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Woman in the Zoot Suit Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory

ISBN-10: 0822343037
ISBN-13: 9780822343035
Edition: 2009
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Description: The Mexican American woman zoot-suiter, or pachuca, often wore a v-neck sweater or a long, broad-shouldered coat, a knee-length pleated skirt, fishnet stockings or bobby socks, platform heels or saddle shoes, dark lipstick, and a bouffant. Or she  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 1/16/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.13" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.056
Language: English

The Mexican American woman zoot-suiter, or pachuca, often wore a v-neck sweater or a long, broad-shouldered coat, a knee-length pleated skirt, fishnet stockings or bobby socks, platform heels or saddle shoes, dark lipstick, and a bouffant. Or she donned the same style of zoot suit that her male counterparts wore. With their striking attire, pachucos and pachucas represented a new generation of Mexican American youth, one that emerged on the public scene in the 1940s. Yet while pachucos have often been the subject of literature, visual art, and scholarship,The Woman in the Zoot Suitis the first book focused on pachucas. Two events in wartime Los Angeles thrust young Mexican American zoot-suiters into the media spotlight. In the Sleepy Lagoon incident, a man was murdered during a mass brawl in August 1942. Twenty-two young men, all but one of Mexican descent, were tried and convicted of the crime. In the Zoot Suit Riots of June 1943, white servicemen attacked young zoot-suiters, particularly Mexican Americans, throughout Los Angeles. The Chicano movement of the 1960s1980s cast these events as key moments in the political awakening of Mexican Americans and pachucos as exemplars of Chicano identity, resistance, and style. While pachucas and other Mexican American women figured in the two incidents, they were barely acknowledged in later Chicano-movement narratives. Catherine S. Ramiacute;rez recovers the neglected stories of pachucas, drawing on interviews with former zooters. Investigating the relative absence of pachucas in scholarly and artistic works, she argues that both wartime U.S. culture and the Chicano movement rejected pachucas because they threatened traditional gender roles. Ramiacute;rez reveals how pachucas challenged dominant notions of Mexican American and Chicano identity, how feminists have reinterpretedla pachuca, and how attention to an overlooked figure can disclose much about history-making, nationalism, and resistant identities.

Preface
Acknowledgments
A Note on Terminology
Introduction: A Genealogy of Vendidas
Domesticating the Pachuca
Black Skirts, Dark Slacks, and Brown Knees: Pachuca Style and Spectacle during World War II
Saying "Nothin'": Pachucas and the Languages of Resistance
La Pachuca and the Excesses of Family and Nation
Epilogue: Homegirls Then and Now, from the Home Front to the Front Line
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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