Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Social Work


Sociology, Social Structure and Development.


Ilcan, S.




This study examines the various ways that the reform movement contributed to the rise of the burlesque industry in London, Ontario, during the period of 1885 to 1917. The purpose of this research is to draw attention to the uneven and contradictory ways that the behaviour of burlesque dancers and other wage-earning women were regulated. Moving beyond the stated aims of moral reform groups and their campaigns, this thesis focuses on the regulatory techniques used to control women at the turn of the century. Analysis of theatre programs, promotional advertisements, press releases, local newspapers and other accounts, highlights the ways that burlesque dancers and single wage-earning women were morally regulated. It is argued that middle class moral reform groups constructed an agenda that would protect and secure their social, political and economic interests in the name of morality. This research, however, reveals that these women were the victims of moral corruption, not by male procurers or the temptations of city life, but by reformers themselves. The moral reform campaign invented the category of female delinquent to legitimate the constant examination of women's moral characters. London moral reformers did more to produce and maintain images of women as sexual delinquents than to prevent them from sexual danger.Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1999 .M334. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 43-05, page: 1634. Adviser: Suzan Ilcan. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1999.