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 ladies within the mid-twentieth century, our first innovations will not be of snowboarding, attractiveness pageants, journal studying, and sororities. but, Shirley Jennifer Lim argues, those are exactly the different types of relaxation practices many moment iteration 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 generation—the first during which American-born Asians shaped a severe mass and started to make their presence felt within the usa. although they have been unique from past generations by means of their American citizenship, it was once merely via those probably mundane “American”activities that they have been in a position to conquer two-dimensional stereotypes of themselves as kimono-clad “Orientals.”

Lim strains the varied ways that those younger ladies sought declare to cultural citizenship, exploring such subject matters 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 formative years tradition and wonder pageants; and the fulfillment 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 info for A Feeling of Belonging: Asian American Women's Public Culture, 1930-1960 (American History and Culture)

Sample text

As one woman said, the members of Chi Alpha Delta were considered to be “top drawer,” meaning that they were women with status in their communities. Soror Alice Suzuki’s father was an insurance salesman. Frances Kitagawa explained that her father owned a building in town, and with the stock market crash, he lost everything but one piece of land, which he  | “A Feeling of Belonging”: Chi Alpha Delta farmed, a form of work he had never done before. Her parents bought her a car, albeit an “old Ford,” to get to and from school.

It would also be useful for women in professional settings, where they would have to interact with clients and bosses. These skills had particular salience for women who would not have learned them at home because of working-class and/or immigrant backgrounds. In addition, since prestigious European American clubs such as the Junior League were not open to racial and religious minority membership, same-race and religious clubs at colleges and universities were important socializers into middle- and upper-class activities that served to demarcate those who knew class-ap- “A Feeling of Belonging”: Chi Alpha Delta |  propriate behaviors and those who did not, and hence who was a “true” member of the class.

The women who were rushing would have to meet the sorors and express their personalities through conversation while accepting refreshments and dressing appropriately for each event. In case the sorors or prospective members needed guidance in what to wear, they had ample venues to observe appropriate fashions. The greater Los Angeles Japanese American community showed analogous preoccupation with correct contemporary clothing. For example, the annual Nisei Week festival typically held a fashion parade that showcased Nisei designers.

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