Today’s Women Are Yesterday’s Prostitutes

It was more than a year ago that I first wrote that women’s liberation is more properly called women’s prostitution. At the time, I was saying it with evidence culled from personal experience and from traditionalist intuition, but I am now both pleased and horrified to say that I can buttress the statement with some apt historical facts, too.

A friend of mine doing research on historical sex roles in the United States sent me some interesting links describing the behaviors and lifestyle of 19th century “painted ladies” of the Wild West. Here’s an excerpt worth quoting in full:

In my second post I clarified that I was referring to prostitutes in the western states of the USA, where, in the nineteenth century, prostitutes achieved virtually every goal of early feminism.

At a time when women were barred from most jobs and wives had no legal right to own property, women like Jennie Rogers and Mattie Silks, the queens of Denver’s red-light district, owned large tracts of land and prized real estate.

Prostitutes made, by far, the highest wages of all American women. Several madams were so wealthy that they funded irrigation and road-building projects that laid the foundation for the New West. Jessie Hayman, Tessie Wall, and other madams in San Francisco fed and clothed thousands of people left homeless by the 1906 earthquake. Decades before American employers offered health insurance to their workers, madams across the West provided their employees with free health care.

While women were told that they could not and should not protect themselves from violence, and wives had no legal recourse against being raped by their husbands, police officers were employed by madams to protect the women who worked for them, and every madam owned and knew how to use guns.

While feminists were seeking to free women from the “slavery” of patriarchal marriage, prostitutes married later in life and divorced more frequently than other American women. While women were taught that they belonged in the “private sphere,” prostitutes traveled extensively, often by themselves, and were brazenly “public women.”

Long before social dancing in public was considered acceptable for women, prostitutes in the West invented many of the steps that would become all the rage during the dance craze of the 1910s. When gambling and public drinking were forbidden for most women, prostitutes were fixtures in Western saloons and they became some of the most successful gamblers in the nation.

Most ironically, the makeup, clothing, and hair styles of western prostitutes, which were maligned for their overt sexuality (lipstick was “the scarlet shame of street-walkers”), became widely fashionable among American women and are now so respectable that even First Ladies wear them.

So respectable now that even First Ladies do it. Doesn’t that say it all? In an age when the sitting president’s daughter is shaking her bare ass at cameras and the likely next president’s wife is plastered all over the news in a nude girl-on-girl photoshoot, it’s nearly impossible to remember what generations past thought of how women should behave themselves in public.

Suppose I hadn’t just showed my hand by telling you the following characteristics were all associated with 19th century frontier prostitutes, and try to think of what the following list would conjure in your mind:

  • Owns property.
  • Likes free health care.
  • Marries later in life.
  • Divorces frequently.
  • Travels extensively, often alone.
  • Avid and inventive social dancer.
  • Fixture in “saloons” (read: bars and night clubs).
  • Brazen and public.
  • Wears lipstick.
  • Overtly sexual makeup, clothing, and hairstyle.

Not so different from the average empowered feminist woman of today, no?

Granted, some things are notably different. The average liberated woman is usually not a fan of owning and using guns, but that’s because they’re even bigger fans of living in lily-white urban enclaves surrounded by effeminate men — not raucous cowboys. They’re also usually not successful gamblers or land owners, but they’ve more than made that up by being drug users and earning male salaries.

Aside from those two things, the average post-feminism woman of today has adopted every hallmark of the 19th century frontier prostitute. Decline alarmism is worth tempering, but it’s difficult to claim that a social shift like this is actually a good thing. I can hardly think of a way to more unambiguously demonstrate that social standards and cohesion have collapsed in the last two centuries, and especially in the last 50 years since the sexual revolution of 1969.

Of course, I am not the first one to make the argument that feminism turns decent women into prostitutes. I am not even the first one to notice this particular pattern at Social Matter. 19th century Americans had good reasons to look down on the behaviors and attitudes of prostitutes and I am certain they articulated them extremely well, extremely loudly, and decisively proved beyond a reasonable doubt that their arguments were superior to the defenders and supporters of powerful prostitutes and feminists. I am also sure that they lost anyway and that we are living in the aftermath.

