Cheap Amusements

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Peiss, Kathy. (1986) . Cheap Amusements. New York: Temple University. In Cheap Amusements, Kathy Peiss studies the customs, values, public styles, and ritualized interactions expressed in leisure time of the working-class women living in New York. The social experiences of these young women gives different clues to the ways in which these women constructed and gave meaning to their lives between the years of 1880-1920. The laboring poor’s leisure activity was brief, casual, and non-commercial. Amusement …

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…beaches, and the boardwalk, this was a place for all to go. Cheap amusements became a real problem especially for the women of the late nineteenth century. The amusements were blamed for debasing womanly virtues, segregating youth from family and fostering a dangerously expressive culture. Out of these cheap amusements came a “New Woman”. A woman who “relished personal autonomy and activity in the public arena and challenged the boundaries of domesticity and female self-sacrifice.”