First Advisor

Linda A. Walton

Term of Graduation

Spring 1991

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Chinese American women -- History -- 19th century, Chinese women -- United States -- Public opinion, Prostitution -- United States -- History -- 19th century, United States -- Race relations -- History -- 19th century



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, iv, 165 pages)


Chinese female immigrants were active cultural contributors and participants in nineteenth century America, yet Americans often simplified their roles into crude stereotypes and media symbols. The early western accounts concerning females in China created the fundamental images that were the basis of the later stereotypes of women immigrants. The fact that a majority of the period's Chinese female immigrants became prostitutes fueled anti-Chinese feelings.

This thesis investigates the general existence of Chinese prostitutes in nineteenth century America and how they were portrayed in the media. American attitudes toward white women and their images of Chinese women created the stereotype of all Chinese female immigrants as immoral. Thus, they became unconscious pawns of nineteenth century American nativist forces wanting to limit and prevent Chinese immigration based on prejudicial and racist attitudes.


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