The traditional view in the 19th century was that women should not own property, should be married early, should never divorce, should be modest, should remain near male relatives, should not hang out in or near bars or saloons, etc. This view was not born from arbitrary misogyny; it was born from a desire to keep ordinary women unassociated with prostitutes and the 19th century equivalents of strippers and camgirls.

That lipstick and the rest of the markers of prostitutes had such a bad reputation was not because of the arbitrary whims of The Patriarchy™, but because they facilitated prostitution. Women who owned property and used guns had more power than a lot of men, and therefore found it more difficult to find an appropriately dominant husband. Women who “painted” themselves with makeup and wore sexual clothing and hairstyles attracted all kinds of men, but didn’t make it easier to get married to any single one.

Women who got married later were at risk of never getting married at all, and in any case would limit their reproductive potential and therefore their mates — who wants to marry an aged woman, especially an aged prostitute, if they can marry a young, normal woman and have twice as many kids? Traveling alone and hanging around watering holes just tempts the loins and everyone knows it, and so on. All these basically anti-social and destructive behaviors used to be the domain of open prostitutes, but are now the domain of the high status “liberated” woman.

Is there more? Of course there is:

Inevitably, painted ladies had children, though attempts were made at birth control which was very primitive at the time. By the 1840s women could purchase Portuguese Female Pills (an abortion pill) or Madame Restell’s Preventive Powders, but it is unclear how effective these were.

(…) the most common form of birth control was abortion, which had also spread as a form of birth control to even the “respectable women.” In the years between 1850 and 1870 one historian estimated that one abortion was performed for every five to six live births in America.

If they were lucky, a courtesan would marry well and retire with enough money for a comfortable and respectable lifestyle. Those who married would normally become instantly “respectable” as it was considered impolite in the Old West to ask of a person’s background and most people were too busy to care.

So in addition to pioneering nightlife, late marriage, divorce, traveling, dancing, makeup, sexual dress, and the planks of feminism, 19th century American prostitutes also pioneered abortion and birth control. The quoted author above mentions that abortion had even spread to “respectable women,” but it’s clear what the vector of transmission was.

Respectable women didn’t start aborting their kids and then unfairly discriminating against sex workers who did the same. Sex workers aborted their kids because of their promiscuous and unhealthy sexual habits, and then melded into the general population as they got older, perpetuating and spreading the habit as well as cheapening the reputation of actual respectable women, since nobody wanted to admit that prostitution was tacitly tolerated and that ex-prostitutes (or not even ex-, possibly) were allowed back into respectable society after plying a degenerate trade.

The other main difference is that in 1866 abortion, birth control, overt sexuality, “partying” as we think of it today, and the like were considered unambiguously bad, and were tolerated as an unfortunate fact of human nature at best and violently suppressed at worst. Today, between the decades of sophistic pronouncements of the Supreme Court and the allied assault on traditional culture by the Cathedral, the raft of bad behaviors associated in 1866 with unrepentant syphilitic whores have become enshrined as fundamental human rights in law and furthermore celebrated as expressions of piety towards the ostensibly humanistic religion of social progressivism.

That is not just a condemnation of the very concept of human rights, but of the entire formal and informal apparatus of government of the United States, as well as the ideals of progressivism.

Anyone who listens to Ryan Landry’s Weimerica Weekly podcast might even be convinced that contemporary empowered women are worse than 19th century prostitutes. Between the hellish trends of young female teachers having sex with their students and the media gearing up to normalize literal prostitution, they’ve got a good argument going. Tinder, Seeking Arrangement, and the rest of the click-swipe-bang(-pay) crowd have already put us a good part of the way there.

The only question is if in another 25 years people will still remember at all that prostitution used to be considered a bad thing. For the sake of the good and decent women left out there, I sure hope so.

Mark Yuray is verified on Gab. Follow him there and on Twitter.

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21 Comments

  1. SecretForumLurker August 5, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    IIRC madams were also political players and part of the reason the wild west saw individual states extend women the right to vote and participate in politics well ahead of the nation.

