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Defying the traditional Victorian way of life,
Coney Island at the beginning of the twentieth
century had a profound impact on societal norms.
Outside of Coney Island, women were often treated
as inferior while men ruled the throne in nearly
all aspects of life. However, within Coney Island
the gender gap was equalized. Coney Island served
as a catalyst to a change in the traditional
mindset. In traditional society, women were
resigned to the role of wife and homemaker. At
Coney Island, however, women experienced more
freedom of the opposite extreme. The hotels,
amusement parks, and rides and events that the
civilians encountered displays the immorality that
was assumed at the turn of the century and the
years leading up to womens suffrage.

In contrast
to the strict gender roles of genteel society,
Coney Island provided an open minded and
progressive atmosphere in which men and women
could be equals. In refined society, men and women
were two different types of social classes in
themselves. Revolving around the sphere of the
home, women followed the same gender role in all
aspects of their life. Women were renowned as
morally superior to men in that they were
identified as the angel of the house. They
supported and nourished the family while at the
same time working to ever improve the household.
Women catered to the needs of their children and
in a sense took all the family tasks into their
own hands. They cleaned house throughout the day
while simultaneously preparing meals for their
family to consume.

While having complete control
of the house and the moral upper hand, women
still, nonetheless, could not differ from the
judgment of their spouse. A man carried the
reputation of a hard working, industrious,
political figure that was treated with royalty
within his household. As opposed to women confined
to the house, men were very much involved in the
relations of the public world. All aspects of
industries and politics were experienced solely by
the male gender. After working long, hard days on
the job site throughout the week, men could return
to the comfort of their own home at night and
expect their spouses to gratify their needs. These
two extremes of life worked together, however, to
craft a well-structured lifestyle until the up
rise that occurred in the mayhem of Coney Island.
Coney Island receives its fame and fortune first
through the upbringing of elegant hotels.

flourished and over time became the backbone of
what Coney Island would soon progress into. West
Brighton, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach
Hotels flourished in the east and evolved as the
elite hotels throughout Coney Island. Kasson
proclaimed, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach
harbored the greatest pretensions to
respectability and managed most successfully to
secede from the name and taint of Coney Island
(Kasson 30). Through the creation of stylish and
extravagant hotels, men and women began to
fluctuate around Coney Island and its beautiful
beaches. Women could leave their traditional role
of housewife at Coney Island and not have to
prepare meals or attend to the upkeep of their
contemporary domicile. They could take off from
their daily work routines and experience a more
laid back and negligent approach to life.

In the
same sense, men frayed from their daily manual
labor and experienced an environment that was less
stressful and more untailored than what they
encounter in lifes conventional struggle. Men and
women began to enjoy themselves to an extent that
had been absent in the past. This initial increase
in visitor attractions began the soon drastic
change into what would become modern social chaos.
In the ongoing competition to attract visitors to
Coney Island, developers expanded the basic hotels
and traditional amusements to new adventurous and
alluring types of entertainment. Kasson writes,
Instruments of production and efficiency were
transformed into objects of amusement, and life
around them lifted from dull routine to
exhilaration pageantry (Kasson 73). Different
innovations such as ferris wheels, shooting the
chutes, and roller coasters provided a new type of
intense excitement that had never been sensed in
the past. These rides had visitors enjoying life
to its maximum as opposed to the customary,
labor-filled workday.

Through breath taking
moments of unimaginable delight, these rides could
take peoples supernatural dreams and turn them
into actual reality. All aspects of these rides
romantically attracted both men and women
together. In the past moral tradition, men and
women were modest in interaction with each other.
Now, men and women could ride along cuddling on a
love boat or wrap their arms around each other as
they circled around and around on a colossal
ferris wheel. With this new source of
entertainment, men and women could now openly
fraternize with each other without having to worry
about whether it was socially accepted. The social
atmosphere at Coney Island allowed for complete
strangers to peruse intimate relationships with
each other, often resulting from sexual innuendos.
This revolutionized lifestyle changed the way
people in this era viewed life. During the
continuing effort to attract visitors, amusement
parks were erected to uplift the reputation of
Coney Island.

Steeplechase, Luna Park, and
Dreamland were the backbone to the entire make up
of Coney Island not only as a source of tourist
attraction, but also as a new way of life. They
displayed scenes that instilled a new mindset into
the people that encountered their pleasure. Such
as, while entering the parks a womens dress would
be blown up above her waste by underground fans,
drawing the eyes of male spectators who crowded up
to see this event. Performers would dress up in
bejeweled costumes dancing to music, while casting
a spell onto their spectators. These parks were
designed to provide a new type of active
entertainment that would sweep people away from
the everyday worries and restraints of life, and
open a new way of life that could only result in
delight. Kasson writes, Thus Coney Island seemed
charged with a magical power to transmute
customary appearances into fluid new possibilities
(Kasson 53).

Outside of the pleasure of Coney
Island, men and women passed their days with hard
work and personal motivation. Whereas, within the
Island the day was free from all stressful labor,
and could be completely dedicated to personal
enjoyment. These parks released society from a
refined style of life and gave them a new on look
on the way life should be lived. This
transformation from the Victorian age to the
modern world within Coney Island had a lasting
effect on the lives of visitors. People would exit
the park and take on a new approach to the
lifestyle that would stumble their way. Each
individual that encountered the wonders of Coney
Island viewed life in a broad and more extensive

People came to realize that life was not
meant to be strict and defined; with an open mind,
even lifes wildest fantasies could come true.
Amusing The Million. Kasson, John F.. The
Unfinished Nation. Brinkley, Alan.
Industrialization. Class Notes. August 30, 2000.

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