During World War II some women took extreme measures through prostitution to find independence in a very unconventional way. Though some may view their type of occupation as degrading or exploitive, it was far from it. They had the courage and strength to fight against the Hawaii system and demand full rights of citizenship. These women, in many ways, were leading a revolutionary movement.
The prostitutes of Honolulu worked on Hotel Street, a district full of brothels operated solely by women. Though prostitution was illegal in Hawaii, it existed as an open, regulated system thought to mediate the sexual desires of lower-class soldiers, sailors and workers “If the sexual desires of men in this predominantly masculine community are going to be satisfied, certainly not one of use would rather see them satisfied in regulated brothers than by our young girls and women” (Bailey and Farber 432). Not only were these women vital to the Hawaiian community and the military government, they were also making $30,000-$40,000 a year roughly $30,000 more than the average working woman.
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the women of the houses were governed by strict rules. They were not allowed to leave their district or to be seen in respectable areas. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor many of these women looked to help and nurse the injured men, and even turned the brothels into a resting area for the overflow of the wounded. During this disruption of the society, these women took a chance “They moved out of the district and out of the shadows. They bough and leased houses all around Honolulu up the rises, down by the beaches, in fashionable neighborhoods”(Bailey and Farber 435). Eventually, the women began to be noticed and the people of Hawaii were outraged “Their too-public presence signaled to all who watched that one set of controls was being challenged” (Bailey and Farber 436).
Though the military police did not care where they lived and were...