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Experiences of successful second -generation Chinese American women with cultural stereotypes and parental expectations

Frieda Wong, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In this qualitative study, I examined the experiences of second-generation, Chinese American women who are between the ages of 20 and 30. In particular, I examined the experiences of these women with cultural stereotypes and parental expectations. A sample of 39 women completed surveys. Five of these women also participated in interviews, which served as the basis for detailed biographies focusing on (1) the women's views of existing stereotypes and parental expectations and (2) the effects of those stereotypes and parental expectations on their lives. Most of the participants described compelling stereotypes they have encountered in the dominant culture including the “model minority” stereotype as well as gender-specific stereotypes such as the perception that Asian women are exotic, sexual toys. Daughters described their parents as expecting them to attain financial security, practice filial piety, marry acceptable men, and be thin and feminine. Daughters who are the oldest children in the family also described expectations that they should care for their younger siblings and help their parents navigate the English-speaking world. In addition, the participants expressed mixed feelings about the stereotypes and parental expectations. Building upon the surveys and the interviews, questions and directions regarding future research are proposed.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Wong, Frieda, "Experiences of successful second -generation Chinese American women with cultural stereotypes and parental expectations" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110567.