“Buying” a bride?

China Daily was late in reporting the story on Chinese men marrying Vietnamese women. ChinaSMACK first picked up on the story in the Chinese blogosphere, where Dai Wensheng was accused of buying a bride from Vietnam. The China Dailypredictably painted him as a nice guy who wasn’t having any luck with the Chinese ladies. (I still think it’s fucking weird that a man in his thirties had a dating history of only two years/100 dates. And I also wonder why the China Daily writer has such anger toward Chinese women.)

The author of the original post pointed out the economic disparity between Vietnam in China:

Like Old Dai, every person who has gone to Vietnam must remind themselves, “I am moneybags, I am moneybags. [I just have higher purchasing power]” Due to the underdevelopment of their economy, many local girls have formed the idea of marrying foreigners. “Remember, [to them] we are foreigners.”

So Vietnamese women can reap economic benefits when marrying a Chinese man and Chinese man can enjoy a more satisfying romantic relationship with a more “docile” partner:

Careful/observant netizens discovered, during the process of finding a marriage partner in Vietnam, every girl who had eaten with Old Day [sic] had first filled his bowl with rice, peeled the shell off the shrimp, put the meat in his bowl, and waited for Old Dai to begin eating before being willing to pick up their own chopsticks. Facing this kind of scene, netizens were “shocked”. “In the past, there were only rumors, but we never though that Vietnam is really like this!” “This kind of thing we have encountered before, except in reverse, with us serving our wives…”

This is the same kind of barf you can find in posts by foreign guys about why it’s so great to marry a Chinese woman. It’s not a little creepy to hear a foreigner who is actually married to a Chinese woman talk about Chinese women in general, like they are an army of docile, kind, respectful and generous robots and he just grabbed the first one handy when he was ready to settle down. Forget about falling in love with a unique individual who makes your world brighter – nope, American women are mouthy bitches who will make your life miserable so you had better go with something made in China. It starts to sound like these guys are on the market for a car, doesn’t it? American models are busty but obnoxious, Chinese models will kiss your ass but they want their own credit cards, something from Vietnam will cook your food, raise your kids, give your mom a pedicure and never let you forget that you’re the man of the house.

I haven’t already forgotten what I wrote yesterday; I don’t think there is anything wrong with people being honest about their expectations in a partner. I don’t even think there’s anything wrong in marrying for money, especially if you’re poor enough that marrying a wealthier man will improve your quality of life in significant ways. However, relationships can be loving and nurturing or suffocating and abusive (well, it’s more a spectrum, really) and I would wish the best for all parties involved. What really frustrates me is the obtuse rhetoric from the guys who are marrying women from other less wealthy countries, especially Westerners who come from countries, like the US, where the political/social vocabulary for human rights and gender issues is developed enough that there’s no excuse for explaining your decision to marry a particular Chinese woman by saying Chinese women are damaged like American women.

Postscript:
The author of the post on ChinaSMACK claims that the ratio of men to women in Vietnam is 3:5, but the southeast Asian nation is suffering from the same distortion of the sex ratio at birth as China. A preference for male children leads many women to abort female fetuses.

Vietnam’s sex ratio at birth (SRB) has been rising steadily for the past few years, from the “average” 105 boys to 100 girls in 1999 to 110:100 in 2006. This year it topped at an average of 112:100.

There are regional variances, with rates remaining around the natural average in the southern Mekong provinces but rising as high as 120:100 in the northeast. This mirrors neighbouring China with its one child law, repealed only recently. The SRB there had climbed to 120:100.

And then that bullshit postulation leads commentators to believe Chinese men are doing charity work when they marry Vietnamese brides. As long as the couples are happy, there can’t be any objection to them being together, but they aren’t helping out some non-existent group of excess Vietnamese women.

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