Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The numerical dominance of women within the Thai population in Belgium raises the question of how gender, as a category of difference and as a norm, influences Thai women’s decision to enter in a ‘mixed’ marriage, to migrate, and to ‘do family’ in their transnational social spaces. Drawing from a qualitative study of Thai women in ‘mixed’ couples in Belgium from 2012 to 2015, this article addresses this question using as conceptual points of departure the metaphor ‘men are butterflies, women are hindlimbs of an elephant’. It unveils how gendered ideologies in Thailand and in Belgium intersect and shape Thai women’s subjectivity and agency. On the one hand, the ‘men are butterflies’ metaphor reflects the gendered double standard of sexual morality in Thailand and suggests explanations for Thai women’s marriage with Belgian men, for their migration to Belgium, and for the break-up, in some cases, of their mixed marriage. On the other hand, the saying ‘women are hindlimbs of an elephant’ uncovers Thai women’s contributions to their families, societies, and nations, as well as the way they cope with the overlapping social expectations interacting on them as daughters, mothers, and citizens.