Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific
Issue 37, March 2015

Filipino Daughtering Narratives:
An Epistemology of US Militarisation from Inside

Theresa C. Suarez
  1. This paper examines the relationship between militarisation and domesticity in the United States through an analysis of Filipino Navy families in San Diego, California and the narratives of adult daughters who either enlisted in the US military or participated in the US Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. As one of the first studies to focus on Filipino women who willingly enter the formal system of US militarisation, I make a much-needed contribution to the literature on gender and militarisation. I also bring together the disparate areas of study on US militarism, gender and colonialism in the Pacific with the fields of family studies and military studies in sociology in order to expand research on US military families from an interdisciplinary critical race perspective.[1] US colonisation of the Philippines at the turn of the twentieth century set the stage for Filipinos to become participants in a sustained, if uneasy entanglement with US militarisation. The racialised underpinnings of US imperialism in the Philippines, and their influence on immigration to the US, provide the critical context to the challenges Filipino military families face in US society. US colonial institutions in the Philippines established US rule through a language of racialisation that enabled the ideals of white bourgeois domesticity to become the idiom for civilising Philippine society.[2]

  3. The US military, as a colonial institution, reconfigures and reconstitutes structures of and ideas about race, gender and family by regulating and authorising certain notions of marriage, femininity, womanhood, morality and respectability, which are based on an ideal of white bourgeois domesticity. In this paper, I explore how militarised notions of femininity and womanhood create tensions inside the racialised, imperial context of gender relations in US Filipino Navy families: daughters join the US military and its auxiliaries to manage heteropatriarchal expectations of ‘feminine’ autonomy within military Filipino households, but in so doing, reproduce the system of values that constitute militarisation in the first place. To illustrate, I analyse three themes from select interview narratives with adult daughters in Filipino Navy families regarding notions of autonomy. First, a gendered militarisation of autonomy is regulated and reinforced in US schools through the Junior Reserve Officers'’ Training Corps (JROTC) and the Reserve Officers'’ Training Corps (ROTC) in US secondary schools and colleges. Second, the culture of US militarisation at US bases in the Pacific affords occasions for increased autonomy that may become noticeably reduced upon relocation to the continental US. Lastly, the entry of Filipino women into the US armed forces magnifies concerns about limited opportunities for realising autonomy in light of gendered expectations within Filipino military households in US society.

  4. Background
  5. Women and men who have joined the US military from Asia and the Pacific have been criticised for their participation in the State’s ability to carry out genocidal policies against people of colour in the US and all over the world.[3] For example, cultural expressions of Filipino military patriotism in Hawai‘i are criticised for ignoring US colonial power structures that oppress indigenous movements for sovereignty[4]; even as there are examples of indigenous men (Māori, ‘Oiwi, Hawaiian and Chamorro) who have joined colonial militaries to meet the needs of local communities and families, motivated partly by gendered expectations of masculinity.[5] Indeed, a range of scholarly perspectives examines how decolonisation and demilitarisation could be coterminous ends in Asia and the Pacific.[6] Thus, I seek to contextualise the gendered motivations behind US military utilisation (which may or may not mean actual enlistment) within Filipino immigrant military families in the US from the under-examined perspectives of adult daughters

  7. For the historical context, gendered and sexualised criteria for social and legal citizenship in the United States has organised migration from the Philippines to the US because of its historical status as a former US colony. In the early twentieth century, single Filipino men were permitted to bypass racially restrictive US immigration laws that had targeted Asian migrant groups because of their colonial status as US Nationals.[7] Such laws guaranteed the availability of exploitable labour for US agriculture, fishing and service industries, especially since Filipinos (like other racialised groups) were not eligible for privileges or protections from the state.[8] The ban on heterosexual ‘married’ labourers from the Philippines (presumably without family commitments) was intended to desexualise, destabilise and domesticate single men for hard labour exclusively, and coincided with efforts to severely limit women’s migration from the Philippines.[9]

