Wanna read something that might make you vomit a little this morning? (Of course you do, this is the Internet!) The Salt Lake Tribune today ran a long article on "overseas dating," which is the euphemism it's using for men seeking the modern-day equivalent of mail order Russian brides. "Sick of Utah dating," the article's 45-year-old protagonist Nathan Adams turned to international matchmaking site AnastasiaDate.com. Now he appears in video ads for the site with his new Ukrainian fiance Elena Adamchiyk.
What's wrong with finding international love? Nothing at all, of course. But sites like AnastasiaDate.com cater to men with a fetishist view of foreign women. In every article, documentary or message board on sites like these, the men tend to cite prior bad luck with dating fellow Americans. They express contempt for U.S. women (too slutty, too demanding, too modern) and see foreign women as the antidote or antithesis. In an unintentionally telling quote, Adams says:
"Dating Elena is like dating a model … who has the values of my grandmother."
Gahhh. It's exactly the misogynistic view of foreign women that actually encouraged by these sites.
Divorced for several years ... Adams says he dated women who either didn’t want to help him rear his daughter or were mostly interested in his money. He ran into a fair amount of bitterness and anger toward men.
It was, " ‘I want this. I want that. I won’t tolerate this, I won’t tolerate that,’ " he says. "I told my friend I’d had enough. I wanted no more dating around here."
A friend suggested international women via online dating sites; five of his friends at Hill Air Force Base are married to women from other countries, and he liked the idea. So he bought a home computer.
At first, he tried a website that connects Western men with Asian women, but was scammed by someone he believed was a model.
When he began hearing good things about Ukrainian women — that they are both beautiful and traditional — he tried AnastasiaDate.com.
It's beyond silly to stereotype entire countries of women, but men like Adams seem oblivious to that. Nor do they seem to grasp how much the power differentials play into international "dating" dynamics. Many of the women using these sites want to escape bad circumstances in their own countries and gain green cards to the United States. Of course they're going to be more pliant, more submissive to their potential American husbands — but no no no, it must be some sort of fundamental difference between U.S. and foreign women!
I certainly don't mean to judge the women who use these websites; and while I may find the men misguided, I don't believe they're doing anything wrong. I don't even date that people using the site could actually find real love. My issue is with media like this Salt Lake Tribune article, which portray the whole business as romantic, compare finding good foreign brides to "hitting the jackpot" and paint blanket claims about "Utah women" and "Russian men" as totally reasonable.
Anyway, here's Nathan and Elena's love story ad: