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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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(p.210) Conclusion
Save the Womanhood!

Samantha Caslin

Liverpool University Press

While historians have examined how prostitution and promiscuity were frequently conflated by social purists and philanthropists in the late Victorian period and early twentieth century, this book examines the persistence of these ideas well into the latter half of the twentieth century. The notion that the respectable, young, working-class woman could be distinguished from the supposedly disreputable and corrupting prostitute produced a highly gendered understanding of urban space. Working-class women, and especially immigrant working-class women, were monitored for signs of apparent moral weakness. Moreover, even as social purity organisations went into decline in the post-war years, their ideas persisted in legislative efforts to control prostitution. Women who worked as prostitutes were increasingly regulated and pushed out of sight into less safe working spaces. As such, it is argued here that the law increasingly mirrored the sort of social purity thinking which considered prostitution to be a form of moral contagion which needed to be eradicated.

Keywords:   Decriminalisation, Prostitution, Social Purity, Solicitation, Wolfenden

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