  9. Yet women’s migration from the Philippines had expanded by the late twentieth century. The passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 provided the terms for family reunification and professional migration classifications that indeed extended gendered and sexualised migration from the Philippines in other ways.[10] The passage of this act arguably affirmed global US hegemony by promoting an ideal of ‘democratic’ universalism, especially in light of controversial US Cold War interventions throughout the Asia and Pacific region.[11] By the early 1970s, the political economy of migration reflected this ideal in a few industries. For example, the historical context of US civil rights affected the expansion and reclassification of long-time military ratings for men as domestic labour; yet, not coincidentally, the enlistment of women in the Philippines (and into the US Navy in particular) would also begin a slow ascent, presumably to meet domestic labour needs in the military that were once met by Filipino men. In another example, the professional migration of women nurses from the Philippines would fulfil the need for exploitable, highly skilled labour in US hospitals. Moreover, these Filipino nurses had been trained in US schools established in the Philippines during the US colonial period.[12] By the turn of the twenty-first century, women from the Philippines have constituted the majority of overseas labour in the global diaspora in certain industries, especially domestic work, and they are forced to maintain transnational households with mostly female kin.[13] In all, the gendered and sexualised migration of women and men in the Philippines has certainly impacted on the social organisation and reproduction of families over time, and hence, my research standpoint.

  10. Method
  11. My research is based on open-ended interviews with twenty adult participants gathered through snowball sampling between 2005 and 2010[14] in San Diego, with a specific focus on the interview data with women. Yet conducting qualitative interviews on Filipino military family relationships was a nuanced and delicate task precisely because asking questions about militarisation was equated with provoking disloyalty—a kind of treasonous act to family and country—which in most cases was undesirable and unwelcome. During the course of conversation, and especially when met with doubt about my intentions as a researcher, I briefly shared moments in my own life to encourage rapport.[15] I shared my own perspective as the eldest child and daughter of a Filipino Navy enlistee. My father enlisted in the US Navy in the mid-1960s at Sangley Point, Cavite in the Philippines, and was stationed at the former US Naval Training Center in San Diego. Public support of the US military is not uncommon in San Diego, as the city’s history is deeply entrenched in the militarisation of the region. My father was the third oldest of twelve siblings; and, with a high school education, the only child positioned for enlistment in the US Navy and to carry the family’s hopes for a better future. He eventually retired in the late 1980s with an E6 rank as Mess Management Specialist of the US Navy, which later helped him secure a second career as a cook in a California public high school cafeteria.

  13. While US military households are indeed varied in San Diego, and throughout the world where such households may be stationed for military duties, there are nonetheless experiences of loss, distance and anxiety characteristic of the culture of militarisation, which indeed affect relationships within military households. I experienced multiple deployments and base/school transfers throughout my early years, and the attendant social, cultural and emotional aspects associated with a military lifestyle. Moreover, during the 1970s and 1980s communication technology was limited, and unlike the availability of the internet, smartphones and other forms of technology that now exist to enable instant communication with deployed family members, former neighbours and classmates. Thus, the indelible traces of militarisation in US military families and households invite in-depth investigation. The messy, many-sided, and ‘kept’ stories from inside a stubbornly masculinised military culture will neither reveal every single detail, nor conceal details entirely from view; but perhaps, at best, widen how US militarisation is indeed a ‘system of institutions, investments, and values … much wider and more deeply entrenched than any specific war.’[16]

