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Save the Womanhood!Vice, Urban Immorality and Social Control in Liverpool, c. 1900-1976$
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Samantha Caslin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941251

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941251.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 October 2021

Regulating Interwar Prostitution

Regulating Interwar Prostitution

National Debates and Local Issues

(p.62) 3 Regulating Interwar Prostitution
Save the Womanhood!

Samantha Caslin

Liverpool University Press

During the interwar years, the state became concerned about an escalation in the extent to which notions of promiscuity and prostitution were overlapping in public discourse. The ‘common prostitute’ had long been used as a cultural and legal reference point against which all standards of female sexual morality were judged. This marginalisation of women who worked as prostitutes was predicated on the prejudicial notion that they were different to other women. Yet, by the 1920s, changes in women’s lifestyles were challenging this form of moral categorisation, and the Street Offences Committee (1927-8) was formed to review the solicitation laws. However, this chapter argues that the creation of the Committee was not a product of concerns about the unfairness of criminalising prostitutes. Instead, the Committee was the product of the Home Office’s concern that a perceived erosion in the notional boundary between promiscuity and prostitution had made solicitation harder to police. Moreover, in paying particular attention to witness statements given to the Committee by members of the Liverpool Women Police Patrols, the chapter shows that even arguments against using the law to control prostitution did not necessarily seek to challenge the idea that the prostitute was morally transgressive.

Keywords:   Street Offences Committee, Solicitation, Flappers, Promiscuity, Amateur Prostitution, Women Police

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