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Children and Youth During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era$
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James Marten

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479894147

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479894147.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

Sex, Abortion, and Prostitution in the Lives of Gilded Age Chicago Girls

Sex, Abortion, and Prostitution in the Lives of Gilded Age Chicago Girls

Chapter:
(p.166) 8 Sex, Abortion, and Prostitution in the Lives of Gilded Age Chicago Girls
Source:
Children and Youth During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Author(s):

Mary Linehan

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479894147.003.0009

This chapter explores issues of sex, abortion, and prostitution in the lives of girls in Chicago during the Gilded Age. In the late nineteenth century, some Chicago girls aged between twelve and twenty acquired unusual freedom and took the opportunity to make their own sexual choices. Labeled “bad girls” in the press, they shared a new sexual ethic with some adults who placed sexual expression at the heart of life and accorded girls the same right as boys to sexual freedom. Whether they were rebelling against Victorian morality, contemplating what to do about an unplanned pregnancy, or engaging in prostitution, these bad girls made their own choices and asserted agency and independence in a modernizing city.

Keywords:   sex, abortion, prostitution, girls, Chicago, Gilded Age, sexual expression, Victorian morality, unplanned pregnancy, bad girls

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