New Internationalist

Simply… Strange Behaviour

February 1994

new internationalist
issue 252 - February 1994

Simply...[image, unknown]
strange behaviour
Prostitution has always generated strange and hypocritical responses
from male-dominated society. As a result prostitutes, throughout history,
have found themselves in some bizarre situations...

Cartoons by ANGELA MARTIN

[image, unknown] [image, unknown] [image, unknown]
Prostitutes in Ancient Rome had their 'cells'
hidden away in the back of bakers' shops.
[image, unknown] [image, unknown] [image, unknown]
In medieval Europe, the Church often had
a controlling financial interest in brothels.
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The sight of 'indiscreet' women would provoke uncontrolled verbal ejaculations in the fifteenth century English cleric, Bishop Aylmer. He proclaimed them: 'fond foolish wanton tattlers, triflers, wavering, witless, feeble, careless, rash, proud, tale-bearers, eavesdroppers, rumour-raisers, evil-tongued, worse-minded, and in every way doltified with the dregs of the devil's dunghill'.
[image, unknown] [image, unknown] [image, unknown]
Punters' precise preferences were revealed when the detailed price list from Charlotte Hayes' brothel was printed in a 1779 issue of Nocturnal Revels. She retired with a fortune of $20,000 - a millionaire by today's standards.
[image, unknown] [image, unknown] [image, unknown]
Brothels in Tibet were painted yellow to signify
transferred holiness after a Dalai Lama had visited.
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The State of Nevada, US, has legalized brothels. But prostitutes are not allowed
to use certain shops, and must be chaperoned whenever they go out.
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Self-acclaimed prostitutes and those with 'criminal' convictions are
still barred from entering certain so-called 'developed' countries.
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Prostitutes, in all parts of the world and in all times,
have found themselves performing the role of therapist.

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This feature was published in the February 1994 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 252

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