatment of venereal disease in the British Empire. In 1926 the British Social Hygiene Council reported for the Cypriot government on the prevalence of venereal diseases and many of its recommendations were adopted since Cyprus, the report claimed, had a significant problem with venereal diseases. The report discussed the prevalence of venereal diseases and did not explore the origins of the problem. This article has two aims. The first is to trace the origins of the perceived prevalence of venereal diseases in the 1920 s to the wartime formation of the Cypriot Mule Corps, and the wartime actions to resolve venereal diseases amongst muleteers. This action solved the problem from a military perspective, but spread the problem throughout the island, hence the prevalence underscored in the report. The second aim is to compare how the second campaign, in the aftermath of the recommendations of the British Social Hygiene Council, differed to the first and how effective these measures were. The article argues that the two approaches were very different, yet both were grounded in a social conservatism, especially the wartime campaign.
Paradoxically, in the 19th century, an era very concerned with public virtue, prostitutes were increasing being represented in Western European cultural expressions. Prostitution was a prevalent social phenomenon due to the rapid urbanization of Western Europe. People were on the move as both urban and rural areas underwent considerable material and normative change; the majority of Western European cities grew rapidly and were marked by harsh working and living conditions, as well as unemployment and poverty. A seeming rise in prostitution was one of the results of these developments, but its centrality in culture cannot be explained by this fact alone. Prostitution also came to epitomize broader social ills associated with industrialization and urbanization: “the prostitute” became the discursive embodiment of the discontent of modernity.
The surge in cultural representation of prostitutes may also be seen as an expression of changing norms and a driver for change in the public perception of prostitution. In particular, artists came to employ the prostitute as a motif, revealing contemporary hypocrisy about gender and class.