Prostitution, 1880s-1900s

Journal article

Smaal, Yorick. (2010). Prostitution, 1880s-1900s. Queensland Historical Atlas.
AuthorsSmaal, Yorick

Prostitution is a difficult concept to define. Its most simple form involves direct payment for sex although historians acknowledge that the process and meaning of these transactions is messy; they are historically and culturally contingent, governed by a complex mix of power relations. In turn-of-the-century Queensland, prostitution was viewed predominantly through imported British lenses of gender, class, and race; often they were tinted with exaggeration and hyperbole. This was especially true when it came to street-walkers, working-class women, and Asian immigrants. Imperial models constructed a spatial order which identified immoral women and the spaces they inhabited. The authorities marked out certain locations for surveillance and created facilities to remove and segregate deviant individuals for punishment, treatment, and potential reform. Brothels themselves were simultaneously cast as illicit, morally corrupt and undesirable, but accepted as a necessary outlet that might contain and confine working-class and ethnic sexualities and prevent depravity from spilling onto the streets.

Keywordsbrothels; Chinatowns; men; miners; sex
JournalQueensland Historical Atlas
PublisherQueensland Historical Atlas
Web address (URL)
Page range1 - 4
Publisher's version
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