  15. While some children in Filipino military families do not join the military in adulthood, the instances of daughters who do in fact join the military and its auxiliaries beg further exploration. I initially approached the inquiry with broad theoretical questions to guide my methodological approach. How do Filipino daughters negotiate heteropatriarchal expectations of womanhood, especially from within a militarised context of racialised masculinity experienced by fathers who enlisted in the Philippines? Is joining the US military, or utilising its resources, expected of them? How does a critical feminist epistemological lens reveal the gendered nuances of military familial relationships? Admittedly, addressing these questions was difficult from the start. Despite my experience with qualitative methodology, and my own experiences as a Filipino military daughter, I anticipated that the participants would narrate US militarisation cautiously—precisely because of the familial context—and despite rapport.[17] Would the cultural norms of US militarisation dictate that, within Filipino military families, a kind-of discursive respectability would prevail and foreclose open critique? Cynthia Enloe states that the costs of war are usually undercounted—and war’s end entirely underestimated—when examining women’s lives closely.[18] As such, I examine the stories they tell of their lives more closely. I selected three illustrative interview narratives that offer an exploratory overview of the range of epistemologies inside US militarisation. The stories are largely kept in-tact to maintain the integrity and detail of each one. Pseudonyms are used for confidentiality. The daughters of Filipino Navy families in the study are emergent of the larger history of US colonialism that militarised the Philippines in the first place, and offer insightful perspectives from inside these processes.

  16. Gendered militarisation of autonomy
  17. Generalised perceptions of military benefits (e.g. social prestige, consumer discounts, career and educational opportunities, etc.) make it challenging to critique US militarisation from within Filipino military communities. The cultural context of military values (e.g. sacrifice, respect, leadership, etc.), compounded by a stake in such military benefits, reveals the privileged cultural geography of militarisation for those residing in the imperial centre (in the United States) despite ancestral ties to the Pacific. Some US military families of Filipino descent are indelibly and intimately marked by everyday experiences of US militarisation: the reproduction and maintenance of families once legally prohibited rely on military resources (such as housing allowances, hospital and dental facilities, educational and vehicle loans, etc.) which have extended past military retirement (such as pensions and even second careers). Others attest to ways in which military service has helped to support impoverished kin in the Philippines through occasional remittances (like goods and cash), or in some cases, by chain migration to the US that eventually became more restrictive by the late twentieth century.[19] Conversely, for those remaining in the Philippines, the wake of US militarisation in the Pacific has ushered in social, cultural, economic, political and environmental consequences that have gone unnoticed or been ignored by compatriots abroad, despite the clamours for justice.

  19. In particular, the notion of autonomy (or self-reliance), within the context of US military culture, constitutes gendered expectations of femininity for daughters – yet only insofar as responsiveness to masculinised authority is upheld and respected. Living within a heteropatriarchal cultural milieu of ‘discipline’ and ‘values’ within a larger colonial history is arguably in constant tension with the possibilities of seeking out de-militarised, de-colonial futures.[20] In other words, opportunities for increased autonomy reflect the gendered militarisation of their everyday lives as gendered and sexualised processes.

  20. Prescribed autonomy in us schools
  21. In the first case study, Elaine reflected on how her sense of autonomy was directly mediated by active participation in the JROTC program at a secondary school in San Diego, where adherence to hierarchical authority and military structure is a hallmark of the unique training.[21] The question arose whether the militarisation of US schools by way of ROTC programs enhances the initiative, opportunity and achievement for young women over the long-term, or if it disguises the shortcomings of US schools to offer meaningful support for all students within a range of socioeconomic circumstances. Ultimately, the notion of autonomy for Elaine is only made legible within a highly militarised context for secondary education that engenders heteropatriarchal notions of femininity and sexuality.
  22. Elaine

      I just chose that [JROTC] as an elective because I think I wanted to try something different. I think I wanted to get an idea about what my dad did in the military. I had no intentions of ever joining at that time. But actually, that was the best experience in high school because that’s where I met my best friends,… I think it created a belonging.

      [JROTC] is just like a class. You get a schedule. In the classroom, you learn about military history. There are always two or three instructors … different classes at the same time [for] upperclassmen [sic] and the lowerclassmen [sic]. Once a week, you’d do physical fitness. During the week, you’d do extracurricular.… If you go somewhere, you’re going to be marching. It’s a military structure … when you get in trouble, you’d do push-ups! I actually tried practicing push-ups that summer, in case I got in trouble! There’s different [ROTC] clubs and activities that you can join where you can also compete. There’s always something for everyone, and there’s a lot of student leaders in there. After my first year, I was the one teaching people. I just liked it because I felt like it was a lot of people who were outsiders … and we’re all like friends. The school didn’t really care about us. They didn’t even consider any of our stuff ‘sports’ even though we practiced every day after school.… We did so much for the school, but they never really recognized us…

