|dc.description.abstract||This thesis examines the challenges faced by young South Asian Canadian women when
they choose to become involved in interracial intimate relationships. A feminist intersectional
framework was used to analyze the ‘othering’ by home communities and experiences of ‘insider’
and ‘outsider’ status negotiated on a regular basis by the women. Data was collected through a
mixed methods approach combining findings from semi-structured in-depth interviews with 10
South Asian women between the ages of 18-30 in Surrey and Vancouver, British Columbia and
reflexive autobiographical analysis of the study author’s own lived experience. Secondary
sources used to contextualize the findings include sociological and feminist literature on South
Asian women in Canada and multiculturalism, race and ethnic relations.
The study findings indicate that South Asian women construct their own racialized and
bicultural identities over time and in relation to the stigmatization they experience from both
their own community and dominant Canadian society. Self-identification is complex and
difficult for some women because of the interplay of the intense cultural socialization most
received at home, and the ongoing influence of Western culture as they grew up. Not all of the
women experienced the same negative consequences when involved in interracial relationships,
but most showed similar emotional consequences such as distress and fear caused by familial and
home community pressures to meet culturally prescribed gender role expectations and duties.
Most also wanted to balance both the ethnic and Canadian aspects of their lives, retaining their
South Asian heritage while adopting Westernized views on subjects such as personal happiness,
marriage and independence. Multiculturalism is valued by some and seen as justification of their
mixed unions. Others critiqued multiculturalism, seeing it as useful or practiced only in theory.
For the 10 South Asian female participants of this study, the subject of interracial
relationships and its impact on young women needs more dialogue. This thesis provides a