jueves, 18 de octubre de 2012

Western Men Look East for Internet Brides

Watch this shocking Skynews report about tens of thousands of Russian and Ukrainian women signing up every year in the hope of getting hold of a foreign husband.

Self-study activity:
Watch the news item and answer the questions below.

1 How much has di Gregorio paid for the Ukraine Romance Tour?
2 What's the ratio of men to women on the tour?
3 Why is Galina fed up with local men?
4 Why are Russian and Ukrainian women so popular on the internet?
5 What are the arguments of the activists who oppose the tour?
6 Why do western men appeal to Russian and Ukrainian women?
7 What does the figure 25,000 refer to?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below.

Jim di Gregorio knows what he wants.
“An old-fashioned girl brought up in a strict family where maybe papa was in charge, so she’s used to a man being in charge. I prefer to be captain of my ship.”
He’s paid two and a half thousand pounds to attend the so-called Romance Tour in Ukraine. His aim, to find a wife. He’s preparing for a social where each western man will be outnumbered by at least seven women.
Galina is equally clear about her intentions. She says she’s waiting for her destiny, cheers her man. Tired of local men who only want to fling she says she’s ready for a family. It’s these traditional values and looks that make Russian and Ukrainian women the most popular and sought-after in the mail order bride market. The social is billed as buzzing, the age gap between male and female participants striking. Flirting aided by translators.

“And you look like a celebrity.”
“She looks like a celebrity.”
Roger doesn’t take long to catch the chase.
“Is she gonna marry me and come to the States?”

And if the conversation fails there are more obvious ways to attract attention. People who run the company say this is just dating. Others say is one step away from trafficking.
“This phenomenon is a variation of prostitution and human trade. It has the same logic in it. Even if they claim the women have chosen this, it’s still the trade of a human being.”

Broadly speaking the idea of women’s independence hasn’t penetrated Ukrainian and Russian society yet. In Moscow the rise of the super-rich has been huge, but there’s still a lingering attitude that western men are the key to wealth and happiness. In Russia 25,000 women every year sign up to marriage agencies. This Moscow agency is unabashed about putting young women with older wealthy western men.
“If the girl is young and pretty why should she sell herself and make a profit? If she’s beautiful, why should she be poor?”
Back in Odessa as if in need of further titillation, the men are treated to a bikini contest. Many of them say they're tired of aggressive and feminist Western women. But for a lot of these young women the West equals freedom - two ideals that down the line could become very much at odds.