GIs and 'Jeep Girls': Sex and American Soldiers in Wartime China

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2019

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Abstract

This article examines how sex affected the larger politics of the Sino–US alliance during World War II. By early 1945, Chinese from across the social spectrum resented the US military presence, but just one issue sparked a violent backlash: sexual relations between American soldiers (GIs) and Chinese women. Two interrelated, patriarchal narratives about sex emerged that spring. Starting in March, government-backed newspapers began criticizing “Jeep girls,” an epithet coined to describe the Chinese women who consorted with American servicemen. Rumors also circulated that GIs were using Jeeps to kidnap “respectable” women and rape them. Each narrative portrayed women’s bodies as territory to be recovered and inextricable from national sovereignty. These narratives resonated widely, turning Jeep girls into the catalyst through which all variables causing resentment against the US military presence intersected and converged. With Japan on the ropes, China’s allied friends now stood in the way of irreversibly consigning foreign imperialism to the past. Sexual relations were not the Sino–US alliance’s seedy underside, but the core site of its tensions.

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10.1080/17535654.2019.1618627

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Fredman, Zach (2019). GIs and 'Jeep Girls': Sex and American Soldiers in Wartime China. Journal of Modern Chinese History, 13(1). pp. 76–101. 10.1080/17535654.2019.1618627 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25022.

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