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Asian American women before 1950 - Essay Example

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Asian American Woman before 1950s It is fair to state that the status of Asian American women before 1950s was not any better than that suffered by minorities from any racial-ethnic group during this period. This is amply attested by first-hand accounts of discrimination and maltreatment by early immigrants…
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Asian American women before 1950
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Download file to see previous pages Prior to this the community endured a century of hardships that mitigated their integration into mainstream American socio-culture. If racial prejudice was a sizeable challenge on its own, the issues were compounded for womenfolk. The rest of this essay is an overview of the Asian American experience prior to 1950. Sociological theories on ‘gender’ and ‘intersectionality’ were perused as were classic literary works and essays pertaining to the subject. It is instructive to look at theoretical perspectives that make lucid the Asian American women’s experience before 1950. During much of the evolution of sociology, studying history and society through the axis of gender was not common practice. Race, ethnicity, age, class and nation were the common definitive parameters for groups that were studied. Understanding socio-history from the perspective of gender was mainly an offshoot of feminist movements of mid-twentieth century. The second wave feminist movement was especially instrumental in introducing this approach. The relational identities of women of 19th century as either someone’s daughter, husband or mother is fully applicable to Asian American women. ...
.the goal is to discover the range in sex roles and in sexual symbolism in different societies and periods, to find out what meaning they had and how they functioned to maintain the social order or to promote its change”. (Scott, 1986) Seen in the backdrop of this theoretical framework, it is fair to claim that Asian American women had a decidedly more arduous century prior to 1950 than their male counterparts. This is evident in the literary works of the time, especially that of Jade Snow Wong’s ‘Fifth Chinese Daughter’. The short novel is filled with real life events of the author as she lived through the transition from a native Chinese culture steeped in tradition and the more liberal outlook afforded in America. The book shows the patriarchal familial set up among the Chinese and how this can be a hindrance for immigrant women looking to avail of opportunities for personal and professional growth in the New World. ‘Intersectionality’ is another useful theoretical basis for studying Asian American women’s experience, for it brings the core problems from different domains to the analysis. It helps the studied group to “invent and inhabit identities that register the effects of differentiated and uneven power, permitting them to envision and enact new social relations grounded in multiple axes of intersecting, situated knowledge.” (Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin, 2013) The theory is seen in action in Jew Law Ying’s ‘Coaching Book’ - a touching historical document that brings out the extent of Asian American women’s struggle for citizenship in the USA. The work is a translation of the ‘coaching book’ which the author’s father sent to her mother prior to the latter’s long voyage to America. The book ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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