Filipina War Brides

Date
2020
Authors
Magdua, Jeannie
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Abinales, Patricio
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Asian Studies
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The women who immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. after World War II as war brides grew up under colonial rule, learning English and developing a loyalty to the United States while in public school. Though the 1934 Tydings-McDuffie Act promised the Philippines independence in ten years, and the debates over Philippine self-governance were taking place mostly in Manila, people in the provinces continued to live their lives as subjects of the United States. Prior to World War II, the story of the Filipino immigrant in the U.S. was largely that of the single male struggling against the exploitation of his labor and the hardship of poverty. Moreover, his hardship was borne alone because there were laws that prohibited Filipinos from marrying white women and there were very few Filipinas who immigrated to the U.S. for them to marry. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, many of these Filipinos in the U.S. joined the U.S. military and were deployed to the Philippines to fight the Japanese occupation of their homeland. During their deployment in the Philippines, amongst the women of their home country, these Filipino-Americans found brides willing to return to the U.S. with them after the end of the war. World War II, therefore, was the start of another Filipino-American story, the story of the Filipina war bride. This thesis argues that the Filipina war brides I interviewed hold a positive view of their immigration experience in contrast to their male predecessors because a) their expectations were shaped by their colonial upbringing and Filipina feminism, b) their immigration was mediated through marriage and not labor and was, therefore, an immigration towards integration and not rejection, and c) their experience in Japanese-occupied Philippines stood in contrast to the hardship of laborers in the U.S.
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American studies, Asian American studies, Women's studies, Filipina, Immigration, Philippines, War Brides, World War II
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283 pages
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