A Norwegian man living in a small town in the county of Sør-Trøndelag has placed an ad in his local newspaper, looking for help in teaching his foreign wife how to become a good Norwegian wife and mother. The ad has attracted national attention, not least by a researcher who thought it was a joke.
Åsmund Snøfugl, editor of the newspaper in Melhus called Gaula, said his paper wouldn’t have printed the ad if he and his staff didn’t think it was serious. “But it was so unusual that we evaluated it,” he told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “As long as it wasn’t discriminatory or defamatory for anyone, we chose to print it.”
‘Like a parody’
The ad seeks an “adult woman” to work as an “adviser” to a “foreign woman” married to a Norwegian man. “She wants information on Norwegian traditions, norms, customs and trends,” read the ad. Also tips on how to bring up two girls aged 10 and 8, how to prepare food from scratch and how best to furnish and take care of a Norwegian home. Applicants should be “older than 35, preferably from a rural area but living in or near Trondheim.” The ad called for working one or two days per week.
“This looked like a parody, or a stunt to draw attention to the issue of integration,” said Lisbeth Lein, who conducts research on integration of foreign women who marry Norwegian men from rural areas of Norway. Marriages between Norwegian men and foreign women doubled between 1996 and 2006, she told NRK, and in 2008, around 10,000 women from Thailand, Russia and the Philippines were married to Norwegian men.
Lein said the ad, if not a parody, expresses attitudes and expectations that belong to another era. “The wife is presented as incompetent, and that she needs to be taught how to fill her role to suit her husband’s needs,” she said.
Snøfugl, the editor of the paper, said the man who placed the ad wanted to remain anonymous but seemed serious. Snøfugl knows who the man is. No one had applied for the position as of Thursday afternoon.