      … [ROTC] actually did help me out because I did decide to join the military after, so I came in as an E-3 rather than an E-1. I was going to go to San Diego State because I got accepted. But then I was like, ‘Who’s going to pay for school?’ and I don’t know if I’m even going to be that serious about school. So then I got a job.… And I was going to school, too. But I think I was trying to find myself. I was very lost.… One day, I was just driving, and I was like, ‘I’m going to join the military.’ It was really, literally, like that.

      So, I joined the Air Force. I was going to join the Navy, but I didn’t. I’m not a good swimmer.… I’ve been on many ships for sea cruises in ROTC, where I stayed at was the officer’s quarters, so I couldn’t imagine sleeping in the other quarters where it’s really, really small … I definitely didn’t want to do the Army.&##133; It wasn’t a job I wanted to do. I know I wanted to do medical, and the Marines don’t really have medical because they use the Navy. So I thought, well, I’ll just join the Air Force. And then I actually signed up and everything! I took an ASVAB [Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery] in high school because you could take it just for fun. That’s what I did.

      I just signed up one day and told my dad I joined the Air Force.… I was already 19, but it was like—they never saw me as an adult, you know? I wanted to get away from my parents because I knew my parents would never let me leave. I wanted to go somewhere. I wanted to try to find myself, kind of wanted to be alone. I think my mom was shocked. She didn’t want me to go. But I told her I already signed up. Then my dad was like, ‘Well, if you’re going to join, the Air Force is the one I want you to join.’ My dad was fine with it. I think I kind of wanted to [join]—the military [took] care of you. They train you. It wasn’t like I was going out somewhere without having a place to live. I felt like I would’ve been taken care of, and I’d come back if I wanted to, or if I wanted to make a career out of it.– For my dad, he definitely didn’t want me to join the Navy because he didn’t want me living in a ship…

      … [Mom] didn’t want me to go because she wants me to live with her forever and ever! Because I’m a girl! We had a conversation, and I’m sure this had to do with me wanting to leave. See, part of it was dating … And my parents always treated my brother differently. She would always say, ‘But he’s a guy; you’re a girl, and you’ve got to be really careful.’ She really sheltered me. She sheltered me too much. I wanted to get away from that.

    Restricted autonomy at us bases abroad
  23. In the second case study, Larissa’s sense of autonomy was not only mediated by unfavourable experiences with a college-level ROTC scholarship program, but was further unnerved by memories of autonomy experienced abroad, when her family was stationed on the US base at Okinawa.[22] The location incited fond memories of her parents’ ancestral homeland (at least in comparison to the US), not to mention a perception of security constant military surveillance seemed to provide. While these circumstances shaped her (and her parents’) sense of autonomy abroad, once the family returned to the US, the sense of autonomy notably reverted back, presumably out of concern that the US cultural landscape was too lenient for raising daughters, and as such, did not meet her parents’ expectations. [23]

  24. Larissa

      When I was six years old, my dad received his first (and last) overseas base assignment. We were to relocate to Okinawa, Japan. We knew very little about Okinawa and had only vague assumptions of what Japan was like. My mom heard that Japan got pretty cold during the winter, and sometimes it even snowed. I remember her packing all of our sweaters in our luggage and putting everything else in boxes, which we wouldn’t receive until six months after arriving in Okinawa. Despite that, my parents loved it already. They felt it reminded them a lot of the Philippines. And the Philippines wasn’t far away at all—about a four hour flight versus the 18 hours it takes to get there from San Diego.

      Then we moved to a single house in Kadena Air Force Base, the biggest base in Okinawa. This was my first experience living on a base. It looked a lot like a typical suburb, where all of the houses looked exactly the same. All of our neighbours were military families, of course, and most of my classmates were military brats. I say most because there were exceptions. Some people were employed by the Department of Defense, like at the schools or government buildings, but were civilians, so they lived on-base and their children attended the base schools.

