Look, I wish I could convince you that International Love Scout is the absolute final authority on international dating. I would love for people to think of us and the New York Times of mail order brides, but I am a realist.
We are a commercial web site that is avowedly pro-international dating. We believe that becoming a mail order bride improves the fulfillment and overall quality of life for most of the brides and that it is usually a profoundly positive event for most of the grooms.
We say that repeatedly all over International Love Scout.
We are openly biased in favor of international dating and I can’t blame you for being slightly hesitant to believe some of the information we present. Our analysis is just too positive. Yes, we warn guys about potential scams and tell you pretty bluntly to make sure that you are up to dating a mail order bride, but we are overwhelmingly positive.
I understand that makes some guys nervous. If I was sitting on the other side of my computer screen I would feel the same way and that is why I am making such a strong recommendation for Buying a Bride.
Discovering the Truth About International Dating
Marcia Zug is a young law professor at the University of South Carolina. I am sure she would even call herself a feminist, but she actually stopped, put aside her preconceived notions and looked at the evidence about mail order brides.
Zug’s path to discovering the truth about international dating sites started like so many you. She read a ridiculous liberal attack piece on mail order brides. She was enraged by an article in GQ about a self-centered fashion photographer, Steven Baillie, who decided to investigate international dating, because he was bored with the emptiness of his romantic life in the go-go fashion industry.
He signed up with an international dating agency met some women online and eventually traveled to Columbia where he met and proposed to a beautiful young woman. He brought his fiancée back to the United States, but things quickly spiraled out of his control.
According to the article, his fiancée got pregnant and jealous of the fashion models he worked with on a daily basis. Eventually, he sent her back to South America with no more thought than he might have had for a pair of shoes that did not fit. The article presents Baillie, and by implication all men who pursue mail order brides, as at best fools and at worse manipulative jerks, working in concert with human traffickers. The article made Zug angry and she started researching mail order brides with the zeal of a righteous avenger.
This is sort of introduction to international dating is common for many of the feminist professors who have written about modern mail order brides. Many of the earliest in the 1990s scholars never bothered to actually interview the women involved in these relationships. They decided no research was necessary because the stories in the mainstream media were exactly what feminist theory told them to expect in a situation with such enormous power disparities between men and women. So, mostly they simply repeated and magnified the stories in the mainstream media.
Zug took a different approach. She started with an in-depth study of the history of mail order brides in the United States and Canada and then examined the modern movement with that historical understand. In both her historical study and in her more contemporary research Zug focused on the outcomes of these relationships. To put it simply: were the women happy with these relationships?
After nearly a decade of research she realized that historically the marriages were generally positive for women and, “…the benefits offered by these marriages remain significant.” In short, she determined that mail order marriages were generally positive for the women.
A History of Mail Order Brides
The first two-third of Buying a Bride is a detailed history of mail order brides in the United States and Canada. We cover many of the same details in our article, A Short History of Mail Order Brides. However, Zug goes into far more detail and offers even more support that historically mail order brides were honorable, positive, and important to the settlement and development of the United States and Canada.
The historical detail may be a bit overwhelming, but if you are serious about taking this journey and finding a wife overseas you need to be able to defend your decision to romance a mail order bride as a good, honorable decision with deep roots in American history, because it will give you a lot of ammunition to argue with the judgmental jerks who criticize you for dating or marrying a mail order bride.
Zug establishes that mail order brides go back to the very beginning of European settlement in the United States and Canada. She discusses the numerous groups of mail order brides from the earliest “Tobacco Girls” in colonial Jamestown, only a few years after James Smith and company first waded ashore, to the filles du roi of early French Canada, and the later mail order brides of the American West.
The history is interesting and useful, but it is not the main reason for you to buy Buying A Bride.
A Defense of Mail Order Brides
The reason you need to buy Buying a Bride is that in the last quarter of the book Zug offers a brief, well organized, and damn near unimpeachable defense of the modern mail order bride system. What makes this defense so compelling is that Zug admits she started as a critic of international dating. She is a feminist and a law professor. She does not belabor the point, but it is clear that professionally it took courage for her to stand up to the mainstream academic opinion that the modern international dating system is only one small step away from human trafficking.
Zug annihilates this old analysis. She marches through the development of the anti-international dating movement in the 1990s. Zug shows how many critics made the false comparison between women coming to the United States on fiancé visas and illegal aliens, who because they were in the United States illegally, had almost no legal rights.
Zug exposes weakness of the most ardent critics of the mail order bride industry. For instance, NONE of the anti-mail order bride scholars, activists, or organizations she examines have any real proof that mail order bride agencies are actively participating in trafficking women for prostitution or forced marriages.
She shows how these critics conflate their arguments and confuse themselves and others.
Zug’s critique of the critics of international dating is absolutely devastating. She explains that “There is little evidence that American mail-order brides are trafficked or subject to higher rates of domestic abuse,” and she offers a small mountain of evidence to back up her claims.
She cites many of the same articles and studies we cite in our review of scholarly research showing how the bias developed and why most of the criticism of the modern mail order bride movement is either misguided or overblown. There difference is that she is a tenure track professor, so she had to be sure that every line could be supported with solid evidence.
Buying Brides was published by NYU Press which means that it was probably reviewed by a couple of editors and two or three outside reviewers before it was published.
The academic publishing process does not always assure that a work’s analysis is accurate, but it does mean that the basic facts are usually correct. In this case, Zug’s conclusion are almost identical to mine, and it really gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
Her conclusion deserves to be quoted at length:
For more than four hundred years, mail-order marriage helped men and women increase their marital choice and form advantageous and empowering relationships. Modern mail-order marriages are created for the same reason. Today’s mail-order brides and grooms are not a throwback to an earlier, unenlightened time. Instead, like most of us, they are simply men and women who believe marriage will improve their lives, and we should support their choice.
Every man who is considering pursuing a relationship with a mail order bride needs to read Buying a Bride and if you follow this link to Google Books you can read significant excerpts of Buying a Bride for FREE!
Or you if you are really intrigued you can – BUY A COPY!