Reading Discussion 3/27

A theme in U.S. Women’s history that seems to keep resurfacing in our readings is the role of women during wartime America.  This week’s reading from Modern American Women discusses this theme specifically.  The text says that the image of Rosie the Riveter, that was so popular during World War II, was representative of women of all shapes and colors and was relatively non-discriminatory.  While the U.S. mobilized 15 million service members to fight the enemies abroad, many jobs that were viewed as primarily masculine were taken up by women.  World War II provided many opportunities for women in America like Fanny Christina Hill who worked in a airplane manufacturing industry and Marion Stegeman who was a pilot flying non-combative missions for the U.S. military.

The article that struck me the most in our readings was the Japanese Relocation, which was the story of Monica (Itoi) Sone, a Japanese-American women whose family was forced into a Japanese internment camp during World War II.  I felt it was symbolic of the struggles that immigrant, non-white, and working class women still had to deal with despite the recent opportunities provided to middle-class white women in wartime positions.  The story reminded me of the Americanization of Hispanic immigrants to the U.S. that we read about in Unequal Sisters.  There seems to be a loss of culture that is required to conform to this Americanization.  While Monica Itoi Sone’s story was unique because of the harsh realities that she faced in Japanese internment, her struggle to find her true identity was something that was universal to American women during this time due to the emerging image of the new women in American society.

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