      When we moved back to San Diego, I had to readjust to ‘civilian’ life. In San Diego, I was at a school where most of the students had known each other since kindergarten. Some were military brats, but not all. But basically, everyone for the most part was born and raised in San Diego. This was a huge contrast to living in Okinawa, where we all knew that this was a temporary home for us. Base assignments usually only lasted four years. Few were able to extend their stay to another four years. Everyone around you literally came from all over the United States, from all different walks of life … on a military base where everyone comes from everywhere.… There wasn’t a specific ‘cool’ way to dress, talk, or act because everyone came from places that had their own definitions. It was the complete opposite in San Diego. I was only in 6th grade when I came back, but already there was so much pressure to look a certain way, act a certain way, and gain acceptance.

      Another big difference I noticed was how much less freedom I had once we moved back to San Diego.… My mom always felt that Okinawa was so much ‘safer’ than San Diego, and living on a base made her feel more secure. As a result, we were allowed to run around the neighbourhood and play with other children until sunset—as long as we finished our homework, of course. I had so much independence at such a young age.

      I went to a high school in San Diego that didn’t have a ROTC program, nor did any of the schools nearby. I knew what ROTC was because I had older cousins who joined the program when they were in high school. My dad encouraged me to apply for the Navy ROTC college scholarship, which provided recipients a full ride to college, plus a monthly stipend and money for books. The catch was that you’d have to serve in the US military for at least four years after graduating from college. I was good to go, until I had to take the medical examination that the ROTC program requires … they disqualified me from the scholarship. In the meantime, I was still looking for a way to pay for college, so I decided I’d join the Air Force ROTC program in hopes of earning a scholarship later on, and also that they wouldn’t medically disqualify me. My military career didn’t last very long. I was in Air Force ROTC for about three months until I had to take the medical examination again and failed once again for the same reason as last time. Although I was upset at first when I was booted out of the program, I figured it worked out for the best. Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I wasn’t medically disqualified. I think ultimately it just wasn’t for me, but I think I could’ve done well in it if I had wanted to.

    False autonomy with a military career
  25. In the last case study, Lorraine’s pursuit of autonomy followed the paths laid previously by enlisted family members, including her father and other sisters who had enlisted in the Philippines during the early 1970s. Ultimately, she discovered that despite a full-time career in the US Navy, her experiences of autonomy did not necessarily improve as a co-provider for the family and a co-caregiver (for her in-laws).[24]

  26. Lorraine

      I enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 1979 in San Diego. I was 21 years old at the time. My dad was also in the Navy. He joined in 1965. My mother eventually came over from the Philippines. There are eight of us brothers and sisters. I came in 1977 with a sister. I have two other sisters who came even earlier in 1974 because they joined the U.S. Navy in the Philippines. They were among the first few women to join there. Everybody in our family started to join the military. We followed our father’s footsteps. Everyone joined the U.S. Navy except for one who joined the Air Force…

      … I was stationed in San Diego the whole 10 years! It was hard because when the kids started coming, things changed. When I had my first child, the U.S. Navy wanted to send me somewhere on a ship. I said no, I’ll just stay here… It was hard. I was in the Reserves. Then I went back in the Navy and got orders here [in San Diego]. That’s when I met my husband. We were both active military at the time.

      Military housing is like renting an apartment: it’s wasting money, and [the military] can take it away. We lived in an apartment in town for a while when we started out [where] no kids were allowed—but they allowed pets! When we had [our first child], they gave us advance [notice] to move out, [so] we looked for a house. We looked around and finally found one. We’ve lived here since 1982.

