In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

550Southwestern Historical (QuarterlyApril became even more "seasoned politicians who operated much like the men of the legislature," and they branched into such formerly "male" positions as city council members, county sheriffs, and superior courtjudges (148). I am not entirely convinced that women politicians became "legislators first and women second" (162) Osselaer documents many continuities in die politics of female elected officials in the 1930s and 1940s, as they continued to champion maternalist concerns, cluster in the social welfare committees of the state legislature, and define themselves as independent-minded feminists in campaigns for female jury service and access to birth control. Osselaer's evidence suggests a different argument to me: that while women integrated themselves more fully into the political system, they also continued traditions rooted in the autonomy of women's organizations and an evolving feminist political agenda. Although I may quibble with some ofOsselaer's arguments, Winning TheirPlace is a wonderful book, full of lively political women and new insights about their activism. I would like to see other scholars develop the tantalizing threads Osselaer briefly exposes in this monograph: the political activism of nonwhite women in Arizona, the trajectory of women's politics in the increasingly Republican state of the post WWII period, and the impact of "second wave" feminism on women politicians. San Francisco Stale UniversitySherryJ. Katz The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics ofMemory. By Catherine S. Ramirez. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. Pp. 256. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780822342861, 79.96 cloth; 9780822343035, 22.95 paper.) In this fascinating study of World War II-era Los Angeles, Catherine Ramirez examines the meaning ofthe historical invisibility ofpachucas, women ofthat city's Mexican-American youth subculture who were publically identifiable by their distinctive dress. As with their zoot suit-wearing male counterparts, pachucos, the young women's unconventional appearance and assertive behavior were cause for alarm among adults: their parents considered it evidence of the degradation of traditional Mexican cultural values, die Anglo public saw it as a challenge to the class order and betrayal of patriotic duty, and law enforcement associated it with juvenile delinquency and gang violence. But while the image of el pachuco would be rehabilitated by the Mexican-American civil rights movement of the 1 960s, la pachuca remained on the sidelines of Chicano narratives of resistance and group identity, when she appeared there at all. Ramirez begins her examination of la pachuca by analyzing contemporary accounts of events. Young women participated in the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon fight between rival youth groups and the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots, two events considered critical in die development of Mexican-American activism, yet their role was minimized or ignored altogether in the press. When pachucas did figure into newspaper accounts, it was as morally suspect characters. This characterization was due in large part to their defiance ofgender norms and to the fact that they did not fit 2Oi o Book Reviews551 the stereotype being pushed in die press of the patriotic wife and mother. Women who donned the zoot suit projected a working-class masculine identity that fed fears regarding the impact of women's wartime productive role on the postwar gender order. Moreover, heavy makeup and the short skirts of those who did not cross-dress signaled a dangerous and subversive sexuality at a time when "bad girls" were deemed a threat to servicemen's health and the war effort. As Ramirez shifts her focus to the 1960s, the connections between the invisibility of la pachuca during World War II and her invisibility in Chicano movement culture become clear.Just as U.S. nationalism during the war was highly gendered and rooted in the hetero-patriarchal family, so was Chicano cultural nationalism (the concept ofMexican Americans as a separate culture and nation) in the 1 960s. The ideal of lafamilia de la raza, of Chicano community as family, rendered invisible Chicanas who were not exclusively wives or mothers. La pachuca, an assertive woman in control of her sexuality who encroached on public space, threatened the traditional gender roles underlying lafamilia de la raza, and so she was either omitted from Chicano treatments of the era or sexualized and...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 550-551
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.