Consider a typical 35-year-old unattached heterosexual U.S. male who hopes to eventually get married. One day he goes to a club in his city and finds that thousands of extremely beautiful 20 to 25-year-old Russian women in the club want to marry him. Many of these women speak English and have a college degree. True, they want to marry him in large part because of his income, but they still want to marry him. Although I have no evidence, I strongly suspect that many 35-year-old men would agree to marry one of these Russian women.
I think a lot of people today confuse "mail order brides" with "women whom men met over the Internet."
I travel to foreign countries in my work, and have met women there, after being introduced online. I've never met a subservient woman in my life, regardless of country, so we can knock that b.s. right out. Yes, some cultures still produce homemakers, but most of our grandmothers were homemakers, and that didn't make them subservient.
The real issue is "why?" In my case, I just find foreign women attractive. I like the cultural differences, and enjoy learning about theirs and sharing my own. I'm not looking for a slave, and I'm not intimidated by American women, nor am I angry at them. I just like foreign women, especially Asian. I find them attractive. And all b.s. aside, the first thing you notice is physical attraction, unless you're in some arranged marriage or something.
What's great about the internet, and (relatively) cheap travel, is it gives everyone options. If you're not really thrilled with the gal next door / at church / at work / via friends / via Match.com, you can look elsewhere. And yeah, it is an international marketplace. Used to be local only. Things change.
As for looking to an American man for such-and-such advantages, truly consider this: Would *you* leave your home country, only to return maybe once a year, just to live with some rich guy?
If not, why would you assume a foreign woman would?
The true bias here is an assumption, mostly made by American women, that foreign women are dumb, or pure opportunists. Sure, there are those types -- in all countries. Like anything else, you have to be smart about it. Foreign does not mean better or worse -- it's just a choice, like a foreign car, or foreign beer, or anything else that you enjoy. And while I don't really compare people to cars and beer, the part about "enjoy" is honest. We should enjoy the person we're with.
This is an interesting topic for me because I am a retired military wife and former military brat. I am also a web sleuther, and that has involved numerous hunts for wives who have just suddenly gone "missing". Too many of these wives were so-called M.O.B. from Asian countries.
I grew up with foreign brides and met many of them because of the military. What set those marriages apart however, was the fact that the man and woman actually met while the man was living overseas. The relationship developed as any normal relationship would.
However, I do not think that when it comes to the marriage market involving Western Men and women from Eastern Europe and Asia, it is correct to suggest that it is society so much as too many of these men themselves who actually keep the bias against the whole idea going. If you research the issue on the net, you find that the men who are "representing", are if the display they put on the net is anything to go by, lacking in the ability to maintain a healthy relationship.
You find too many of these men are just more of "Indle King", narcissistic and some just downright sociopathic. You couple this with the media attention that is given when a MOB wife is murdered, and you then have the roots of your bias.
How can a man or woman for that matter, find true love if you haven't even bothered to learn one another's languages? How can you have even friendship if you are unable to be open to one another's cultures?
My husband and I have been married for going on thirteen years, we are both American, and both divorced, and when it comes to the hard knocks of ending marriages, "been there done that". Our marriage is successful, because we started out as good friends. We both had trust issues, were from two different walks of life, both had kids from the first marriages, but rather than overcoming those challenges so much, we strived to understand each other, and we hung on tight to one another. The "challenges" as a result of our approach were minor bumps in our road.
It is how you view marriage, and how you approach it, I think, as individuals, and as a couple, that will determine your success.
In many cases a man steps into a marriage thinking he has found a "traditional" woman. But at least for American men, what we define as traditional, and what other cultures define as traditional, are very different. In our culture a woman who nags is looked down upon. Many of you men are going to say "WRONG" but then you find yourself married to a woman from Korea, for example, and you discover what "nag" really is. We approach issues very differently in our culture. One is we talk about them. We look down upon keeping secrets from each other. We talk before we spend a specific amount of money. Many cultures do not do this. The man is the provider, you bring home your money, and your wife spends it.
If I spent my husband's military check on lobsters, he would have had a fit, and for him this would have been a betrayal, because we had to make it stretch. However, for some foreign wives, for the man to take offense, actually makes the man look very bad.
The differences seem very trivial, until you take that step, and find them to be costly.
So I side with many of the women who argue against the sincerity of a man who goes overseas for a marriage tour, and then returns with his wife. He has exchanged letters with her, through a translator, she is the one that HAS to learn his language, and he has not spent enough time with her family to even tell you what her parents look like. I also work in my freetime posting fliers, and hunting morgue databases in the hopes of finding too many wives who have just "gone missing". It makes me more leary of some of the men who look abroad, but would not so much if I did not see what sociopaths some of them really are, by reading their comments on the internet. I always end up thinking, great, soon there will be another missing wife that we will be hunting for.
The flip side to this issue is that many of these men place themselves into a dangerous situation. They marry a woman and end up dead and being one of our missing as well. We had the case of the man from Texas that married a woman from the Ukraine. He mysteriousely plunged to his death down a stairwell. The wife married the man she had introduced as her cousin, they cleaned out his bank account, and the man's adult daughter spent over a decade trying to get justice for her dad. The more recent case was the man that ended up barricading himself in his apartment with police at his door, and he ultimately killed himself after his wife from Russia left him, accused him of physical abuse to their neighbors, and while he is dead, she gets to remain in the US and do as she pleases.
The more common though is that too many well-meaning men end up being tagged as abusers because it is the only way for a foreign wife to get residency once she gets to the US if she wants to leave her new husband within a certain period of time. We had a friend that went through this after he had already gone through hell with his ex-wife. He never would have put his hands on any woman, but she turned up with bruises and had him arrested for spousal battery. We knew he didn't do it because aside form the fact that he just wasn't the type, he was with us and some other friends helping someone else out that evening. She had been mad at him because he was working on the car instead of catering to her. She told his boss he had beat her almost to death, she had him locked up, and even when it all came out in the wash, he never lived it down.
So it all comes down to the fact that if you just meet someone and marry them, you never know what your going to be getting. You will either end up with another divorce under your belt, dead and one of my missing, with an abuse label over your head, broke, or godwilling, by some miracle, living happily ever after.
This is all coupled with the weak arguements that are used to justify it. Divorce rates in the US have been in steady decline since 2000 and now sit around 42% compared to over 60% of Russian/Ukraines. The fact that women get fat. All people in the US get fat, but more men are overweight than women, CDC confirms that. Then the one about women spending more than men, wrong again, American women save more money than American men do. American women are lazy. American women spend more time working between job and home than men do by 4 hours a day. American women are whores but won't have sex. American women can not be whores and uninterested in sex at the same time. Besides, all men want a whore in the bedroom, and some women don't want a guy to need viagra to play. Touche.
This is hilarious; it is very easy to tell the difference between the males and females making comments. “Don’t marry foreign women they are after your money” OK???? So when I see a 24 year old AMERICAN female married to a 72 year old man she married him for love, what a joke. The fact is I had spent lunch last week at a table next to 6 beautiful American females and 4 of them were helping the other 2 plan on taking their current husbands in divorce court while boasting about the deals they landed. I wanted to throw up. My brother has come home twice to an empty home were his wonderful American bride had their new boy friend remove ever thing he owned. I have also personally seen were 8 married women on a “woman’s night out” decided to take 2 guys to a hotel room. The real question of the day is out of those 8, how many refuse sex with their husband while at the same time sleeping with a starnger. I knew one of the women and she stated to me well you would have done it also. Let me tell you if I meet 2 women whiling to sleep with me and 7 of my friends I would not touch them out of fear of disease. Ok, so I am a looser if I want to find some one who is whiling to take care of my house and me while I go to work to provide for her and my family. I tried that with my American wife, she wanted to be a stay at home mom while I built our business. As soon as the business showed a substantial increase she filed for divorce and took %110 of our assets. This was justified because she had no earning capability and owned half the business. She could not even tell you the name of our clients. “American men are looking for slaves”; maybe some do but personally I want to provide for a loving wife and in return all I ask for, is her love and support. If she wants a career fine but it is not necessary. If she doesn’t then yes I expect her to take care of me our house and kids while I financially provide for us. I would treat the right person like a queen. I tried that with my ex wife. She wanted a yard, I bought her 3 acres, she wanted a new vehicle so she spent $50,000 on one. I went to work every day and came home as soon as I was done to spend time with my family and in return she pushed me out of our bedroom and then out of her life and now I get to be a part time dad even though I tried the whole time to get her to stop the process. Even when she had gotten to the point were her depression had kept me from being able to touch her for 3 straight years I was still faithful. You think that all men care about is slaves and sex well my divorce was 5 years ago and so far I would not even consider marriage because all of the neurotic women I have meet over that period of time. You know I can remember in my youth so many different women trying to use sex as a weapon or reward to try to control a man. Let me tell you don’t bother with me any more because I have learned that sex is over rated in the first place. What do I want? I want a best friend, a lover, a caring mother and a supporting wife. The sad reality is there is not one woman that I know that can provide all of that with out drama, over head and in the long run financial and emotional damage. I thought I had found that person once and I dedicated my life to her and in return she waited for a %400 increase in revenue and filed for divorce. You might be right foreign women might be after American men for their money or to just get in the country, or maybe American women are just feeling threatened by the fact that some one else can provide a loving environment better than they can and here they sit writing about all the reasons why men should continue to invest time and effort in to them instead of a foreigner. You say that every one looks down on a person with a foreign wife, well I would say sure that is true as long as you are American, female and neurotic. Personally I would be whiling to bet that most males are envious when they see some one actually enjoying their life with their mate because %75 of them are miserable with their current situation. Don’t worry ladies you get the pleasure of spending your youth making men miserable after that gravity, Burger King and microwaveable dinners will bring you to a new place in life. I promise though we will not look down on you when you are living alone, 70 lbs over weight with your 12 cats watching daytime soap operas.
My husband's childhood friend, "Jack", married a woman he met on a Russian dating site. Prior to this, Jack was notorious for having disastrous romantic relationships, always having a broken heart, etc. He corresponded with "Violet" by email for several months (and, I assume, other women on the site). Eventually they decided they were pretty serious about their interest in each other. He went to Russia and spent a few weeks getting to know her. Then she lived with him in America for a few months (I assume she was on the fiancee visa, though they hadn't actually gotten engaged). After awhile they decided they were a good match, so he proposed and they married. My husband and I have spent some time with them and she doesn't seem especially "obedient". She's quite assertive, they seem to actually like each other, and I'd say their chances of remaining married are as good as any of our other married friends. Incidentally, Jack and Violet are the only non-interracial couple among our group of friends. Oh, and Jack and Violet are roughly the same age; both were in their 20's when they married. And he is not rich.
Because there are some aspects of women that are more important to some men other than their age and their beauty, especially in long term relationships such as marriage.
Men in the US are afraid of several things. One is that the Russian woman only wants to get to the US.
PK hit upon another fear. It's likely that the Russian woman is considerably younger and more attractive than the US guy she marries. Once she is here she sees this and may decide to "trade up".
Another fear concerns divorce law in many states in the US. If she decides to divorce him, she can take a great deal of his assets and force him to pay alimony for some years.
I understand that the only feasible way to get to bring the woman to the US to get to know her is through a fiancee visa, which is only valid for 90 days. Lots of women could put on an act for 90 days and convince the guy that they love him.
Other commenters have mentioned the opprobrium that an imported wife brings. I think this is in great part because most US women attack this practice. They want to discourage it because they don't want additional competition. And I don't mean competition for any one particular guy. They don't want the practice to become widespread here. It's the same reason union workers attack strikebreakers. They want to discourage the competition for their jobs.
The question isn't complete while we ignore the relevant alternatives. A busy 35-year-old straight man only has so much time to devote to finding a spouse. Unless he has a particular reason to prefer Russian women I don't know why he would spend his time searching for a compatible partner on a Russian dating site give alternatives like Match.com. Of course if the man was Russian, had family that encouraged him to find a Russian woman, or found himself sexually predisposed to liking Russians then that man would have a good reason for trying out that site. And I suspect that the vast majority of men on Russian dating sites fit those or similar criteria. Indeed, given cultural differences the chances of finding a compatible spouse on a foreign dating site might be much lower than the chances with a broad, American site.
So while our man might be pleased to find women of any nationality wanting to marry him (though I suspect an actual man would be terrified by 1000 Russian women out to marry him) its not clear he would go out to a particular club attended by Russians for the purposes of finding a spouse.
I would argue that someone's outward appearance and actions are "who they are". In my opinion, nothing is as silly as the dichotomy between "who we really are deep down inside" and what we do.... I don't know about you, but I don't want to marry anyone who likes me for my looks or money;
You mention that your outward appearances define or determine you, which immediately implies that your good looks and/or money and/or other similar qualities define you, which in turn implies that you should be perfectly okay if someone wants to marry you for for those very qualities of yours. And, yet you state that don't want to marry anyone who likes you for your good looks or money. Do you see the contradiction in your beliefs?
