> >The incredible popularity of priestesses of love in the Victorian era
In the view of modern philistines, the concept of “Victorian era” is associated with hypocrisy and stiffness. But in those days there was also a “second side of the coin”. In London, the second half of the XIX century, prostitution was extremely developed. In the capital alone, there were about 80,000 moths legally.
In the Victorian era, the patriarchal structure implied that the place of a woman should have been only near her husband. Ladies were not allowed to work and have their own income, their main task was considered to be the birth of children and housekeeping. Those women who tried to achieve financial independence, could only go to work as stenographers or maids, but this was not enough even for a piece of bread.
It was then that attitudes towards prostitution began to change radically.Young women regarded him as an intermediate lesson, to quickly earn money, and then change the craft. However, many were detained in brothels for many years.
Priestesses of love were divided into several categories. At the very bottom were those who worked in brothels. Those women had to give most of their earnings to the owner of the place (“Madame”). There were also those who independently engaged in prostitution, without sharing with anyone. The "elite" of this craft was considered to be representatives of half-light or in another way courtesans. These ladies communicated only with the rich and aristocrats. Some even managed to marry their clients.
For many, traditional affordable sex has ceased to be interesting, so in some brothels, there was a sadomasochistic inclination practiced. Such establishments were much more popular than ordinary brothels.
The legal age of "entry into the profession" began with 13 years. Some poor peasant families sold their daughters to brothels even from the age of 11, in order to regularly receive a percentage of the work of girls.
In 1885, journalist Ulyam Thomas Sted (W.T.Stead) first started the fight against child prostitution. He published a series of exposing articles in Pall Mall Magazine about how girls were bought. The journalist described the purchase of a 13-year-old virgin. Initially, the client was shown a doctor's certificate confirming the child's virginity, and then it was suggested to use chloroform so that the girl did not resist at the “right” moment.
The indignation of the London public forced the government to adopt an amendment to the Criminal Code to increase the “age of sexual consent” to 16 years. Subsequently, Hive Thomas Sted was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Such a number of legal prostitutes could not but lead to massive infectious diseases from both clients and among the priestesses of love themselves. In 1864, the Infectious Diseases Act was passed. All ladies of easy virtue were required to undergo a medical examination. Those who had sexually transmitted diseases were isolated in clinics for three months. Those who refused were suspended from work.
The famous writer Charles Dickens did a lot of good for the ladies of easy behavior of that time.Together with philanthropist Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, he created a shelter for prostitutes Urania Kottedzh. Prostitutes were sent there who did not want to practice their profession any more and wanted to start a new life. It was the stories of fallen women and the reasons forcing them to go to the panel that formed the basis of the works of Dickens.