chapter  8
21 Pages

Feminism and Friendship

In 1870 Josephine Butler, prominent English campaigner against the 1866 Contagious Diseases Acts, published A n Appeal to the People of England on the Recognition and Superintendence of Prostitution by Governments', condemning the Acts as 'deeply degrading' because they assumed that men were utterly and hopelessly slaves of their own passions'.1 The Acts governed naval ports and cities with military garrisons, allowing for the compulsory medical examination and incarceration of prostitutes. For Butler and her fellow campaigners, these Acts sanctioned prostitution as a necessary evil to meet the imperative sexual demands of soldiers and sailors. Instead, Butler proposed that 'adulterous husbands and fathers' abstain from fornication.