Social Changes In Victorian England

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The Victorian era was associated with a patriarchal society, protestant work ethic, family values and religious ideals Walkowitz (1980) The nineteenth century saw a massive amount of changes in society. The impact of the industrial revolution altered the nation’s demographics, changes in employment, increase in population and advances in medicine. Ninetieth century England was changing economically, socially and politically with a shift towards a more centralised government this in turn affected social structures. Foucault ( ) discussed in his work that sexuality was constructed at this time by the bourgeois as sexual activities were frowned upon and the belief that sex was a very private activity that is purely for husband and wife and …show more content…

The military did not allow the men to marry but wanted the men to have a sexual output so allowed the use of prostitutes for an outlet for the man and to prevent homosexuality within the military Walkowitz (1980). The medical professionals used political influences as a way of focusing on sanitary conditions and public health. The act was designed to regulate prostitution and ensure the safety of the male as it was believed women were the cause of the spread of disease this helped keep women in their place leaving males more dominant gender and class inequalities Walkowitz (1980). The Acts were also not very clear in defining prostitutes therefore any women could be charged with prostitution and it was left to the woman to prove that she was not a prostitute. The Acts not only gave police complete power over women but also the power to convict any women at its discretion of being a prostitute it gave the power to police to put suspected women under surveillance forced women to have medical examinations and all women known to be prostitutes these examinations were every two weeks feminists at the time called this instrumental rape Walkowitz (1980). Women prostitutes or suspected prostitutes were not only criminalised but also stigmatised they did not fit into the Victorian ideology they were excluded by family and friends. They had to accept they were now classed as deviants and had to undergo degrading medical examinations by male professionals Walkowitz (1980). The whole process of the

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