"I would argue that someone's outward appearance and actions are "who they are"."
This is called behaviorism, if you didn't realize. And, this is something we have been talking about on this blog for some time now.
i love the phrase that arnold kling throws about so often: "assortative mating". it's sad but true. that's how it goes.
> Gwern, let's just all marry within our class and race. Wouldn't it make life that much easier. You do have a point though, a 35 heterosexual male with decent income should still be a catch, unless he is a loser.
John: I don't think this is really a controversial point to be making. While it's true that marriages outside of one's ethnic group/fellow language speakers/socioeconomic class can work, that doesn't say much about how successful they are compared to endogamous marriages. They are the exceptions...
I would be perfectly willing to be that if one paired random males and females, two English speakers from America and Britain will have a better chance of making a good marriage than, say, a Korean speaker from South Korea and a Swahili speaker from Mozambique. That's all I really meant by my comments.
I would argue that someone's outward appearance and actions are "who they are". In my opinion, nothing is as silly as the dichotomy between "who we really are deep down inside" and what we do. I believe the reason we look for people who like us for "deeper" reasons is that "superficial" reasons are simply more common. A girl could find many guys who are good looking and have money, but one who likes the same books and poetry as her would be far rarer.
This is exactly the kind of bias I was referring to earlier! Based on the above statement, one can argue equally strongly that if a local woman (i.e. an American woman) marries a man for his good looks, then she can still find (after her marriage) plenty of men who are even better looking than her current husband is. Similarly, if a local woman marries a man for some particular characteristic or quality, she can still find (after her marriage) plenty of men who possess that characteristic or quality in greater measure than her current husband does.I agree with everything but the first sentence. I don't know about you, but I don't want to marry anyone who likes me for my looks or money; I don't care where she's from. Its just not very easy or likely to get a woman from Russia (who you've never seen) to be attracted to you for other reasons.
This is exactly the kind of bias I was referring to earlier! Based on the above statement, one can argue equally strongly that if a local woman (i.e. an American woman) marries a man for his good looks, then she can still find (after her marriage) plenty of men who are even better looking than her current husband is. Similarly, if a local woman marries a man for some particular characteristic or quality, she can still find (after her marriage) plenty of men who possess that characteristic or quality in greater measure than her current husband does.
This is a flawed argument. A local women's access to attractive/rich/etc. men is exactly the same wither she is married or not(baring factors such as the stigma of infidelity). Presumably if she is married than her husband is the most good looking/charming/richest/etc.(whatever she thinks is important) man she could attract. It is unlikely that she could suddenly attract a significantly more desirable man. Nor would it be worth the gamble to start all over again in most cases since a significant amount of time and resources has been invested into her current relationship. I'm taking a cynical view here. I doubt most women do these kinds of calculations consciously. By the way don't get me wrong, same thing goes for men, they marry the best wife they could attract. If a sexy super model comes along and demands to be f***ed, I intuitively predict it will work on most men even if married.
It's a different ball game for foreign women(mail order type brides, not simply immigrants). She agrees to marry a man who possibly failed to attract a wife in his own country, who she doesn't even know other than a few letters, pictures, and a self authored short biography, in a country she has never been to. Why? Because she wants to escape a poor country and get into a rich country. It could turn out in two ways.
A. Either she will fail to learn English well, have a menial job or be unemployed and basically fail to integrate and be completely dependant on her husband. In this case she will be largely cut off from the outside world except through her husband and have no choice but to stay with him and be largely subservient to him.
B. Or, she could learn English, get a job, make some friends and suddenly discover that she has access to much more desirable men(presumably since her husband had to go through the hassle of finding her abroad just to get married so he's probably not Brad Pitt). Then she will cheat on him or - if that is morally repugnant - divorce him first and then find a new mate.
C. Ok a 3d alternative if you like. The couple will be at least adequately compatible and will live happily ever after. Unlikely - given that they hardly know each other before marrying and the sharp change of status of the female once she is transported here(unless A).
So as you can see there is no bias.
I think it is interesting in how much emphasis is put on the presumption of importing a wife. What if the prospect is foreign-born and already studying or woking in the U.S.? Nothing has been said about the imagined age disparity either - 10 years. What if the age difference were 20 years, or none? Perhaps what is missing is some plausible narrative of what an older man is doing with a foreign-born younger woman.
Money is a powerful aphrodisiac.