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Love for Sale: Courting, Treating, and Prostitution in New York City, 1900-1945 (Gender and American Culture) [Paperback]

Elizabeth Alice Clement
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 26, 2006 0807856908 978-0807856901 1
The intense urbanization and industrialization of America's largest city from the turn of the twentieth century to World War II was accompanied by profound shifts in sexual morality, sexual practices, and gender roles. Comparing prostitution and courtship with a new working-class practice of heterosexual barter called "treating," Elizabeth Alice Clement examines changes in sexual morality and sexual and economic practices.

Women "treated" when they exchanged sexual favors for dinner and an evening's entertainment or, more tangibly, for stockings, shoes, and other material goods. These "charity girls" created for themselves a moral space between prostitution and courtship that preserved both sexual barter and respectability. Although treating, as a clearly articulated language and identity, began to disappear after the 1920s and 1930s, Clement argues that it still had significant, lasting effects on modern sexual norms. She demonstrates how treating shaped courtship and dating practices, the prevalence and meaning of premarital sex, and America's developing commercial sex industry. Even further, her study illuminates the ways in which sexuality and morality interact and contribute to our understanding of the broader social categories of race, gender, and class.

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Love for Sale: Courting, Treating, and Prostitution in New York City, 1900-1945 (Gender and American Culture) + Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Love for Sale would be an excellent addition to an upper-level undergraduate course in the history of sexuality or US women's history."--Journal of the History of Sexuality

Book Description

"Persuasive. . . . Adds to the social history of New York literature."--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Product Details

  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (June 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807856908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807856901
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How we came to be a dating nation January 11, 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a really in-depth and interesting study into the sexual and moral changes that occured in the United States during the first 50 years of the 20th century. I was taken with the level of scholarship, clear exposition, and insightful connections that the author brings to the whole subject of how gender/sexual roles evolved during this period. Although it is an academic book, it is nonetheless, an enjoyable and informative one.

J. W. Showalter, Ph.D.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! August 12, 2008
By Zebrato
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful book. It's fabulously researched, beautifully written, and has a compelling argument. Clement's book focuses on the 'gray area' of sexual exchange--the series of negotiations in between prostitution (on one end of the scale) and marriage (on the other)--that Kathy Peiss identified as 'treating.' In this fab book, however, Clement expands on Peiss' insight to show how central treating was to working class sexual practices, and situates treating in relationship to its near relations: prostitution, what we now call the 'sex industry' (exotic dancing, nude modeling, etc), heterosexual courtship practices, and what became known as 'dating' by the 1920s. Anyway, there's lots more to commend it. It's the next word on the history of prostitution and commodified sexuality in early 20th century America. I recommend it for teaching purposes, to be sure, but for general readers as well!
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