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Word Count: 1,970
During the 16th century prostitution was a common profession amongst women China and Italy particularly Venice According to Margaret Rosenthal an active researcher on courtesans this phenomenon occurred because of the constraints that were put upon women In both societies female citizens had little rights compared to their male counterparts Whether these women belonged to the upper class or lower class they were highly expected to work within the confines of a family setting as a homemaker A womans role was limited to the domestic domain according to societal standards in these two places Thus those domestically disinclined began to look for alternative lifestyles As a result the profession of a courtesan became popular with women A courtesan was a type of upper-class prostitute renowned for her extreme beauty and lavish attire Unlike todays prostitutes who simply exchange sex for money they were more like professional lovers Most courtesans were gifted in literature and arts and in Venice all courtesans were subject to special schooling In both cultures at the time courtesans were viewed as a female symbol of elegance beauty and unruliness Prostitution was strictly prohibited in both societies However the numbers of courtesans grew Park 2 continuously between the years of 1500 and 1550 Although prostitution was illegal in both China and Venice it was often overlooked by the governments because huge profits benefited the governments and their respective economies One of the most prominent features of Venice during the 16th century was the courtesan Venetian courtesans of this period were not average prostitutes many were wealthy members of society Women that were born into a respectable family who already had inherited her dowries had the option of becoming a courtesan since they were the wealthiest best-dressed and most desired women aroundRosenthal 4 There was a special school designed for courtesans that only the upper class could afford In these schools courtesans received an education worthy of a well-born male as
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