Painted Women and Patrons: Appearance and the Construction of Gender and Class Identity in the Red Light District of Ouray, Colorado.

Author(s): Kristin A. Gensmer; Mary Van Buren

Year: 2016

Summary

Appearance-related artifacts from the Vanoli Block (5OR30), a late 19th and early 20th century sporting complex in the mining town of Ouray, Colorado, indicate that both the women working in the cribs and their patrons projected a working-class appearance.  An examination of artifacts through the lenses of performance and practice theory is supplemented with historical data regarding class, gender, and costume, and suggests that the sartorial choices made by these women and men emerged from the complex political and class relationships found in Western Mining towns.  This thoroughly working-class appearance stands in contrast to both the stereotypical image of the prostitute derived from the upper-class madams and brothel workers of the era and to previous research related to prostitution and brothel assemblages, which emphasizes emulation of middle and upper-class fashions that do not appear to have been embraced by the lower-class women and men of the Vanoli Block.  

Cite this Record

Painted Women and Patrons: Appearance and the Construction of Gender and Class Identity in the Red Light District of Ouray, Colorado.. Kristin A. Gensmer, Mary Van Buren. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434963)

Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 593