      The challenge of being a military family is taking care of the family [when] you’re away. I tried to make sure that one or both of us [parents] were there, but he travels … he was [stationed] on a ship. When he was away, it was hard. I traveled, too. Sometimes I had to go out on the weekends to do my job. On the weekends, I’d get long hours. When [my husband] was gone, I had to manage everything. When we had our first [child], he was out in sea. And before we had his parents over … I had to go house by house looking for a babysitter. A Pilipina babysitter. I found one … [and] another for a back-up. My husband’s parents stayed with us while the kids were growing up for 13 years. That helped a lot. I still had duties to the kids, but having them helped so much. My father went back [to the Philippines], because he didn’t want to stay [in the United States]. I don’t think [my children] have any interest [in joining the U.S. military], but they can join what they want to join.

      I did administrative work. Back in the 1970s or early 1980s, there were only few women joining the Navy, but I had a few friends. There actually was one who was [stationed] here, and we had the same bunk. I was up there, and she was on the bottom. Another two of us were at [women’s] boot camp at the same time. Now both men and women have [boot camp] together. We still keep in touch. There were about four or five of us, and we’re all retired [now]. We all met in San Diego recently. We got together again. Before I retired, I was able to request my command [for me] to temporarily be on a ship for sixteen days to experience being on a ship. We went up to Vancouver and then we came back. It was a very long leave for me! It was my first time on a ship from top to bottom [then] to the engine room … [and] it was so very hot in there! [The Navy] said we had to go through training for the transition [to retirement], where they tell us what to expect … [because] you expect to still have that authority.

  27. My aim in writing this paper was to draw attention to the importance of an epistemology of US militarisation from inside immigrant Filipino military families, and the perspectives of daughters on experiences of negotiating gender and sexual expectations of femininity. In particular, I highlighted how Filipino military daughters who joined the US military or its auxiliaries have done so in order to pursue autonomy as an ideal reality that is socially constructed within the context of US military culture – and, hence, only achieved through military affiliation, and insofar as masculinised authority is upheld. An area for future research is the militarisation of youth in the US educational system. The US military as a social institution maintains a widespread reputation as a means of achieving social and legal citizenship, which is linked to gendered expectations of masculinity and femininity in families.

  28. References

    [1] See Barrie Thorne and Marilyn Yalom (eds), Rethinking the Family: Some Feminist Questions, Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992; Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, New York: Basic Books, 1993; Giuseppe Caforio (ed.), Handbook of the Sociology of the Military, New York: Springer Publishers, 2006; James A. Tyner, Military Legacies: A World Made By War, New York: Routledge, 2010; Sinisa Malesevic, The Sociology of War and Violence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

    [2] See Vicente L. Rafael, White Love and Other Events in Filipino History, Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.

    [3] See Andrea Smith, ‘Heteropatriarchy and the three pillars of white supremacy: Rethinking women of color organizing,’ in Color of Violence: The INCITE Anthology, ed. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Cambridge: South End Press, 2006, pp. 66–73.

    [4] See Candace Fujikane, ‘Foregrounding Native nationalisms: A critique of antinationalist sentiment in Asian American Studies,’ in Asian Americans After Critical Mass, ed. Kent Ono, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005, pp. 73–97; Dean Saranillio, ‘Colonial amnesia: Rethinking Filipino ‘American’ settler empowerment in the U.S. Colony of Hawai‘i,’ in Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse, ed. Antonio T. Tiongson, Edgardo V. Gutierrez and Ricardo V. Gutierrez, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006, pp. 124–44; and Vernadette Vicuna Gonzales, Securing Paradise: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai‘i and the Philippines, Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

    [5] See Ty P. Kawika Tengan, Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai’i, Durham: Duke University Press, 2008; and Theresa C. Suarez, ‘Militarized Filipino masculinity and the language of citizenship in San Diego,’ in Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asian and the Pacific, ed. Setsu Shigematsu and Keith L. Camacho, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010, pp. 181–201.

