Mixed couples: what they are and why they became popular

The conformation of mixed couplesIn other words, those in which there are significant cultural differences between its members (such as country, religious beliefs, language or ethnicity) have seen a considerable increase in recent times.

This growth is mainly attributed to the fact that the chances of meeting people from other countries have increased due to the intensification of international mobility and the massification of communication via the Internet. In addition to the above, have given a series of social transformations in the realm of love that allow people greater levels of freedom and autonomy in marital choice.

Migration for love

Migration, one of whose main motivations is to form a partner or a family, is qualified by some social researchers as migration for love.

This type of migration is described as a diverse and complex phenomenon that transcends simplifications and the prejudices with which it is generally conceived by common sense.

An essentially female phenomenon

Different ethnographic research shows that women express their feelings and feelings much more often than men. the desire to start or establish a relationship has been one of the main reasons for geographic displacement. The above is attributed to the fact that the structural conditions continue to exist for the man to work as a provider in a family and for the woman to prioritize the care of children and the home, leaving their professional development. background.

Therefore, it is more common for a woman to leave her country and emigrate to her partner’s country or to accompany her partner during a migration for professional reasons.

Migration for love is then described as predominantly female and is run mainly from the Caribbean, Latin American regions, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia to the wealthy countries of Western Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. The ease of mobility of European citizens within the EU has also led to a significant increase in the formation of intra-European binational partnerships.

Mixed couple arrangements and their reasons

The differences between people of different cultural backgrounds can be attenuated or intensified if they share or differ in other characteristics such as: urban or rural way of life, level of education, professional environment, social class, etc. Sometimes, even though people are from different countries, they share many other factors resulting in more elements of affinity than distinction.

For anthropology, it is a fact that in all cultures people often associate with members of their own group and that bond with others is an exception. Choosing a partner from another culture can be interpreted as a transgression of their own culture and family ideals, as a stranger will transmit values ​​that are different from theirs.

In binational mixed couples, country borders are transcendedBut the most common is that the limits of socio-economic class and level of education continue to be maintained. It is also possible to observe the existence of a sort of hierarchy of cultural distances, in which certain nationalities or groups of emigrants are considered more or less likely to be chosen as a couple. In this hierarchy would be the nationalities with which he would be considered as totally incompatible up to those with which he is admired in his practices and customs.

Status exchange

Although in smaller proportions, Sometimes in mixed couples the limits of socio-economic or educational level are also transcended. In these cases, an exchange of status can be filed. This is the case of people from rich countries (high status) with a low level of education (low status) who marry people from poor countries or belonging to marginalized minorities (low status), who have a low level of education (low status). high education.

The exchange can be granted for any element that can be considered as a guarantee of a person’s status: beauty, age, social status, a nationality which has a certain prestige, etc.

Sociology points out that statistically, men tend to marry hypogamically more frequently than women. In other words, with a partner of lower socio-economic level. And, as a result, women tend to marry hypergamically more frequently, that is, to a man who has a higher socio-economic level. The above is also true for mixed couples, although the level of education achieved by women in recent decades makes the statistical difference smaller and smaller.

It has also been observed that as the level of education increases, the chances of forming a couple with people from different countries also increase. Greater inbreeding (that is, the tendency to marital bond with people of the same culture) occurs more intensely in people with strong religious adherence.

The mixed couple as resistance to transformations in gender relations

It is relevant that, according to different research, motivations linked to sex are expressed by men and women who decide to establish a relationship with a foreign person.

Gender motivations are much more evident in the case of men in rich countries looking for a partner abroad, as well as among women in countries where these men focus their research. It is raised in relation to the above that the material and sentimental independence acquired by women in the most industrialized countries has aroused resistance from some men with regard to this new female model.

This resistance pushes them to seek a partner in a marriage market different from that of the country itself, opting for nationalities in which women are assumed to retain a more traditional role. Which means they make family and home a priority in relation to their profession, And that they would accept sustained gender relations to a certain degree of submission and dependence. This stereotype is given, for example, to women in Latin American or Eastern European countries.

The search for a more traditional woman is more overwhelming in men over 40, in younger people the prototype of the submissive woman and the housewife is less desirable, focusing more on other factors such as motivation. to establish a relationship with a foreign woman.

