Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Buying a Filipina Wife: Voices of Mail-Order Brides in Canada


The Philippine Women's Centre of BC (PWC) defines mail-order brides as "a formal transaction between a man and a woman from different countries, usually brokered by an agent, who is part of the mail-order bride industry, via catalogues or the Internet. The term is also applied to situations where men go to the Philippines with the intention of finding a wife."

It is no secret that many Western men love shopping for their potential wives in the Philippines. In fact, the desire for an Island wife is so strong that a whopping 5000 Filipina mail-order brides arrive in the United States every year, while 20,000 catalogue wives already reside in Australia. And Canada is also joining this growing club as the country's large Filipina domestic worker demographic will be soon eclipsed by that of Island-bought brides.

You’re not liking Filipina dating sites? We are what we are. The Philippines is over populated with mostly women. There is a very high poverty level and Filipino do not treat their women very well. So what it adds up to is so many [F]ilipina want out! The desire to leave and the fact they are the most beautiful women in the world and treat their men better than any other culture of women. That makes the Filipina very desirable to most men around the world. (quoted from a guy that runs one of the many objectionable Filipina "dating" sites)

Well, this must mean that Filipinas are living the high-life overseas in the comfort of their new mail-order marriages. Let's take a look at some of their experiences...

"Maria" expresses the economic disempowerment she is subjected to by her Canadian husband: "We then fight. I don’t have money at all. I have to make him satisfied. We have so many incidents. I can’t go shopping. Of course it’s natural for us women to go out shopping, to buy something. He’s not giving me any money. He doesn’t know that he should give me money and he just learned from me in the long run...."

"Then the lifestyle here, there is no respect at all. Like it’s not easy for me to just ask or borrow something like the vacuum or money. Sometimes I feel shy to tell him that we need this or we need that."

"Nika" grew up in the Visayan region of the Philippines in a peasant family. Since her older sister had married a foreigner and was reaping the financial rewards of her new lifestyle, Nika was also determined to become a mail-order bride...She finally decided on her future husband, "Tom," after exchanging a series of letters with him. Tom had boasted about his booming taxi business back in Canada and had promised to sponsor Nika to the country.

Sadly, Nika's new life in Canada would be marked by her husband's incessant verbal and emotional abuse. He monitored her phone calls, he forbade her from watching TV, and even regulated how much she ate. In order to signal Nika to stop eating, Tom would simply slap her.

As a Filipina working in Hong Kong, "Perlita" met her Canadian husband, "Keith" through a "friendship" service....She decided to apply for residency through Canada's Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) in order to secure her own incomce once she arrived in the new country. However, once Perlita had the couple's first baby, Keith would no longer allow her to work outside of the home.

And his abuse would not stop there. After Perlita gave birth to their second child, Keith started to control all aspects of her life--her social life, her finances, and even her mobility. He also inflicted brutal attacks on her in which he punched Perlita in the face, suffocated her in front of their children, and cruelly threatened her by holding a gun to her head.

Right, so despite the high instances of domestic abuse, the inherent marginalization of being bought in a developing nation and brought into the First World as a wife-servant, and being caught in this devastating Catch-22 with very few options, this really sounds like a better life...


All the personal excerpts from Filipina Canadians were borrowed from Canada: The New Frontier for Filipin Mail-Order Brides as published by the Philippine Women's Centre of BC. Please note that this is only a brief overview of the issue so please visit the above links for a more comprehensive exploration...

12 comments:

Black_Mamba said...

Those are probably just some of the more horrific stories on the plight of Filipina mail order brides.

I can't seem to blame those who choose to even submit to that, although in the end, it really is a matter of choice.

I hate it when women, and not just mail order brides, are regarded as mere objects. Grrrrr......

Great post CC. Very, very insightful ;)

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Hey Ivy...

You're right, this post just offers a small window into the mail-order bride industry so it is good to have a critical eye :)

While I can't speak for the rest of the world, many Filipinas who do immigrate to Canada as mail-order brides have experienced high instances of domestic abuse which is really heartbreaking. The PWC actually interviewed dozens of Filipina women who had similar experiences in Canada (in the link I provided). Thanks for your comments!

ZenDenizen said...

What horrifying anecdotes... Are there many "arranged marriages" between Filipinos in North America and home (outside of these sites and catalogs)?

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Hey Zen...

For the most part, I'm pretty sure that arranged marriages are not very common in Philippine culture. While the women mentioned in the post actually chose their husbands, it's really sad to see how abusive they became! Thanks for commenting!

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Hey Zen...

For the most part, I'm pretty sure that arranged marriages are not very common in Philippine culture. While the women mentioned in the post actually chose their husbands, it's really sad to see how abusive they became! Thanks for commenting!

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Hey Zen...

For the most part, I'm pretty sure that arranged marriages are not very common in Philippine culture. While the women mentioned in the post actually chose their husbands, it's really sad to see how abusive they became! Thanks for commenting!

mschumey07 said...

I am not at all surprised. Values have gone down and Philippine society has regressed. We have become a nation were life has become cheap. The problem now is that the lack of opportunities and the "easy way out" belief had given rise to this mail-order option. How I wish that Filipinas would value themselves more.

Anonymous said...

I read the comments here and most are very one-sided.

There are many filipinos that also mistreat their wives too.

I would suspect the main bulk of foreigner husbands fall into the category like me. I totally adore evrything about my Filipina wife and I treat her every second like the Princess she is.

I would recommend that Filipinas marry foreigners that are nice guys that could actually easily get a wife in their own country rather than old men or psychos that can't get a girl in their own country.

BAMBOO BLITZ said...

Hi annon, thanks for your comments. First of all, yes, this particular post is biased since I'm exploring the NEGATIVE experiences of Filipina mail order brides as analyzed in the article, Canada: The New Frontier for Filipina Mail-Order Brides . Not only did the women in these case studies come from a life of poverty in the Philippines, many of them became even more marginalized once they immigrated to their husband's home country, in this particular case--Canada. At the same time, I am NOT claiming that ALL mail order brides who marry "foreigners" are mistreated and abused, but I am shedding light on the fact that such disturbing instances DO occur. I believe these women's painful stories deserve to be heard...

Ysabel said...

These Jerks just got so lucky they didnt pick me as thier Mail Ordered Bride....I would raise hell and back if I was or treated this way!

BAMBOO BLITZ said...

Hi Ysabel, welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. Yes, these abusive chumps definitely deserve to get their butts kicked, that's for sure!

sweetgiftsphilippines said...

Im so sad about the filipina girl who marry foreign man who is not deserving to be a wife of filipina. I think they are crazy.

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