Delinquent Daughters: Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 / Edition 2

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Overview

Delinquent Daughters explores the gender, class, and racial tensions that fueled campaigns to control female sexuality in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America. Mary Odem looks at these moral reform movements from a national perspective, but she also undertakes a detailed analysis of court records to explore the local enforcement of regulatory legislation in Alameda and Los Angeles Counties in California. From these legal proceedings emerge overlapping and often contradictory views of middle-class female reformers, court and law enforcement officials, working-class teenage girls, and working-class parents. Odem traces two distinct stages of moral reform. The first began in 1885 with the movement to raise the age of consent in statutory rape laws as a means of protecting young women from predatory men. By the turn of the century, however, reformers had come to view sexually active women not as victims but as delinquents, and they called for special police, juvenile courts, and reformatories to control wayward girls. Rejecting a simple hierarchical model of class control, Odem reveals a complex network of struggles and negotiations among reformers, officials, teenage girls and their families. She also addresses the paradoxical consequences of reform by demonstrating that the protective measures advocated by middle-class women often resulted in coercive and discriminatory policies toward working-class girls.

Exploring the gender, class and racial tensions that fueled campaigns to control female sexuality in late 19th- and early 20th-century America, Odem traces two distinct stages of moral reform. She also adresses the paradoxical consequences of reform by demonstrating that the protective measures advocated by middle-class women often resulted in coercive and discriminatory policies toward working-class girls.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A highly readable, lively, and accessible work.

American Journal of Legal History

A rich narrative work that is attentive to issues of gender, ethnicity, race, and class.

Journal of Social History

A book that could, and should, be read by the beginner and the expert in a variety of fields.

Choice

As we think freshly about juvenile justice and social policy, this book should be most welcome.

Linda K. Kerber, coeditor of U.S. History as Women's History: New Feminist Essays

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807845288
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 12/11/1995
  • Series: Gender and American Culture Series
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 943,528
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary E. Odem is associate professor of history and women's studies at Emory University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 "White Slaves" and "Vicious Men": The Age-of-Consent Campaign 8
Ch. 2 Teenage Girls, Sexuality, and Working-class Parents 38
Ch. 3 Statutory Rape Prosecutions in California 63
Ch. 4 The "Delinquent Girl" and Progressive Reform 95
Ch. 5 Maternal Justice in the Juvenile Court 128
Ch. 6 "This Terrible Freedom": Generational Conflicts in Working-class Families 157
Conclusion 185
Appendix: A Note on Court Records 191
Notes 193
Bibliography 227
Index 255
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