Was Victorian society more invested in its girls?

Karen Abbott: I think that would be true to girls of a certain class. I think that if you were lucky enough to be born into a family where they valued you as a female, and considered you a delicate, proper, young Victorian lady you were probably very fortunate in that era, because you were . . . Restricted as your life might be, you were still comfortable and had a chance to have some sort of comfortable existence and happy existence. You know it wasn’t the case for a lot of women – the women especially who fell into prostitution. You know a lot of them, if their parents died they fell into prostitution. You know they . . . A lot of them were thrown out of the home. Even girls who were forced to take work as, you know . . . If a girl was lucky she would get a job at a factory maybe for $6 a week. At a lesser whore house she’d be making about $50 a week. And at the Everleigh Club she’d be making about like $300 a week. So you can see why people sort of geared toward prostitution. If you were born into the higher classes, of course that never really . . . that wasn’t even something you probably had to consider, so . . .

Recorded On: 1/22/08

It would depend, Abbott says, on their class background.

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