Chapter

Prostitution Proliferates

Amy Sueyoshi

in Discriminating Sex

Published by University of Illinois Press

Published in print February 2018 | ISBN: 9780252041785
Published online September 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780252050268 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5622/illinois/9780252041785.003.0005
Prostitution Proliferates

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This chapter links growing sexual freedom for whites to the rise of depictions of Chinese prostitutes in the late 1890s. White sex workers flocked to San Francisco for economic opportunities. Middle-class white women additionally defied earlier conventions of sexuality, by going out on dates, wearing more revealing clothes, and engaging in public displays of affection. As images of Chinese prostitutes mounted, Chinese women involved in sex work remained at an all-time low. American-born whites in fact dominated the sex industry. Depictions of Chinese women as morally bankrupt more accurately reflected white women’s modernizing sexuality as it simultaneously bolstered and justified the policing of Chinese women’s presence in San Francisco.

Keywords: Sexuality; sex work; whiteness; Chinese prostitutes; Femininity; San Francisco

Chapter.  8530 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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