Gender equality is an issue constantly in conflict within societies of Eastern and Western countries. Although Vietnamese women living in the United States have equal access to jobs and education and are able to be independent, they still choose to “incorporate the new realities of their lives into the ideological confines of the traditional family system” (Kibria 109). Tradition mandates that women are the support system of principles and values of the traditional Vietnamese family system (137). While Vietnamese women are more reserved and submissive to their husbands, Vietnamese-American women have discovered the strength and power to be the central figure within the newly defined collective household in order to survive and provide for
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Traditional femininity is to be expressed through modes of dress, movement, speech and actions; to an extent this is also true of Asian-American women in modern society. Although a traditional Asian women's timid behavior leads to a lack of individuality and self-confidence, Asian-America women have begun to shed the belief of fate, destined misery, and strived to speak their own minds. If women are given opportunities to pursue careers, they are expected to fulfill positions as nurses, textile workers, or teacher because women are supposedly more caring and nurturing. The working wife/ mother is also expected to cook, clean and care for the whole family while the husband only needs to work. Although Asian-American women in America must live up to the same expectations as men do and still be able to have dinner on the table, their contemporary counterparts are more self-sufficient and takes part in making family decisions. Asian-American women can be anything in America because American society and law gives both men and women the opportunities to choose their own destinies.
My mother, a refugee from Vietnam, still struggles with the idea that I am so indifferent to what others say about me, especially elders who say I am too bold and disrespectful. Although she, herself, raised me to be strong and independent, I am not supposed to express myself in front of elders (Nguyen 7). My mother did not come to this