Pornographic fiction, prostitution and well dressed pervs
IN THE VICTORIAN ERA.
Dirty minds and pornographic fiction. I
It is often wrongly assumed that the Victorians were a reserved bunch who did not explore themselves sexually. They are often thought of in a prestigious way, a way which does not entirely match up to what was going down in the period. Not only were the Victorians having sex, they were having sex in more ways than that of a twenty first century thinker could possibly imagine. Don’t let the concealing fashion of the Victorian fool you, don’t be a victim to their posh lace, fitted bonnets and long frocks. Don’t be no fool in thinking that just because every inch of a Victorian woman’s skin was covered they restricted themselves from exploring themselves sexually. The fashion of these people may have reflected purity, innocence and restriction, though they were far from reserved both with one and other and with their thoughts.
It’s completely understandable why one would think that these people did not explore themselves sexually. ‘Up tight’ is an understatement when you attempt to describe the way these two on your right look, but you must destroy this concept in your minds which allows you to think that the Victorians were not promiscuous. Destroy it and make room for the shocking reality which awaits you…
The males of the Victorian era were often referred to as gentlemen, I have never thought twice about the validity of this term in its context until I realised there was nothing gentle about these men apart from their appearances. These neat appearances however contributed to nothing apart from being deceptive. A deception from the sexual, explicitly vulgar, and arguably corrupt minds of specific men of this time period. “She had hold of my prick, and I her cunt, for she now sat with thighs quite wide open. It was my first real feel of a woman, and she meant me to feel well. How large and hairy, and wet it seemed; its size overwhelmed me with astonishment”. How lovely and restricted these thoughts are indeed.
It was these thoughts which dominated and governed the minds of gentlemen. The Victorian era was not a time of sexual restriction but rather sexual exploration, a time where pornographic fiction was bought to life. The above description taken out of my secret life reveals how explicit the minds of some of these Victorian men were when it came down to their sexual thoughts. Still want to believe the Victorians were reserved? I think not…
Twenty first century changes. II
Agreed that in the twenty first century things have taken a change, women are no longer expected to have their bits covered up, men have become more open minded shall we say and no longer associate the sight of our ankles with prostitution. In this day and age we can have our bodies on show without men thinking we want to sell our bodies. The fear of being a fallen women is no longer indoctrinated into women’s’ minds. The sight of our skin no longer screams ‘shag me’ to the minds of men no more. Women are encouraged to dress freely and the way we dress is no longer deemed a valuable excuse for men’s sleaziness. Once upon a time in the Victorian’s world it was… If a woman had her ankles on show this indicated she was selling her body. How lovely it is that our ankles are no longer associated with a career in prostitution in the twenty first century, I mean could you imagine?
The woman who did it for her kids. III
“so I’se druv to it sir by poverty, and nothing in the face of Gods blessed earth, sir, shouldn’t have druv me but that for the poor babes must live”
The rate of ongoing prostitution in the Victorian period was far more intense than what it is now. Prostitution was not viewed with the sympathetic insight that we have in the twenty first century, where we understand that women sell their bodies because often they have no other choice. If a woman was a prostitute in the Victorian era it was simply because they had chosen that path, it was simply deemed as a pleasurable, easy career path for lazy or uneducated women. What determined a woman as a prostitute was also something entirely different to what a twenty first century thinker would consider a prostitute to be. Victorian’s believed that any woman who was having sex out of marriage was a prostitute. Complete nonsense, I know.
These closed minded views often came from the intelligent male species of that time of course. I mean nothing has changed there, males still persist on placing their views on such topics that they cannot possibly experience themselves for specific reasons. Henry Mayheur was one of these gentlemen who went round exploring the streets of London in attempt to get to know prostitutes on a personal level. Only he didn’t do that at all. Instead he judged them and simply placed them in some sort of category; “Those that will not work” is what the lovely Mayheur labelled these Victorian prostitutes, which I find both ironic and highly ignorant. I mean the majority of the time women would sell themselves because their husbands and children needed to be fed but by no means it’s okay to label them as workless. ‘The proper Victorian gentleman, with his respect for order, account books, profits, and method, naturally expects that these virtues should apply as well to the world of sex’. These men were clearly incapable of viewing prostitution with the empathy and sympathy it demanded, the only way they could make sense of it was to think of it as a form of business.
Mayheur makes a lovely attempt of trying to explain to his reader how these women ended up as prostitutes, however in doing so he only emphasizes how corrupt men’s thoughts and perspectives were when it came down to these matters. “Others have been waiting maids in hotels, or in service in good families, and have been seduced by servants in the family, or by gentlemen in the house, and be taken themselves to a wild life of pleasure”.
One must admire Mayheur for his complete ignorance. He has just described a series of events that don’t sound the least bit ordinary, and yet his conclusion is dismissive of everything he has just described. Any normal person in Mayheur’s position would have acknowledged that these poor women took themselves to a life of prostitution because of men themselves. “They were either ‘seduced’ by servants in the family, or by gentlemen in the house.” What Mayheur really means here is that at one point these women were completely victimized. He skilfully sugar coats the disturbing reality of it all with the aesthetically pleasing term ‘seduced’ to make the reader view what the men did as a more pleasurable experience for the women. When in reality it was simply wrong and corrupt. All in all you must agree with me in saying that these so called ‘gentlemen’ were really a bunch of well suited pervs who lacked self-control.
The woman who did it for herself. IV
“I have the most expensive things sometimes, and when I can I live in a sumptuous manner, comparatively speaking”.
Although the majority of women who prostituted themselves did so for their children or husbands this was not the case for all of them. Some women prostituted themselves for their own benefits of living a more luxurious, extravagant life. You must take into account that there wasn’t many ways for a woman to earn her own living in the Victorian era, their options were limited. It was Victorian men who were in control of everything financially. If a woman decided to prostitute herself out of her own free will the money she made belonged to herself. Prostitution gave the Victorian woman her own financial independence, one which was not controlled or dominated by a man. In the twenty first century women have many ways of making their own money it is very rare now that you will come across a woman who is dependent on a male for her living. All in all you must appreciate the fact that we don’t need to sell our bodies in order to make a living anymore, women are able to be independent in several ways. It is easy to complain about these nine to five jobs but at least we no longer need to seek these far extremes to live an independent life.
Works cited :
- https://moodle.roehampton.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3727- Henry Meyheur extracts:
- - They were either ‘seduced’ by servants in the family, or by gentlemen in the house.”
- - “Those that will not work”
- https://www.gutenberg.org/files/30360/30360-h/30360-h.htm - (My secret life document):
- - The proper Victorian gentleman, with his respect for order, account books, profits, and method, naturally expects that these virtues should apply as well to the world of sex’
By Alisia Argyrou