By Shirley Jennifer Lim
When we think the actions of Asian American girls within the mid-twentieth century, our first ideas will not be of snowboarding, good looks pageants, journal examining, and sororities. but, Shirley Jennifer Lim argues, those are exactly the varieties of rest practices many moment new release chinese language, Filipina, and jap 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 generationвЂ”the first within which American-born Asians shaped a severe mass and commenced to make their presence felt within the usa. even though they have been unique from prior generations through their American citizenship, it was once basically via those likely mundane ''American'' actions that they have been capable of conquer two-dimensional stereotypes of themselves as kimono-clad ''Orientals.''
Lim lines the various ways that those younger ladies 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 might Wong; Asian American early life tradition and wonder pageants; and the success of reputation of 3 foreign-born Asian ladies within the past due Fifties. via 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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Extra resources for A Feeling of Belonging: Asian American Women's Public Culture, 1930-1960
In addition, alumnae legacies were given preferential treatment. Not surprisingly, the mainly non-Greek UCLA campus did not idolize “exclusive” sororities. 50 Features and letters to the editor in campus publications such as the Daily Bruin and The Claw indicated that many had misgivings about the selection process for sorority rush. As one letter to the chancellor from a father of a ﬁrst-year student indicates, sororities were considered by many to be cruel in their rejection of potential members: There is just one matter on which I have heard a lot of adverse criticism from alumni, who have sent their daughters to the university, that is, the manner in which the women students are rushed.
Because the University of Southern California (USC) had a more established graduate school than UCLA, the young Japanese American women would frequently date young men from USC’s Nisei Trojan Club. Unlike many who attended UCLA, the Chi Alpha Deltas did not consider USC to be UCLA’s bitter foe in the war for LA’s university crown but rather believed its students of Asian descent to be allies. In fact, Frances Kitagawa could not recollect “going out” with more than one or two UCLA men and remembered numerous events with men from USC.
Thus, on their respective campuses, Asian American sororities bore the burden and privilege of being the visible Asian American organizations. Within the parameters of sororal aﬃliation, practices such as fashion and dating elucidate the imperatives of cultural citizenship. The wide array of social activities provided the women of Chi Alpha Delta appealing ways to explore and play with the formation of racialized middle-class femininity. For the purposes of pinpointing the signiﬁcance of the practices, this segment is organized into cultural citizenship as (1) performing modern mainstream American culture, (2) hybridity, and (3) demonstrating ethnic pride to those outside of the Japanese American community.