Desire for polarized gender roles

Some men justify their desire to seek relationships with more traditional women by the conflicts and tensions which they believe generated the independence women gained in their previous relationships.

The desire for more polarized gender roles is also present in some women in industrialized countries who express that part of their interest in a foreign couple is the desire to relate to men the way of being is closer to a certain stereotype. of traditional masculinity: chivalrous, romantic, passionate, seductive. This type of stereotype is given, for example, to men from Mediterranean or Latin countries. Gender polarization in these cases is seen as a complementarity value and also as part of sexual stimulation.

Marriage to a stranger in search of equality

Paradoxically, for many women in Latin America or Eastern Europe one of the main motivations for establishing a relationship with a stranger is the desire to acquire equal shares and the emancipation that they do not find in their own context. These women describe gender relations in their country as more subordinate and inequitable than they assume to occur in the destination of their migration.

Men in their own country are also described as sexist, controlling, possessive, unfaithful and aggressive. These aspects are considered to be embedded in their own culture and they feel they occur at a much lower intensity among men in the destination country. Some women also express a desire to move away from the previous experiences of abuse and alcoholism of their ex-partners. In these cases, gender polarization is seen as a manifestation of oppression and inequality..

The physical aspect: the ideal and the exotic

The predominant physical appearance in certain nationalities is the object of attributions which nourish the fantasies of men and women.Also, constituting a factor that acts as a motivator to establish a relationship with a foreign person. These are, in part, the attributions on sexuality of certain population groups.

The above is based on research conducted on international dating agencies operating on the Internet. This is the case, for example, of those who specialize in women from Latin America or Eastern Europe who emphasize physical characteristics supposed to be appreciated by potential “boyfriends”. One would be the ideal Nordic type (tall, blonde, blue eyed, slim) or the exotic type referring to Latin American women (brunette, curvy and sultry).

Marriage as a means of improving living conditions

The cultural model of couples that predominates in the West is based on the ideal of a relationship established by free love. and spontaneous, far from any calculation or interest. Because of the above, material motivations, sometimes linked to sentimental motivations, tend to be much more veiled in the speeches of women who decide to formalize a relationship with a stranger.

In many cases, the countries of origin of people who migrate for love are characterized by high rates of job insecurity, insecurity or other aspects that favor the search for better living conditions. Marriage to a foreign person is one strategy among others to be able to settle in a place offering better opportunities.

Despite this expectation, people with a high level of training face bureaucratic obstacles to be able to practice in the field of their profession and they are forced to perform work that does not require qualification.

Social pressure in mixed couples

One of the situations that many migrant women often face out of love is resistance from family and friends of their partners who directly or indirectly accuse them of marrying for economic reasons or of legalizing residence in the country. Many of them say that they have to constantly prove that their marriage is based on feelings and that it was not only instrumental in nature. Some women see the arrival of the couple’s first child as a milestone of legitimacy.

In relation to the above, it has been observed that women who migrate for love do not generally seek to establish links with emigrants of their own nationality at the place of destination. This distancing is sometimes encouraged by their local partners in response to the desire to make a difference with economic migration and the stigma that surrounds it.

Bibliographical references:

  • Gaspar, S. (2009). Integration and social satisfaction in mixed intra-European couples, Discourse and Society, 16, 68-101.
  • Roca Girona, J. (2011). [Re]search for love: Reasons and reasons for mixed unions of Spanish men with foreign women. Journal of Dialectology and Popular Traditions, 2011, vol. LXVI, n ° 2, p.487-514.
  • Roca Girona, J. (2007). Migrants for love. Research and training of transnational couples. Aibr. Journal of Latin American Anthropology, 2007, vol. 3, n ° 2, p. 430-458.
  • Roca Girona, J .; Soronellas, M. and Bodoque, I. (2012). Migrations for love: diversity and complexity of women’s migrations. Papers, vol. 97, n ° 3, p. 685-707.
  • Rodríguez-García, D. (2014). Environment of transnational kinship: contextualization and theoretical-methodological considerations. AIBR-Revista d’Antropologia Iberoamericana, 9 (2): 183-210.

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