The hazards in Internet matchmaking

By Maria Aleta O. Nieva – Internet matchmaking industries have opened up doors for people wanting to find that perfect match, but they also place women in danger of being exposed to sexual and physical injustices. According to a study made by Teresa Downing-Matibag, Asian women have been portrayed in such a way that they would look appealing and willing to satiate yearnings of Western men.

“Internet-based romance and matchmaking services play a critical role in the development of these constructions, as is evident in the hundreds of links for men seeking Filipino dates that appear when one types the word ‘Filipina’ into a popular search engine such as Google,” Matibag said.

Matibag was a speaker during the 8th International Conference on Philippine Studies in Quezon City where she delivered her paper, “Selling our daughters in the global economy: A narrative analysis of Internet romance, dating and pen pal websites featuring Filipino women.”

Matibag’s study covered an examination of the social constructions of Filipino women over internet websites that advertise them as pen pals, friends, romantic or marriage partners.

For one, Filipino internet brides are just like other Filipino migrant workers who may channel critical economic resources to fellow Filipinos. Matibag cited a study made by the Migration Policy Institute (2008) which stated “about 17 percent of Filipino households receive remittances from a worker abroad temporarily, and these households represent 25 percent of total household spending in the Philippines, figures that would rise if remittances from those who have emigrated permanently, such as the internet brides, were included.”

Western men desire a wife who is more economically dependent, intellectually and sexually submissive and domestically inclined than most of the women in their native countries. Thousands of young Filipino women who are in internet dating and matchmaking websites, have been portrayed as such—women willing to marry someone more economically stable despite the age disparity, and who would save them from poverty.

“Among these men, there are some who believe that the Filipino women whose photographs don internet matchmaking websites can fulfill their fantasies for a return to patriarchy,” Matibag said.

Citing Gabriela Network, a Philippine-US women’s solidarity mass organization, she said that many of the nearly 370,000 women who emigrated from the Philippines in 1997 were internet or mail-order brides.

“Filipina brides are burdened to not only remediate their own, their families, or their nation’s poverty, but also remediate the emasculation of the men from more economically dominant countries,” she said.

In an US Immigration and Naturalization Service-funded study made by Dr. Robert Scholes, he disclosed that over 70 percent of 1,400 women contained in five popular mail-order-bride catalogues were Filipino women, and 61 percent of all the Asian women in the catalogues were under the age of 25.

From the estimates of Gabriela Network, over 5,000 Filipinas enter the US alone each year as a result of internet matchmaking services.

The alarming rate of Filipina women leaving the country as mail order brides caught the attention of Sen. Manuel Villar who filed Senate Resolution 101 last year, which urged the Senate committee on youth, women and family relations to probe into the plight of women and the “brazen violation of corresponding laws.”

Despite the enactment of the Republic Act 6955 or “An Act to declare as unlawful the practice of matching Filipino women for marriage to foreign nationals on a mail-order basis and other similar practices, including the advertisement, publication, printing or distribution of brochures, fliers and other propaganda materials in furtherance thereof and providing penalty therefore,” the practice of marketing Filipino women as mail-order bride still persists.

Ultimately, Matibag said the goal of these sites is to “sell intimate relationship as possible to their western clients.”


Find more like this: Features, Immigration

2 Responses to The hazards in Internet matchmaking

  • Alejandro says:

    So if I want to bookmark this post do I have to join Twitter first?

  • eufrocina says:

    Naku mga katulad kong Pinay huwag kayong mabighani sa hitsura ng mga puti kasi sila ay mga panlabas na anyo lamang.Sikapin ninyung mag aral at matuto para kahit saan ay kayang lumaban.hindi ka puedeng alipustain kung ikaw ay may pinag aralan.
    Katulad din natin ang mga yan na nag hahanap ng ginhawa.
    Kaya huwag na kayong maging alipin sa ibang bayan.kasi puede naman guminhawa sa sarili.

    Mabuhay ang mga Filipino.

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