Wednesday, 11 February 2009
'Thai Girls' Versus Western Ones? - To Be a Bitter Man!
Bangkok dangerous? From left to right, a primary school teacher, a retired art teacher and an insurance salesperson. Are ‘Thai girls’ sweet and respectful or might an old guy like him get gobbled up? This blog asks for your views on a subject of eternal fascination.
For myself I just hate stereoptyping.
Although it’s interesting to ponder our differences, I hate it when somebody expects people to be a particular way just because they are elderly, Thai, disabled, Muslim, female or whatever. We are all individuals and do not fit any template. We should be free to find happiness as we wish and not have to satisfy the expectations of others.
In my books and blogs I’ve generally avoided pontificating about ‘Thai girls’ and what they’re like, except when making fun of the many strange cross-cultural relationships you see in Thailand. In my view Thai women are like any other group… they’re all different and have their own individual strengths and weaknesses.
Most of all I’ve avoided discussing the supposed differences between western and Thai women because I fear this can be a cesspit of stereotyping and superficiality.
I was thus amazed when a casual remark made by ‘Pauline’ in a Comment on this blog about environmental degradation on the resort island of Koh Chang brought a fire storm of angry abuse from a platoon of western men. On little evidence they called her a feminist bitch.
My blog article was called, “Thai Tourism? Shot in the Foot”, (24 December 2008) and it attracted no less than 36 Comments, far more than the modest response I usually get to my bland offerings. None of the Comments though was about the environment.
These Comments are well worth a read as they reveal a range of strong opinions that I’ve never before encountered. They seem written by some very bitter men, outraged by the advantages that feminist western women have put over them. Their answer is to avoid their own kind and to take a sweet, respectful Thai girl, the epitome of true femininity.
Pauline’s commented that it’s inevitable commercial interests will walk rough shod over the natural beauty of Koh Chang. Developers, like all human beings, simply do what they have the opportunity to do, just as western men, “go to Thailand to get sex partners, girlfriends and wives that they wouldn’t be able to dream of in their country of origin”.
I agree with her main point that the commercial imperative sweeps away all environmental considerations on the island but I hardly even noticed her throwaway aside about western men. The men didn’t like it though and they said exactly what they thought of her.
Pauline then posted a further Comment saying that western men can command much younger Asian wives as they are a privileged group in a much poorer country. Gender equality is an impossibility and men have opportunities in Thailand that are denied to her as an older woman.
The male commentators replied that American women are only out to extort money out of their men, that the feminist lobby has managed to skew the law in favor of women on divorce and if Pauline has found herself alone and without companionship then that’s her own fault for being what she is.
Your “whiney comments”, Pauline, are “truly hateful and racist motivated, coming fresh out of the mouth of a bitter, lonely, frustrated American feminist,” said the first commentator.
“American women only want one night stands and are the most sexist pigs to ever walk the earth.” They are “the most loathed women on the planet, mentally deranged,” “supported by a government funded ‘female supremacist’ movement”.
When Pauline again responded she was told, “Tough shit bitch – deal with it and enjoy your toys and your cats, you stupid bitch”, you “man hating, ball busting, intolerant, inflexible, rude Western bitch.” What man wouldn’t prefer, “a kind, pleasant, smart, sane, reasonable, not to mention cute Asian girl.” “An Asian woman respects her man” and is “supportive, respectable and sane.”
The extreme bitterness of these men against their own women surprised me and I’m doubtful too about the stereotyping of ‘Thai girls’. A sweet, doe eyed door mat, her one role is to please her man from kitchen to bedroom.
Is that so!
The Venus fly trap? The sirens on the rocks combing their long black tresses. Have western men never been gobbled up by ‘Thai girls’? Have they never been run onto the rocks?
Many are the shipwrecks and there are too many stories of the naïve male who comes to Thailand and falls for the first girl he meets in a bar. Soon she has her teeth into his wallet and that’s no surprise. What’s she working in a bar for anyway?
Utterly smitten, he goes back west and pines for his girl from afar. He loyally sends her regular money so she can stop work, but she goes back to the bar and collects more patrons. She’ll marry the one whose money makes the biggest bulge in his trousers and he’ll buy her a car and build a nice house on her family’s land. Then when most of his wealth has been handed over, she tells him to pack his bags.
I’ve even heard the story of a wife’s brothers who bundled the sorry guy into a taxi and told the driver to go as far south as possible. Yes, there are as many farang males who talk bitterly of their experiences with Thai women.
On the other hand dead men tell no tales.
An Australian woman who’d read the happy account of “My Thai Girl and I” wrote to me to say that she’d just been staying in Thailand with her son who has a Thai wife. Not one but two of his farang friends had just been murdered, she told me, apparently by family members in league with the wife. These are isolated tragedies one hopes, though the English language press in Pattaya is full of stories of farang men who mysteriously fall to their deaths from the balconies of their condominiums. He was drunk… it was an accident or suicide!
If therefore, bitter western men want to escape women who are after their money, Thailand may not necessarily be the most obvious choice. Why does a young and attractive woman accept an older man anyway? She wants someone to provide for herself and her family and what’s so wrong in that. It’s how the world always was until urbanization and contraception enabled women to play a more varied role in family life and become ‘emancipated’.
Those who seek a wife in a poorer country will thus surely find that money will play an even bigger part than it does back home. That just goes with the territory.
As for characterizing Thai women as a decorative fashion accessory, they are often powerful personalities in their own right with many strong qualities. And that is exactly why I like them and why my ‘Thai girl’ and I have made something of our unusual life together. Let’s face it, door mats are boring.
The male perception of western and Asian women, with its prejudices, distortions, insights and truths is thus a fascinating subject and discussion on this topic could run and run. A Pandora’s box perhaps.
Do you accept the usual stereotypes? As a male, do you look for love in a particular community? Can you explain the bitterness of the men who have so graphically expressed their views? And what do the women think?
I’d love to hear your views.
Do post a Comment below, be you Asian or western, male or female.
But please… keep it clean!
Andrew Hicks The ‘Thai Girl’ Blog February 2009