A Feeling of Belonging: Asian American Women's Public by Shirley Jennifer Lim

By Shirley Jennifer Lim

When we think the actions of Asian American girls within the mid-twentieth century, our first recommendations should not of snowboarding, good looks pageants, journal examining, and sororities. but, Shirley Jennifer Lim argues, those are exactly the forms of relaxation practices many moment iteration chinese language, Filipina, and eastern American ladies engaged in in this time.

In A Feeling of Belonging, Lim highlights the cultural actions of younger, predominantly single Asian American girls from 1930 to 1960. this era marks a very important generation—the first within which American-born Asians shaped a severe mass and commenced to make their presence felt within the usa. notwithstanding they have been extraordinary from earlier generations by means of their American citizenship, it used to be merely via those probably mundane ''American'' actions that they have been in a position to triumph over two-dimensional stereotypes of themselves as kimono-clad ''Orientals.''

Lim lines the varied ways that those younger women sought declare to cultural citizenship, exploring such themes because the nation's first Asian American sorority, Chi Alpha Delta; the cultural paintings of chinese language American actress Anna may well Wong; Asian American early life tradition and wonder pageants; and the success of reputation of 3 foreign-born Asian ladies within the overdue Fifties. through donning poodle skirts, going to the seashore, and generating magazines, she argues, they asserted not only their American-ness, yet their humanity: a sense of belonging.

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Additional resources for A Feeling of Belonging: Asian American Women's Public Culture, 1930-1960

Sample text

For Japanese American women, three historical factors collided that made modern American culture particularly enticing. 83 Third, given that the right to become an American citizen through naturalization was denied exclusively to Asian immigrants, it is no wonder that their daughters sought to distance themselves culturally from immigrant non-American status. ”84 To prove their fitness as American citizens, the women of Chi Alpha Delta were eager to display their active citizenship to the UCLA campus.

98 Sorority  | “A Feeling of Belonging”: Chi Alpha Delta control over the courtship and marriage process ensured nuptials that would maintain class, ethnic, and community distinctions. In an article published in a UCLA campus publication, sociologist John Finley Scott argued that the institution of sororities “can ward off the wrong kind of men. It can facilitate moving-up for middle status girls. ”100 Yet being Japanese American added layers of complexity. For women of color, including the women of Chi Alpha Delta, the term approved had special salience that underscored the racialized nature of dating practices.

It was the European American sororities that came under criticism for elitist membership policies. Although National Panhellenic determined which sororities belonged on American college campuses, at UCLA undergraduate male students influenced the local social standings of each European American sorority house. In articles such as the one entitled “Who Went Where,” The Claw’s male editorial staff would rate the attractiveness of new sorority pledges. 53 The article’s authors granted the young female pledges of each house points that had “worth” according to a numer- “A Feeling of Belonging”: Chi Alpha Delta |  Image not available The Claw, December 1934.

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