The following excerpts are from Four generations of norteÃ±os: new research from the cradle of Mexican migration by Wayne A. Cornelius, et. al (2009). The study focuses on a town called Tlacuitapa in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Most of the migrants head to Union City, California and Oklahoma City.
It's a well-known fact among Mexican immigrants in the US that Mexican immigrant men all want to go back to Mexico to find good wives. Every winter, there would be hordes of these returning "norteÃ±os" ("northerners") who would flock to town fiestas to court the local girls. When interviewed about why they prefer Mexican-raised women over American-raised women of Mexican descent, their answers were clear cut: they don't like the Americanized women. They're seen as too liberal, aggressive, and don't make good wives and mothers. The statement "I'm going back to Mexico to find a vieja [wife]" is one that's often heard by many Mexicans.
In order to measure the town's openness to outsiders, informants were asked whether they found it acceptable for a community member to marry someone not from either the town or Mexico. Nearly everyone - migrants and nonmigrants alike - believed this to be acceptable. ... With regard to marrying someone from outside Mexico, ... 94 percent of nonmigrants and 93 percent of migrants are open to such an alliance. ... This tolerance toward marrying outside of one's community or ethnic group is consistent with other studies of Mexican intermarriage. For example, in Ameca, Jalisco, marriage to someone from another ethnic or racial background may "confe[r] great prestige to the family of origin" and leads community members to adapt their rituals to those with other customs (Durand 1998, 219). ... This tolerance within migrant communities again reflects the new behaviors and beliefs - social remittances - that migrants develop in the United States and bring back to the home communities, where they change perspectives among non-migrants as well.
Interestingly, a 2006 poll found that a majority of Mexicans perceive U.S. cultural influences to have a negative impact on Mexico (Zogby and Rubio 2006, 15).
For unmarried young women [in Tlacuitapa, Jalisco, Mexico], it is an opportunity to catch the eye of one of the unmarried norteÃ±o men, some of whom are openly looking for a wife.
Spaces have gender-specific identities, and men and women experience public spaces differently. Jennifer Hirsch argues that the "street" and "home" carry connotations, respectively, of masculinity and femininity in Mexico. Men are outdoors because they have to support the household, while women are expected to remain in the home and focus on cooking, cleaning, and family caretaking (Hirsch 2003:99-100). This sociohistorical division of space is very evident in Tlacuitapa.
Because many men leave at a relatively young age, there are many more women than men in the town.
Several women told us that marriage was the factor that prompted them to contemplate migration. When asked about her migration plans before marriage, MarÃa responded that she had none: "I never would have left." Yet as soon as she married, MarÃa migrated to be with her husband. Like many other female migrants, MarÃa began working in the United States; she obtained a childcare license and began earning an income. Though she earned considerably less than her husband, this was not a concern because her main focus continued to be maintaining the family unit. Although she may have been reluctant to leave Mexico, MarÃa considered preserving her family's unity worth the sacrifice.
[A] respondent also pointed out that migration changes men's behavior's as well: "The men are changed, less macho. They do whatever the woman orders, what the woman says and everything."
Some male immigrants prefer to date women from Tlacuitapa and come to the annual fiestas specifically to find a wife, a search that is facilitated by the many dances, wedding, and quinceaÃ±eras (girls' 15-year-old birthday celebrations) that enable people to encounter members of the opposite sex. [Footnote 10: Many TlacuitapeÃ±os said that the winter fiestas are for single people, while summer is the time for the families to return.] Several people told me that they met their spouses during the fiestas; MarÃa del Rosario met her husband at the recent fiestas and was planning to migrate to join him in the United States as soon as she received her papers. JesÃºs, a US-based migrant, had been married but was now divorced. He admitted to being in Tlacuitapa during the winter fiestas in no small part to find a girlfriend or wife. Other respondents told stories of couples who split up during the fiestas to see if either could land a US-based spouse. [Footnote 11: If neither one meets a new partner, they get back together after the fiestas.]
Such "spouse shopping" in Tlacuitapa reflects a preference for women willing to play a gendered role as "traditional" homemaker and caretaker, a preference clearly expressed in a male migrant's exhortation not to "Americanize" the town's women. An impromptu focus group of four migrant men also elicited the men's partiality for women born and raised in Tlacuitapa and their feeling that American women are "too liberated" and less inclined to accept a stay-at-home role.
Yet despite these findings, respondents in Tlacuitapa indicated that migrant men are perceived as less macho than their nonmigrant counterparts and that the marriages of migrants are more egalitarian than those of people who do not leave the home community.
And from http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3967 :
Winston, all of the fundamental ideas mentioned here on HappierAbroad were already very well known and discussed among Mexican immigrants in the United States - for decades. Except for them it's "Happier Back Home." They rarely share these opinions with outsiders, perhaps because they know Americans would find them insulting.
- It is incredibly common for Mexican immigrant men to talk about going back to Mexico to find a good wife. I personally know plenty of Mexican guys who flat-out refused to date Mexican-American women ("pochitas") in the U.S., and got girlfriends and wives in Mexico instead. Even many Mexican men who've spent all their high school and college lives in the U.S. still go to Mexico to find girlfriends and wives. (With so many women available in those American schools, why do you think they would STILL go back to Mexico to date women?) The reasons they mention are incredibly similar to the ones found here on the HappierAbroad forum.
- They often reminisce about the much more slower-paced life of rural Mexico as opposed to the stressful, fast-paced life of the United States. As immigrants, they often have to move many times to find jobs, whereas in Mexico, they can "let the days go by under the sun," so to speak.
- Mexican immigrants believe American culture turns many of their children into hoodlums and gangsters. In Mexico, Chicano and "cholo" culture are thought of as American. Americans blame this phenomenon on poor parenting, which of course the Mexicans do not agree with.