Chicanas During WWII

840 Words4 Pages
The promotion of women to the workplace was apparent in WWII, but the zoot suit movement of young Chican@s forming their own unique society and social empowerment through fashion was less conspicuous. Chicana introduction into the U.S. high-wage workforce was an unprecedented leap forward for Chicana worker equality. Chicanas worked along-side white men, while maintaining proud Chicana, neither American nor Mexican, roots. During WWII, Americans planned to “unite the races” for the benefit of the war and to uphold rigid American social standards. Rather than acknowledge the racial and cultural differences that are essential to personal meaning and ethnic identity/heritage, Anglos wanted to dispose of the so-called “castes” in favor of Americanizing inferior nationalities. Anglos assumed their cultural and social values superior, and perceived the extinguishing of diverse cultures as a gift to members. During this time young Chicana workers furiously and blatantly stepped into “superior” clothing while challenging gender roles by wearing mens' jackets and pompadours. They shed Mexican and American cultures and pissed off both worlds, forming their own empowering social movement. Anglos demonized so-called Pachucas as “racial antagonists” instead of exposing the true, Anglo-dominated, system. So, Anglo conquest for racial/social dominance was disguised as “can’t we all just get along?” (by maintaining the racially unequal social norms that comprise the American default that is comfortable for Anglos). The repercussions for mixing-up socioracial roles are always devastating and strongly evidenced in the Zoot Suit Riots. Zoot suits challenged segregation conspicuously. Chicano elders and siblings went off to war, leaving Chican@ yo... ... middle of paper ... ...iscuous, violent, and irrational category of race and gender. Traditional Mexican families highly valued their daughters’ virgin statuses over racial “purity”, while Anglos followed the typical model of reproductive segregation—but with the façade of integration that was inadvertently cultural assimilation, or, bigotry. Perceptions have changed today for the worse. In Washington state, there is a constant influx of migrant workers who are clashing with parents and society. Traditional values with Castilian roots encourage large families early-on. Calling women promiscuous and openly/publically shaming them is not socially acceptable anymore, however, women must assert sexuality to gain power in a male-dominated society that demands promiscuity. Still the target of judgment by Anglo-superiors, Chicanas are now required to sexualize rather than condemned for it.

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