  2. Although 19th-century America disapproved of prostitution, it was, like alcohol, legal almost everywhere until women were given the right to vote. I guess male voters see the absurdity of outlawing something that is so ridiculously easy to produce.

    Women eventually voted to legalize booze because they like to drink too, but they will never vote to legalize prostitution. They will always burn with hatred toward any woman who offers men a better deal than they do.

    1. “Women eventually voted to legalize booze because they like to drink too, but they will never vote to legalize prostitution.”

      I’m not sure that that’s true. I assume there are polls on whether prostitution should be legalized out there broken down by gender. You might or might not get the answer you’re looking for.

  3. Ab Ramus Aureus August 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I could have written this post two years ago when I met the man who owns the life rights to the late Gabrielle “Dolly” Wiley, the Black Widow of Prescott, AZ. I wrote a treatment to be pitched to HBO or Netflix because it seemed like a natural part of the feminist, social progressive zeitgeist. Would it have been helpful in reversing the decline, no, but I liked the irony of being a man that produced the story that progressive women would welcomed as a historically correct portrayal of an empowered, famous, independent woman who pussypass-ed her way out of jail time for (allegedly) murdering 5 of her husbands when they No longer provided her a lifestyle of tingles. As an act of cognitive dissonance, I imagined they would never make the connection of – oh yeah, she is all those things, but at the end of the day she’s a prostitute, a whore! This generation would likely label it with a make term, like entrepreneurial. Porn stars (you said strippers and can girls) are the current standard bearer. I look at so many high school and early college girls that make me think – that’s great, you won’t even have to go home and change. You can go right from class to the audition.

    Great Post, actually worth donating to.

    dr story starts in 1913,

  4. Prostitution is, of course, an ancient craft, but it’s interesting that you focussed on 19th Century America. The nature and structure of that society was such that I think it was the first time that prostitutes could deal with men on equal terms. With a derringer in her garter, and a purseful of Eagle dollars the whore in the Western Territories was just another customer, who could either shoot you or trade with you.

    I can’t argue with the facts in your post – they’re OK. But….there’s a huge echoing silence in your text – one that should continue “and therefore we need to do the following. Item 1, we need to …..etc., etc.”

    Let’s fantasize. King Mark the First, absolute ruler of the North American Provinces, has just started his first day at the office. Item one on the agenda is the role of women in our society. A huge problem, so let’s just turn the clock back to 1850 and…..well… you can’t. No can do. You can legislate until you’re blue in the face, but disenfranchising 50% of your population in one fell swoop will cause chaos. OK, then. let’s ban education for all females. Almost overnight tens of thousands of underground schools will open up that will result, in a very short time, with a better educated female population than their male counterparts – you will make education cool for all girls. Fine. Let’s just fire all female government employees. This will be bad – your administration will collapse in a matter of weeks. Any more bright ideas?

    What was true in the Wild West is even more true to-day. A woman with an Armalite and a computer can be as useful, or deadly, as any male. Here’s an idea – how about a partnership of equals? Works for me.

    1. “What was true in the Wild West is even more true to-day. A woman with an Armalite and a computer can be as useful, or deadly, as any male. Here’s an idea – how about a partnership of equals? Works for me.”

      Totally unbelievably wrong. I’m sorry you’ve swallowed the equalist dogma so deeply.

      Women are psychologically and constitutionally incapable of possessing the killer instinct and leadership talent that men possess. This is not a muscular thing, nor an IQ thing. It is a psychological thing, a hormonal thing, it is a spiritual thing, a social thing — women can neither form nor lead Mannerbunds which are the basis of all action and civilization.

      “and…..well… you can’t.”

      Yes, you can.

      “You can legislate until you’re blue in the face, but disenfranchising 50% of your population in one fell swoop will cause chaos.”

      1. No, it won’t.

      2. We’re going to be disenfranchising 99.99% of the population, not just females.

      “OK, then. let’s ban education for all females.”

