By Judy Tzu-Chun Wu
This is the 1st biography to discover Margaret Chung's impressive and complicated existence. It brings alive the bohemian and queer social milieus of Hollywood and San Francisco in addition to the wartime star neighborhood Chung cultivated. Her existence provides an extraordinary glimpse into the chances of traversing racial, gender, and sexual barriers of yankee society from the overdue Victorian period in the course of the early chilly struggle period.
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Extra info for Doctor Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity
13 Margaret’s presence in school demonstrates that her parents subscribed to Presbyterian views about the importance of education for girls. In fact, Christian missionaries organized the first schools open to Chinese children in Santa Barbara. Margaret’s status as the only Chinese girl in the class suggests that she gained exposure to mainstream American culture and interacted daily with non-Chinese Americans. It is unclear how many of Chung’s classmates were Mexican Americans. They constituted approximately 20 percent of the Santa Barbara population, a community double to quadruple the size of the Chinese.
On the one hand, she attempted to blend in to the social mainstream. On the other hand, unable to erase completely her femaleness or her Chinese ancestry, she capitalized on her “otherness” to obtain support and recognition. Chung’s twofold approach was a response to the uneasy coexistence of divergent social values during this era of transformation. During the early decades of the twentieth century, American norms increasingly shifted away from Victorian beliefs in inherent gender and racial differences to modern values of equality and cosmopolitanism.
The persistence and even strengthened intensity of discrimination encouraged “sex solidarity” and “race consciousness” even among those who asserted their individuality and rejected the Victorian notion that biology was destiny. the feminization of education In deciding to enroll in a private high school, Chung chose an unusual path for someone of her race and economic background, but not necessarily for her sex. 5 The presence of women in these schools represented a victory for advocates of female education.
Doctor Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu