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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Japanese American Women's Self-Definition Facing Identity Crisis Through Intersectional Lenses


This essay examines the self-definition of Japanese American women through anintersectional lens, recognizing the intricate interplay of multiple identities shaped by factorssuch as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and more. While the portrayal of minority women bymainstream media as a homogenous group has resulted in damaging stereotypes that underminethe complexity and diversity of their experiences, the intersectional theory—whichacknowledges the complex interplay of social forces, identities, and ideologies that legitimizepower and disadvantage in society—offers a more nuanced understanding of the experiences ofJapanese American women. Incorporating historical context and Western feminist theories, thispaper argues that the adoption of an intersectional approach is necessary to better understand thediverse experiences of Japanese American women and their self-definition, also stressing thatpromoting diversity and intersectionality can advance research and support individuals, creatinga society that celebrates and embraces all of its members.

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