This website is the product of a microhistorical study concerning prostitution
within Victoria, British Columbia, during the 1890s. Its goal is to create
an overview of prostitution within Victoria during this time period by
presenting the location of Victoria's "Red Light" district,
two case studies of Victorian prostitutes, Belle Adams and Edna Farnsworth,
and also comparing prostitution in Victoria with, where its most prominent
influences came from, London, England, and San Francisco, California.
Being named after the Queen of England, Victoria was destined to inherit
the social morals that prevailed throughout the British Empire. Included
in these morals was adherence to the status quo, which really meant private
patriarchal dominance and a public display of purity and righteousness.
Because these Victorian morals permeated across the Empire, prostitution
in Victoria was looked upon as an evil act that was spreading a social
cancer throughout the city.
However, very few people or organizations helped to prevent the spread
of this social cancer. Prostitution flourished in Victoria despite moral
resistance. It operated on a double standard of morality and purity.
It served the interests of "wayward" men, while providing the
means to judge the innocence and purity of the "ladies" of Victoria.
Pure women remained within the private sphere of home and family, where
sexual relations between men and women assumed the existence of love,
companionship, and above all, procreation, all consistent with the ideology
of a woman as the angel in the house.
Certainly, prostitutes were not the angels of the house. Did that make
Victoria's prostitutes the devils of the street?
for Victoria's Red Light District
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