Media Impact On Women's Prostitution

2011 Words9 Pages
During the middle of the nineteenth century, social, economic, and cultural change interrupted traditional lifestyles and brought forth a new ideal for the meaning of success. As culture in America began to change, men were hungry for power and women were left with little opportunity to earn a wage that would allow them to live independently. Due to their lack of independence from their families and husbands, many women were often left to rely on their own bodies to make money through prostitution. Women’s prostitution was brought to new heights as more men entered cities in hopes of success, both economically and socially. In addition to men’s impact on prostitution, media such as “flash press” brought much attention to prostitution. Men and…show more content…
The conflict between a moral gentleman and a man with a deep desire for power brought about a new kind of man: the “sporting man”. The sporting man became a central audience for many newspapers, whom often commented on the new stereotype of men. “Editors playfully humiliated clerks whether they were striving for gentility or for sexual access to women” (On the Make, 187). Through articles based upon the persona of the sporting man, editors aimed to unite young men by writing about topics such as “sports, drinking, and illicit sex” (On the Make, 187), which encouraged men to enjoy erotic literature and pornographic photos. Often, pornographic photos were sold on a widespread scale across the city at a relatively small price of one dollar per photo. The photos were often referred to as “transparent cards”, which when held up to the light, revealed a pornographic photo of a woman. The photos and literature of women brought about a new view of women in terms of expectations for them. Now, men did not see women as people, but rather as a sale item that could be bought for a certain price. In turn, a new culture based upon objectifying women was born, which ultimately led to the progression of prostitution. Prostitutes not only supported the new ideals, but encouraged it as a way to make money to survive. Independent women’s lack of opportunity threatened their survival, which also stimulated the growth of…show more content…
Independence became a new accomplishment for many women to achieve, in which prostitution questioned the route to becoming successful. For men, new ideals of power brought about a sort of obsession that led to power over women in the form of prostitution. As for the media, many women were highlighted for their beauty and elegance in penny papers as prostitutes, which often glamorized prostitution. At other times, however, prostitutes were criticized for their amorous intentions. Prostitution in the nineteenth century created a conversation about what sex meant to men and women of that time period. For this reason, prostitution became a necessary evil in order to spark future changes, such as laws prohibiting prostitution, as well as the women’s rights
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