    [6] See Haunani-Kay Trask, ‘The color of violence,’ in Color of Violence: The INCITE Anthology, ed. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Cambridge: South End Press, 2006, pp. 81–87; and Setsu Shigematsu and Keith L. Camacho (eds), Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asian and the Pacific, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

    [7] See Laura Hyu Yi Kang, Compositional Subjects: Enfiguring Asian/ American Women, Durham: Duke University Press, 2002; Yen Le Espiritu, Home Bound: Filipino American Lives Across Cultures, Communities, and Countries, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; and Victor Bascara, ‘"Within each crack/a story": The political economy of queering Filipino American pasts,’ in East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture, ed. Shilpa Dave, LeiLani Nishime and Tasha G. Oren, New York: New York University Press, 2005, pp. 117–36.

    [8] See Rhacel S. Parreñas, ‘"White trash" meets the "little brown monkeys": The taxi dance hall as a site of interracial and gender alliances between white working class women and Filipino immigrant men in the 1920s and 30s,’ in Amerasia Journal vol. 24, no. 2 (1998): 115–34; Dorothy B. Fujita-Rony, American Workers, Colonial Power: Philippine Seattle and the Transpacific West, 1919–1941 , Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; Linda Espana-Maram, Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles’s Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920s–1950s, New York: Columbia University Press, 2006; and Rick Baldoz, The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898–1946, New York: New York University Press, 2011.

    [9] See Ronald Takaki, Pau Hana: Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii 1835–1920, Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1983; Yen Le Espiritu, Asian American Women and Men: Labor, Laws, and Love, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1997; and Dawn B. Mabalon, Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California, Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

    [10] See Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans: An Interpretive History, Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991.

    [11] See Jodi Kim, Ends of Empire: Asian American Critique and the Cold War, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

    [12] See Catherine Ceniza Choy, Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History, Durham: Duke University Press, 2003; and Espiritu, Home Bound.

    [13] See Espiritu, Asian American; Charlene Tung, ‘Caring across borders: Motherhood, mMarriage, and Filipina domestic workers in California,’ in Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: An Historical Anthology, ed. Shirley Hune and Gail M. Nomura, New York: New York University Press, 2003, pp. 301–15; and Rhacel S. Parreñas, The Force of Domesticity: Filipina Migrants and Globalization, New York: New York University Press, 2008.

    [14] An invaluable research assistant, Paola Rodelas, conducted and transcribed additional interviews for the project in 2011.

    [15] See Django Paris and Maisha T. Winn (eds), Humanizing Research: Decolonizing Qualitative Inquiry with Youth and Communities, Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2014.

    [16] Gwyn Kirk, ‘Gender and U.S. Bases in Asia-Pacific,’ FPIF Foreign Policy in Focus, 14 March 2008, online: (accessed 9 April 2015).

    [17] Suarez, ‘Militarized Filipino masculinity and the language of citizenship in San Diego.’

    [18] Cynthia Enloe, invited talk on ‘The gender ideology of war & militarization: Picking up the pieces—when does a war really end? Some feminist clues,’ Department of Women’s Studies, California State University San Marcos, 8 April 2010.

    [19] See Bin Yu, Chain Migration Explained: The Power of the Immigration Multiplier, New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC, 2008.

    [20] See Stephen Cherry, Faith, Family, and Filipino American Community Life, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2014.

    [21] Interview with Elaine, San Diego, California, 24 March 2012

    [22] Interview with Larissa, San Diego, California, 29 June 2012

    [23] For local Japanese children of Okinawa after World War II, however, experiences as ‘intermediaries’ of US and Japanese colonial relations at this ‘contact zone’, have been characterised by competing gendered and sexualised notions of autonomy/independence (even ‘decency’) in relationship to US militarisation. Arguably, experiences of childhood on- and off-base, for Filipino daughters of US military servicemen and for local Okinawan daughters, beg further research into how children of Asian/Pacific ancestry become relatively powerless, if ambivalent, ‘intermediaries’ of US colonial rule in the Asia/Pacific region. See Masakazu Tanaka, ‘The sexual contact zone in occupied Japan: Discourses on Japanese prostitutes or panpan for U.S. military servicemen,’ in Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, issue 31 (December 2012), online:, accessed 7 September 2013.

    [24] Interview with Lorraine, San Diego, California, 18 July 2004.


Published with the support of Gender and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University.
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