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Crowning the Nice Girl: Gender, Ethnicity, and Culture in by Christine Reiko Yano

By Christine Reiko Yano

After global warfare II, jap americans in Hawai‘i sought to carve a favorable area of interest of public citizenship in the neighborhood. In 1953 participants of the Honolulu jap Junior Chamber of trade and their other halves created a attractiveness contest, the Cherry Blossom pageant (CBF) Queen festival, which fast turned an annual spectacle for the becoming city inhabitants of Honolulu. Crowning the good Girl analyzes the competition via its a long time of improvement to the current inside of a number of frameworks of gender, type, and race/ethnicity. Drawing on huge archival study; interviews with CBF queens, contestants, and organizers; and player commentary within the 50th Annual competition as a volunteer, Christine Yano paints a posh portrait of not just a attractiveness competition, but additionally a community.
The learn starts off with the topic of attractiveness pageants typically and Asian American attractiveness pageants particularly, interrogating the problems they elevate, embedding them inside their histories, and reading them as a part of a world tradition that has taken its version from the leave out the USA contest. bankruptcy weaves a fancy photograph of the categorical old and modern contexts of the CBF Queen festival in its infancy via drawing close the festival from varied views, together with that of its organizer, the Honolulu eastern Junior Chamber of trade. bankruptcy 3 examines the early improvement of the CBF within the Fifties and Sixties, its glory years. Yano can pay shut recognition to where of the CBF in gentle of inner divisions in the jap American group, interethnic relatives in Hawai‘i, tourism, Nikkei groups within the continental usa, and kin with Japan. She follows the festival during the many years into the Nineteen Nineties, including corresponding "herstories"—extensive narratives drawn from interviews with CBF queens. each one narrative is preceded by way of a observation that issues up the topics of the interview and the altering position of jap American ladies and the CBF when it comes to race/ethnicity, gender, and identification. The paintings concludes via framing problems with race, ethnicity, spectacle, and group in the intertwined issues of niceness and banality.
In tying the Cherry Blossom pageant Queen competition to pictures of neighborhood, <i>Crowning the good woman demonstrates the ways that public occasions similar to gala's and sweetness contests are imperative to performances of id, tradition, social category, and politics. it will likely be of designated curiosity to scholars and students operating in anthropology, sociology, background, ethnic stories, and women’s reports.

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Extra info for Crowning the Nice Girl: Gender, Ethnicity, and Culture in Hawai'i's Cherry Blossom Festical

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Asian American women have thus become signifiers and objects of desire in mainstream America. Or, as bell hooks contends, “Otherness . . is offered as a new delight, more intense, more satisfying than normal ways of doing and feeling” (1998:181). I maintain that Asian American beauty pageants exist within this larger societal and historical framework, but also outside it in a parallel universe of relatively closed communities and ethnic enclaves. Asian American beauty pageants perform both for an insular audience, as well as to a lesser degree the larger society in particularized, circumscribed contexts.

10 In beauty pageants that include a talent portion in the competition, the choice of what to perform itself is an important manipulator and indicator of Asian (American) culture and identity. For example, Shilpa Dave notes of the Miss India Georgia contest: [The talent show] represents the most concrete example of the complexities of the imagined ideal “Indian” and how each contestant performs her ideal version of a transplanted Indian identity. . It is not how one performs but what one performs and what that represents to the judges and the community.

I maintain that Asian American beauty pageants exist within this larger societal and historical framework, but also outside it in a parallel universe of relatively closed communities and ethnic enclaves. Asian American beauty pageants perform both for an insular audience, as well as to a lesser degree the larger society in particularized, circumscribed contexts. According to Lowe, the distancing and exclusion of Asian Americans from national culture in the continental United States has “created the conditions for the emergence of Asian American culture as an alternative cultural site” (1996:x).

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