      We don’t have to ban education for all females. We have to ban progressive education, progressive schools, progressivism, progressive preachers, etc. Then we have to sex-segregate and educate in a traditional, classical format.

      “Almost overnight tens of thousands of underground schools will open up that will result, in a very short time, with a better educated female population than their male counterparts – you will make education cool for all girls.”

      This is laughable. If I was King Mark, I would be presumably truly sovereign, in which case if I banned all female schools, I would order my army to shoot anyone who tried to set up a female school, and then order the army to wipe any settlements off the map if they tried to disobey my Kingly rule.

      Of course, I don’t plan to do that, because I wouldn’t ban female schools, I would ban females from public life, and ban progressive schools.

      “Fine. Let’s just fire all female government employees. This will be bad – your administration will collapse in a matter of weeks. Any more bright ideas?”

      You’ve been commenting here for awhile, so I know you haven’t just escaped from Tumblr to comment here, but you sure sound like you have.

      The government will collapse in a matter of weeks if you fire all female workers? To quote a cuck — are you kidding me?

      And again, we’ll be firing ALL government employees, not just the women. How progressive of us!

      1. Thanks for the response Mark – a manly rebuttle. but I’ll try and match you, broadside for broadside. I assume you’re American (correct me if I’m wrong), and I am not. I guess I just see the world from a different perspective, so let’s begin.

        Whenever I see the word “dogma” my skin crawls – I try, really try not to be sucked in by any “revealed truth”, so have no idea what an “equalist dogma” is, and try to function in this life using my experience as a guide. Your key statement is:

        “Women are psychologically and constitutionally incapable of possessing the killer instinct and leadership talent that men possess. This is not a muscular thing, nor an IQ thing. It is a psychological thing, a hormonal thing, it is a spiritual thing, a social thing — women can neither form nor lead Mannerbunds which are the basis of all action and civilization”.

        In my experience this is just plain wrong. I can quote examples from history – Elizabeth I of England, Maria Theresa of the Holy Roman Empire, Catherine the Great of Russia, all had the guts and foresight to change the course of history. Good heavens, even the mother of my daughter could out-think most men, and knew what they were going to say even before they said it.

        OK, then, education. You say “This is laughable. If I was King Mark, I would be presumably truly sovereign, in which case if I banned all female schools, I would order my army to shoot anyone who tried to set up a female school, and then order the army to wipe any settlements off the map if they tried to disobey my Kingly rule.”, and “Of course, I don’t plan to do that, because I wouldn’t ban female schools, I would ban females from public life, and ban progressive schools.”

        Let’s take an example from recent history. In Poland during the Nazi occupation secondary and higher education was prohibited for all children, and any attempts to do otherwise were met with instant death for the organizers. No-one denies the efficiency or brutality of the SS in occupied Europe, and yet in Poland a large network of underground secondary schools and universities was formed which educated a whole generation of children. Poland in the 1940’s was incomparably poorer in intellectual and material resources than present-day America, so what do you really think would actually happen under King Mark in the American Provinces?

        I’ll assume my probable “escape from Tumblr” is an insult, so I’ll take that on the chin, even if I’m not sure what that means. But to continue, So you’re going to fire all government employees? Whatever negatives you may have about a professional civil service, you cannot deny that from the beginnings of recorded history civilizations, to grow, develop and flourish needed such a formation. Archaeology of pre-literate Neolithic societies indicates that some kind of administrative structure existed in settled communities even then. What you propose would mean a rapid collapse into a kind of “Mad Max” or “after the Apocalypse” dystopia, great to watch in the movies, but will result in the death of many millions of your fellow-countrymen, and probably your own. Do you really want that?

        Without wanting to insult you or other readers, let’s play the game of words. “Progressive” is seen as “bad”. Its opposite is, of course, “regressive”, or going backwards. Is this what you want? How far back do you want to go? As far as we know Nature only moves in one direction – we cannot stop it nor reverse its direction. Are you not like the Luddites in early nineteenth Century Lancashire in England, male weavers who tried to protect their livelihood as home-based workers who smashed the newly-constructed factories which could mass-produce the same articles at a fraction of the cost? Who remembers them now?

