Tanzanian Women in Search for Chinese husbands – Daily News

Date: October 9, 2010
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Name of article: Tanzanian Women in Search for Chinese husbands
Name of publication: Daily News
Date: 24 October 2009
Country: Tanzania
Genre: News analysis
GEM classification: Blatant Stereotypes

The feature article looks at new social relations after trade liberalisation which witnessed high investments from China. Central to this article is that Chinese men have flooded Tanzania and are now marrying local women who see them as their gateway to heaven. There is a significant number of marriages of convenience between Chinese men and local Tanzanian women. The Chinese get residence papers in return.

This article is a good example of a blatant stereotype in tone, language and content.
Tanzanian women are said to “hunt” for eligible Chinese men to marry. This in itself is telling of the way that the author views the women. They are not in these relationships for love but for monetary gains.

The lack of primary and secondary data from crime to migrant statistics reduces the article to unverified, unsubstantiated, commentary passed off as a news piece. There is reference to illegal trade and poaching but no figures are given to substantiate these claims. This article is also a thinly veiled xenophobic attack on these Chinese men who have destabilised Tanzanian society.

The only woman interviewed talks of how her struggle will end by marriage to a Chinese man. The male source interviewed believes Tanzania does not benefit economically from China’s presence and adds that Chinese men love “our” women.

While comment is sought from a government official – his views on the above are not revealed. His comments refer to bi-lateral trade, investment and mutually beneficial relations.

The title of the story portrays the thrust of the article “Tanzanian women in search of Chinese husbands.” It portrays Tanzanian women as gold diggers who cannot work for themselves but rely on Chinese husbands for a living or as their ticket to a good life. This headline also lumps together all “Tanzanian” women. It is evident from the story that it is not all women who are in this group.

Women are portrayed as gold diggers in search of a particular breed of men for monetary gain. The women are portrayed as predators wanting marital relations for material gain. “A tall Tanzanian woman intends to cash in on the new Chinese presence in Africa.” The phrase “Cash In” hones in an image of women stalkers who snare rich Chinese men.

The article reinforces concepts of beauty versus brains. Women are portrayed paradoxically as shrewd, conniving and/or easily conned.

The article spells out the lengths that women will take to woo Chinese men and the use of skin lighteners is cited as an example, apparently because Chinese men prefer: “fat and fair”. This reference to fairness ties in with the concept of equating lightness to beauty.

The article details the “foreigners” treatment of local women, allegedly women are exploited and treated as mules to courier ivory and contrabands in the region. This sentiment is not grounded in research.

The tone of the article is not only patriarchal but it typecasts men according to racial/ethnic lines and perpetuates xenophobic attitudes. Chinese men are portrayed as exploitative, drug lords and illegal traders wanting local women for personal gains as well.

Women are treated as objects. The reference to Tanzanian women as “our Women” supports the false belief that men own women. Sources used in this article perpetuate gender stereotypes.

There is an image of a dark skinned Masaai girl with the caption “a pretty Masaai girl.” Are the Chinese a solution to harsh living conditions? This is again stereotyping women by implying that they cannot work towards bettering their lives but regard Chinese men (in the form of marriage) as a solution.

The feature does not explore or analyse new patterns of relations emerging in Tanzania in a balanced manner. The reportage is biased and it can be described as “reactive commentary” that does little for gender discourse and goes a long way in perpetuating prejudice. Tanzanian men are portrayed as protectors. The story drives home the “foreign” threat when the official view is juxtaposed against the author’s parting quote: “that many Tanzanians think otherwise.”





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