Annotation: de Jesus, Melinda (ed). 2005. Pinay Power

de Jesus, Melinda (ed). 2005. Pinay Power: Theorizing the Filipina/American Experience. New York: Routledge.

In this collection of essays by Filipino American peminists, Peminism “signifies the assertion of a specifically Filipina American subjectivity, one that radically repudiates white feminist hegemony as it incorporates the Filipino American oppositional politics” (de Jesus, 5). Peminist theorizing requires the recognition, rather than the rejection, of the Philippines’ history of colonization, “for to acknowledge and theorize its violence and its exponential repercussions is to take the first steps toward decolonization and empowerment”(de Jesus, 5). What distinguishes peminism is its “gendered analysis of imperial trauma” and the “articulation of Pinay resistance to imperialism’s lingering effects: colonial mentality, deracination, and self-alienation” (6). Catherine Choy (Chapter 5) writes about the erasure of American imperialism in the Asian American history. Linda Pierce (Chapter 2, 33) writes that decolonization may be attained by piecing together fragments of personal histories. As she writes, “Your parents and grandparents, having inhaled the air in the Philippines with slow and deep breaths, raise you with certain “givens” – known variables that are less of a conscious understanding and more of a subtle awareness – like the act of breathing itself” (32). The authors promote the use of Philippine psychology, such as the ideas of diwa (spirit), kapwa (person), and loob (interiority), in the study of the Filipino experience.On the Filipino diaspora, de Jesus argues, like E. San Juan, that the forced migration of Filipinos must be seen in the context of the Filipinos’ search for home, driven by their search for economic relief. The diaspora must also be seen within the context of the present-day imbalance, which is a result of colonialism/imperialism (29). The government’s perception of the diaspora as its own version of “foreign aid” (as in giving aid) is “symptomatic of a consciousness that remains uncritical of its marginal situatedness” (de Jesus, 29). The starkest and most depressing legacy of colonization is the resulting patriarchical bias, which has allowed the exploitation of women as entertainers and mail-order brides (de Jesus, 29).

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