Start Date

20-4-2017 12:45 PM

End Date

20-4-2017 2:00 AM

Disciplines

European History | Gender and Sexuality | Women's Studies

Subjects

Prostitution -- Italy -- Florence -- History, Women -- Italy -- History -- Renaissance (1450-1600), Women -- Italy -- Social conditions -- Renaissance (1450-1600)

Abstract

In accordance with the general opinions towards women at the time, the establishment of the Office of Decency (known as the Onestá) in Florence, Italy during the Renaissance served to dehumanize the women participating in the profession. While many argue that the Florentine Onestá was established to preserve the city’s image, the ultimate intention of the ordinances was to use women as tools to regulate male behavior. Drawing on the remaining ordinances established by the Onestá as primary source material, this paper identifies the utilization of prostitutes to restrict the defiling of “virtuous” women by men through regulations on attire and residence, as well reduce homosexual behavior by encouraging the exploration of heterosexual desires through available prostitution. With the dissolution of the Onestá in the seventeenth century and the resulting criminalization of prostitution, the negative societal beliefs associated with prostitution have persisted into modern day.

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Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/19795

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Apr 20th, 12:45 PM Apr 20th, 2:00 AM

Using “Evil” to Combat “Evil”: The Regulation of Prostitution in Renaissance Florence

In accordance with the general opinions towards women at the time, the establishment of the Office of Decency (known as the Onestá) in Florence, Italy during the Renaissance served to dehumanize the women participating in the profession. While many argue that the Florentine Onestá was established to preserve the city’s image, the ultimate intention of the ordinances was to use women as tools to regulate male behavior. Drawing on the remaining ordinances established by the Onestá as primary source material, this paper identifies the utilization of prostitutes to restrict the defiling of “virtuous” women by men through regulations on attire and residence, as well reduce homosexual behavior by encouraging the exploration of heterosexual desires through available prostitution. With the dissolution of the Onestá in the seventeenth century and the resulting criminalization of prostitution, the negative societal beliefs associated with prostitution have persisted into modern day.