Chinese-American Women In America Essay, Research Paper
By the middle of this century, Chinese women had been playing a subservient role for more than 2000 years. In a woman’s lifetime, she was supposed to obey her father when she was a girl, obey her husband when she got married, and obey her son when her husband died. She had no right to inherit family property and was not even allowed to keep her own name after marriage; she was addressed as her husband’s wife or her child’s mother. In addition, women were deprived of the right of education, and it was a virtue for a woman to be uneducated. The social status of women changed dramatically over the past few decades. They were encouraged to walk out of their houses and become active participants in society. Although many critical issues still exist in women’s status in China (Croll 1995). Chinese women, especially those who live in urban area, have witness fundamental changes in education, employment, and marriages. Like in Woman Warrior, Women should work toward equality, satisfaction and dreams for the future to meet the challenge of adjusting to a new culture and social life.Women writer mostly talk about themselves having difficulties in their lives and career before they would find happiness. The book “Woman Warrior” tells us the story about the narrator, which is Maxine Hong Kingston, who grew up in two worlds. There was “solid America”, the place her parents emigrated to, and the China of her mother’s “talk-stories.” (Amazon.com). The women who emigrated to the United States were coming to find their new lives and opportunities that they couldn’t have back in China. The women role in the United States now are more equal to men, but in China, it is still “the men” who has the most control. Base on my observation, Asian women tend to be the least control in the house and the men still have the power over the family. But base on the story of the woman warrior, she said that in talk- stories women were warriors and her mother was still a doctor in china who could cure the sick and scare away ghost, not a harried and frustrated woman running a stifling Laundromat in California (Woman Warrior). Well, I think that it is not always true but I sure think that Chinese women in America do have more opportunity than the one staying in China. It is also because their ability to speak English was not fluent and for that they would have hard time finding jobs. To be successful, women would have to face all the difficulties to be happy.The majority of Chinese women who joined their husbands in the US were well educated and employed in respectable professions in China (Croll, 1995). These female immigrants are usually unable to find a job to resume their professions in this new country due mainly language and cultural barriers. Therefore, they may encounter more difficulties in acculturation than those women who originally were in the tradition roles of housewife and mother. Perhaps language is not the only issue here; culture may have a lot to do with their choices, such as social interaction.Since the women’s social lives underwent a dramatic change due to immigration, they were asked to compare their current status with that in China. Their adjustment in the host country not only includes knowing a new language and culture but also experiencing the change from professionals to housewives such as Brave Orchid did. I have asked one of my relatives that is she happy with their current status? My aunt, Peiyin, came to this country eight years ago and still she couldn’t fit to the American society. “I am not quite satisfied with my current situation because I have not beenmerge in the social life here,” says my aunt and continues, “Ever since I came to this country, all I have done was give birth to two daughters. Though I have a minimum wage job now, I am still involve in the society. I guess one of the reason for the isolation is that I do not have a chance to be educated.” My aunt would rather go back to China if her life and status remain the same in this country. “I wish I could go back to China to continue my career. However, I have to stay to take care of my husband and my two daughters. One thing I know that if I stay here in the future, I would waste my time for my career.” The dramatic change that went to my aunt was not easy and she still hopes that the change will adjust her lives better in the host country.
Instead of directly comparing women’s status in two countries, age makes a major difference in the way U.S. women fit into family and society. For the traditional women or the one who is older, husbands are their bosses and they are very obedient. Younger female such as my mother is more independent and has a more equal relationship with their spouses. Both of my parents have their own opinion about the Chinese American women, but somehow I do believe my mother more. I think it is just because she is a woman who has to deal with all this in which she has to fit into the society and the new culture.The pressure one is under in adjusting to a new culture is more universal than gender related. However, the opinions on the amount and types of pressures experienced by males and females differ. I think that my father has more pressure than my mother does. “He has to worry about holding his job so as to provide economic support for our family. My pressure is rather caused by the tedious routines and boring life,” said my mother, “Other than that, I do not have to worry my food on the table.” My father has the responsibility of supporting the family, while my mother is concerned at the change of her current status by finding a job. My mother further explains that no matter whether one is a male or female, they must deal with many difficulties in adjusting to a new culture but women have more family responsibilities, such taking care of kids. Many Chinese-Americans express very different views in their evaluation of women’s status in the U.S., possible explanation to the phenomenon could be that none of them has actually looked into the issue, and their responses are primarily based on the own personal lives.Asian view education as a means to improve their lives (Scarella 91) and many Chinese women understand to relationship between continued education and the development of their career in the U.S. Some women has an immediate goal o work on a education due to language, culture and age barriers, responsibilities in their family, and limited support available, but some choose a career that requires less language skill. Although the Chinese women have experienced many difficulties in their adjustment and still feel lost, they have not given up. They have been trying to find a way out so that they may feel develop their potential in the new environment. Meeting the challenge of adjusting to a new culture and social life from professional to a housewife results in a great deal of pressure on these educated Chinese women. They have strong desires and motivation to continue their profession, but have not obtained the support accomplish their goals. As housewives, their social life is very much limited, which leads to isolation in this culture. They are fully aware of the relationship between acquiring the new language and pursuing their careers in this country, but they are able to improve their English proficiency.Language, culture, and opportunities through jobs are key elements to newcomers’ success in this complex society. Many immigrants were eager to participate in this new society but found major language and cultural barriers. As they country with the largest number of immigrants in the world whether it would be Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, etc, it is important that U.S. institutions be established to serve the immigrants needs in language acquisition, education, and employment. If timely guidance and support were provided, the acculturation process of immigrants would be greatly facilitated. The sooner Chinese women immigrants find their positions in a new society, the less pressure they will have to deal with, and the sooner they can make contributions to the society if they choose to pursue their careers.