Sex And Danger In Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family, And Nation In Argentina (Engendering Latin America)
Publish Date: 1995-01-01
Author: Donna J. Guy
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A study of prostitution necessarily examines questions of power, class, gender, and public health. In Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires these questions combine with particular force. During most of the time covered in this provocative book, from the late nineteenth century well into the twentieth, prostitution was legal in Argentina. Fears and anxieties concerning the effect of female sexual commerce on family and nation were rampant.
Donna J. Guy looks at many aspects of the debate that followed an escalating demand for prostitutes by Argentines and European immigrants. She discusses the widespread fear of white slavery, the merits of medically supervised municipal houses of prostitution, the rights of local governments to restrict the civil liberties of citizens and foreigners, the censorship of literature and music dealing with the plight of prostitutes, and the potential criminality of unsupervised working women who might abandon their families. Guy also describes attempts to deal with female prostitution: rehabilitation, modifications of municipal bordello laws, and medical programs to prevent the spread of venereal disease. She makes clear that the treatment of marginal women by liberal politicians and doctors helped promoted policies of repression and censorship that would later be extended to other unacceptable social groups. Her study of how both local and national government in Argentina dealt with these women reveals important links between gender, politics, and economics.