Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Margaret Andersen

Committee Members

Denise Phillips, Lynn Sacco


In Victorian Britain, cultural expectations of gender, the expansion of empire, and the fear of degeneration through venereal disease created a unique historical moment that can be analyzed through the agency of media. In the mainland, media was used to direct the social and political movements surrounding the regulation of prostitution. In the empire, media was used to control the narrative of colonial holdings and keep public opinion in the mainland in support of empire. This project will attempt to look at the representation of prostitutes throughout the British empire and explain the media’s agency in the social and political movements dominating the discourse. Through the analysis of literature, photography, dress, and art, I will prove that the media influenced societal concepts of prostitution and, thus, changed the way policies were created.

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