Kathy Peiss Temple University Press, 1987 Library of Congress F124.P38 1986 | Dewey Decimal 974.71041
What did young, independent women do for fun and how did they pay their way into New York City's turn-of-the-century pleasure places? Cheap Amusements is a fascinating discussion of young working women whose meager wages often fell short of bare subsistence and rarely allowed for entertainment expenses.
Kathy Peiss follows working women into saloons, dance halls, Coney Island amusement parks, social clubs, and nickelodeons to explore the culture of these young women between 1880 and 1920 as expressed in leisure activities. By examining the rituals and styles they adopted and placing that culture in the larger context of urban working-class life, she offers us a complex picture of the dynamics shaping a working woman's experience and consciousness at the turn-of-the-century. Not only does her analysis lead us to new insights into working-class culture, changing social relations between single men and women, and urban courtship, but it also gives us a fuller understanding of the cultural transformations that gave rise to the commercialization of leisure.
The early twentieth century witnessed the emergence of "heterosocial companionship" as a dominant ideology of gender, affirming mixed-sex patterns of social interaction, in contrast to the nineteenth century's segregated spheres. Cheap Amusements argues that a crucial part of the "reorientation of American culture" originated from below, specifically in the subculture of working women to be found in urban dance halls and amusement resorts.
"Brings together some of the most recent and innovative writing on the history of sexuality and explores the experiences, ideas and conflicts that have shaped the emergence of modern sexual identities."
Passion and Power brings together some of the most recent and innovative writings on the history of sexuality and explores the experiences, ideas, and conflicts that have shaped the emergence of modern sexual identities. Arguing that sexuality is not an unchanging biological reality or a universal natural force, the essays in this volume discuss sexuality as an integral part of the history of human experience. Articles on sexual assault, homosexuality, birth control, venereal disease, sexual repression, pornography, and the AIDS epidemic examine the ways that sexuality has become a core element of modern social identity in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States.
It is only in recent years that historians have begun to examine the social construction of sexuality. This is the first anthology that addresses this issue from a radical historical perspective, examining sexuality as a field of contention in itself and as part of other struggles rooted in divisions of gender, class, and race.
Part I: Sexuality and Historical Meaning
1. Passion and Power: An Introdtion - Kathy Peiss and Christina Simmons
2. Sexual Matters: On Conceptualizing Sexuality in History - Robert A. Padgug
Part II: The Emergence of Modern Sexuality, 1790 to 1930
3. "The Life of a Citizen in the Hands of a Woman": Sexual Assault in New York City, 1790 to 1820 - Marybeth Hamilton Arnold
4. "Charity Girls" and City Pleasurer: Historical Notes on Working Class Sexuality, 1880-1920 - Kathy Peiss
5. Movements of Affirmation: Sexual Meanings and Homosexual Identities - Jeffrey Weeks
6. From Sexual Inversion to Homosexuality: The Changing Medical Conceptualization of Female "Deviance" - George Chauncey, Jr.
7. "We Were a Little Band of Willful Women": The Heterodoxy Club of Greenwich Village - Judith Schwartz, Kathy Peiss, and Christina Simmons
8. The Black Community and the Birth Control Movement - Jessie M. Rodrique
Part III: Sexual Conflicts and Cultural Authority, 1920 to 1960
9. Modern Sexuality and the Myrh of Victorian Repression - Christina Simmons
10. Venereal Disease: The Wages of Sin? - Elizabeth Fee
11. "Uncontrolled Desires": The Response to the Sexual Psychopath, 1920-1960 - Estelle B. Freedman
12. The Homosexual Menace: The Politics of Sexuality in Cold War America - John D'Emilio
13. The Reproduction of Butch-Fern Roles: A Social Constructionist Approach - Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Madeline Davis
Part IV: Private Passions and Public Debate, 1960 to the Present
14. Mass Market Romance: Pornography for Women Is Different - Ann Barr Snitow
15. (De)Constructing Pornography: Feminisms in Conflict - Duphne Read
16. Gay Villain, Gay Hero: Homosexuality and the Social Construction of AIDS - Robert A. Padgug
About the Author(s)
Kathy Peiss is Associate Professor of History and Women's Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and author of Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-century New York (Temple).
Christina Simmons is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati-Raymond Walters College.