Wisconsin Union Directorate Global Connections hosted a discussion between University of Wisconsin students on global dating norms Wednesday evening.
UW student Melanie Sims said in America, especially on college campuses, there is a pressure to not commit to long-term relationships.
“I feel like everyone is like, ‘don’t date because there are so many people out there,’” Sims said. “The whole culture is to meet as many people as you possibly can.”
Pedro Goulart, a UW student from Brazil, said dating in Brazil is similar to dating in the U.S.
Goulart said people in Brazil typically start dating when they are teenagers and boys are encouraged to find a date earlier than girls are.
“People don’t really want to commit a lot to relationships,” Goulart said. “It’s not really a one-night thing, but I guess one-month is what most relationships are.”
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Jaron Tan, a UW student from Singapore, said the dating scene in Singapore is slightly different.
In the U.S. it is a social norm to date for a period of time before officially becoming couples, but Singaporeans become couples before the first date, Tan said.
“The dating phase only happens after you guys become a couple,” Tan said. “So before that, there is no dating phase.”
Whether LGBTQ+ dating was acceptable varied across the many different countries represented in the discussion.
In Italy, for instance, gay marriage was legalized in 2016 but is still largely socially unacceptable, Valerio Romano, a UW student from Italy, said.
“There is still a lot of pushback [to legalizing gay marriage] because we have a very strong interest in the Catholic church,” Romano said.
The situation is similar in Brazil, Goulart said.
Gay marriage was legalized in Brazil in 2013, but Goulart said marriage of LGBTQ+ couples is only acceptable in a few large cities.
“Some of the laws are very against the mindset of the general population,” Goulart said.
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Due to the lack of diversity in Italy, people have not had to contend with the reality of interracial dating, Romano said. This is changing.
There are an increasing amount of immigrants, which brings more diversity to the country, Romano said. Intolerance is becoming more prevalent as well.
In Brazil, Goulart said interracial marriage and dating is not an issue because the country is very diverse and racial categories are not exact.
But Goulart said it is against social norms to date below your economic class.
“If you are from a rich family, if you are dating someone from a lower economic class, parents wouldn’t normally approve,” Goulart said.
Manasi Mohan, whose parents are from India, said arranged marriages still happen.
But younger generations are challenging the idea behind arranged marriages, Mohan said.
“There’s definitely more pushback from the younger generations, of like, ‘I want the freedom to choose who I spend the rest of my life’ and ‘I want to find them on my own, I don’t want to be helped,’” Mohan said.
Mohan said the American idea of arranged marriages is distorted.
Typically, parents will find people who they think their children will get along with and in most families, people in arranged marriages go on dates to see if the person is compatible, Mohan said. If the match is incompatible, the person can usually say no to marrying them, Mohan said.
“American media especially makes it look like you meet them on the day of the wedding,” Mohan said. “But that’s not true at all.”