One of the most distasteful aspects of the international dating industry is the myth of the submissive mail order bride. This myth is misleading and potentially tragic, but it is also simply wrong.
This myth seems to have started on international dating sites that really do not understand why a guy from the US, the EU, or another economically developed country would be looking for a foreign bride. These sites are often run by women that really do not understand why men from the United States and other Western nations are looking for foreign brides, so they toss out the canard of the submissive wife as part of their add pitch to interested men. This advertising pitch is untrue and often plants the seeds of failure in the relationship from the very beginning.
First, the beginning of the modern international marriage boom began with the collapse of the Soviet Union and anyone who has met many women from Eastern Europe can tell you that as a rule they are anything, but submissive. Remember, the Soviet Union was officially opposed to sexual discrimination and allowed women into all sorts of professions that were closed to them in most other countries. This egalitarianism paid off during the Second World War thousands of women served in Soviet combat units. The top scoring Soviet female sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, was credited with 309 kills, but that is hardly the model of Russian womanhood that the owners of most international dating agencies want to portray.
During the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the Second World War, and the other horrors of the 20th century perhaps as many as sixty million men from the countries of the old Soviet Bloc perished. Women had an enormous amount of power in everyday life and developed real confidence in their own abilities, because women outnumber men in much of Eastern Europe during the years after 1945. Furthermore, the low birth rate in much of the old Soviet Bloc from the early 1960s on is more evidence that women were forcefully controlling their own destiny. So, there is actually more evidence that as a rule women in the old Soviet Bloc are more independent, confident, and even liberated, though that is a loaded term, than women in the US or the EU.
More to the point, regardless of where a woman is from, it takes confidence and intelligence for a girl to turn down men in her own country and decide instead try to marry a man from another country. She may be facing terrible economic or social conditions, but it still takes guts.
Local men do not like their most beautiful and talented women leaving to marry foreigners, and, in fact, only in the most liberated countries can women try to improve their lot through foreign marriages. There are no websites for women from Yemen or the other poor conservative Muslim nations, because women have little to no power in those countries. It is almost impossible for them to find a way out of those patriarchal societies.
Regardless of where she is from it is wrongheaded to assume that a mail order bride will be gentle and submissive just because she is looking for a foreign husband. In fact, you would be better off to assume that any girl willing to give up everything she has ever known in life to look for love and a better life overseas is a girl with more than a little bit of moxie. She has got to have guts to take the gamble and a man would be wise to treat her with respect for having the guts to make that choice. Otherwise, the relationship is pretty well doomed from the start.
By Ed Orton
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