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Study: Russian Mail Order Bride Industry Plagued By Myths

27. June 2011 by Christy 0 Comments

Nearly everybody’s heard horror stories about Russian mail order brides. Some believe the ladies are out to con Western men out of money and a green card while others think Russian women are “naïve victims” who are mistreated and abused by foreign suitors. However, according to University of Toronto researcher Alex Rowlson these commonly held beliefs are inaccurate.

In “Negotiated Nuptials: A Transnational Analysis of the International Marriage Broker Industry and the Russian ‘Mail-Order Bride,’” Rowlson argues that the Russian dating industry is plagued by myths that give both Russian women and Western men a bad name. One myth Rowlson tackles is the idea that vulnerable ladies are forced to marry foreign suitors.

“Women aren’t forced into these marriages, they actually have choice in the matter,” said Rowlson, a PhD student in Russian history.

After all, the Canadian researcher points out, Russian women post their own profiles on international dating websites and the ladies decide who they wish to chat with and who they wish to pass by. The same goes for Western men. No one is forced to do anything they don’t want to do and many happy unions have resulted from Russian dating websites. However, critics still seem to hold people who use international dating services to a higher standard than those who go a more traditional route. 

“Nobody is attacking people who use eHarmony or Match.com,” Rowlson notes.  

Myths about the ladies’ motivations also abound. While critics argue that money and a green card (or equivalent immigration papers) is the only reason Russian women are interested in Western suitors, a general shortage of Russian men, plus concerns about alcoholism and abuse, are a two reasons Slavic beauties seek love abroad, not to mention curiosity and a sense of adventure.

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