Recent studies of view notions of masculinity and femininity as culturally constructed, growing out of, though not reducible, to specific social, economic, and political contexts (Ortner and Whitehead 1981), Gender roles and ideology are seen as constantly renegotiated by actors within a wider society (Josephides 1985; Moore 1986), This paper focuses on the process of reinterpreting gender as Southeast Asian refugees in small Kansas communities cope with financial needs, the legal system, and American concepts of gender roles. I have the term “reinterpreting” to suggest both cultural continuity and the need for adaptation in a new context, Not only must gender roles and ideology be renegotiated between refugee men and women, but newcomers frequently find themselves forced to interpret attitudes and behavior to established Americans who have expectations very different from their own. Refugee children, who quickly become aware of American values through television and school, must negotiate behavior with other, their parents, and representatives of American institutions, The “cultural construction” of gender does not take place in a vacuum.