Mayling Soong was known to most Americans as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who symbolized the changing relations between the United States and China during the late 1930s through the 1940s. Soong was a symbol not only of China's new womanhood but of new China as well. While nationalism is inherently gendered, Soong's position was unique, because for the Americans, she personified the traditionally masculine as well as the feminine role of China. Mayling Soong experienced American culture before she arrived in the United States. She grew up in the cosmopolitan environment of Wuhan, in which she and her siblings enjoyed the relative privilege of her father's wealth and American connections. Her American education, Christian faith, and the politics of her family further contributed to Soong's knowledge about the United States.
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