Laura Wilkerson

Laura Wilkerson
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USA
Birthday
July 27

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Salon.com
MAY 8, 2012 10:18AM

Girls Gone Wild, 1878 Edition

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            The following editorial was published in the June 27, 1873 edition of the Owen County Journal. It was originally published in the Philadelphia Times:

Girls on the Streets at Night

             It is not to be supposed that every child who walks on the streets at night is going to her ruin is the natural and logical result of this most reckless custom, and that the fact that the great majority of girls seem to escape unharmed, in no way relieves a parent from the responsibility of guarding his daughter from even the semblance of a possibility of danger. Certainly this custom of parading on the streets at night must be in every case ruinous to maidenly modesty and womanly dignity. It cannot but promote vulgarity of thought, speech and manners. It subjects every girl to insult, if not by word or act, at least in the thoughts of men who meet her and who naturally will associate her with the outcast women with whom she has chosen to associate herself. It is not pleasant to say these things about decent American girls, but all that we have said is true, and the girls themselves and their fathers and mothers ought to understand it.



            In 1878, in the first bloom of the Industrial Revolution, young women were, for the first time in large numbers, achieving some measure of financial independence and freedom from parental control as thousands of them left the farms for the factories and mills of the cities.  It is interesting to note here  the appearance of a strain of thought that persists in some segments of society to this day - blaming women for the thoughts of men.

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