  5. Interesting, I had always thought many of these issues really became acute after the Jewish led 2nd and 3rd waves of feminism, but apparently that’s only half of the picture.

    1. This was a crucial, largely unstated takeaway, but yes. If you think “The Jews” are to entirely or mostly to blame for the destruction of natural sexual relations, then you’re “OK” with the Women’s Temperance Union and “OK” with what it morphed into: Women’s Suffrage. And if you’re “OK” with those, you’re a liberal, not a reactionary.

      1. Even back then those movements were probably made possible by female literacy. Lack of female literacy beforehand didnt have any of such movements occurring.

  6. “We don’t have to ban education for all females. We have to ban progressive education, progressive schools, progressivism, progressive preachers, etc. Then we have to sex-segregate and educate in a traditional, classical format.”
    I don’t always agree with you, Mr. Yuray, but with that paragraph, you have earned my utmost appreciation.
    I find the tendency to swing to the extremes on feminine issues quite problematic. I was educated the traditional way (segregated schooling, theology, philosophy, sciences, music, classical dance, painting, deportment, sports, domestic finances, and so forth) and that never hampered my ability to be a wife, mother, and a university professor of biochemistry by the age of 26. My mother came from the same system and with very similar results, by the way.
    I hope all will excuse the amount of personal information on this comment, but, as an example, it could be relevant to the topic.

    1. I do think though that apprenticeship in regards to being a wife and mother would also help immensely by aged women who excelled in doing so.

      1. That was implicitly understood to be the role of the mother and the overall example of the family.
        You cannot teach self-respect, decorum, and gentleness in the school.

  7. umm…in previous centuries RESPECTABLE women wore make up in public. Napoleon even admonished a woman of his court for being “too pale and sickly to appear!” and told her to go apply some rouge. Sure, even then there was plenty of women and men who hated it but it was the norm, especially in court where looking different from the rest was considered impolite. Impolite being the worst word you could throw around at people.
    Middle-class women prided themselves for taking care of their staff and poor people in their cities.

  8. As a woman, I find it highly offensive that you seem to think of me as just a piece of property for you to control, since I’m much more than that. I’m a human being, and I deserve to be treated as such. And if feminism promotes the idea that I deserve to be treated like a human being, then you’d better believe that I’m going to call myself a feminist. I mean, do you really think that us women are just going to let you men treat us like chattel? Of course we’re not. We’re going to fight back, and refuse to let you take our rights away, especially since many of those rights were hard-won in the first place. I really suggest you see a therapist about your obvious issues with women, rather than using those issues as an excuse to mistreat women.

    1. Translation “Spank me, oohhhh!”

      Back to the kitchen. Esoteric right-wing political theory is not for females.

  9. What makes my comments “oafish” or “appalling”?

  10. Read the rest of your posts. More “are you serious?” stuff.

    Banned for being boring and hysterical.

  11. You are clearly begging to be spanked and put back in the kitchen but we cannot do that over the Social Matter comments section.

  12. Much common sense here, but geez, what is with the blind spot that generally clear-eyed writers like you and Heartiste have regarding women with guns? You write:

    Women who owned property and used guns had more power than a lot of men, and therefore found it more difficult to find an appropriately dominant husband.

    Guns are absolutely irrelevant to the argument you are making here. Show me a country girl of the nineteenth century who wasn’t comfortable using a gun (girls under, say, ten and too small to hold one don’t count.) Plenty of the women from the older generation in my own family have, I would bet never been to a bar, but all learned to use guns as young women. Trouble finding an appropriately dominant husband? Please. Are you saying the men aren’t familiar with guns? The mens’ guns are generally higher caliber, that’s all.

  13. No one important September 1, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Do not kid yourself. Feminism is nowdays divided between condemning prostitution and celebrating it. It is only matter of time before the “prude” side of feminism finally submits and prostitution becomes the new normal. Ever heard of “slut shaming”? Soon they’ll focus their efforts in erradicating that practice.

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