Hansel and Gretel Revisited

Quixotic Reflections of Online Dating

In: Intercultural Mirrors

Abstract

The unprecedented wave of immigrants relocating to western societies makes this a propitious time for interdisciplinary research to focus on identity negotiation. Studies in multicultural contexts offer fascinating insights into the complexities of human interaction, revealing that – irrespective of age – dynamic remodelling of identity still occurs (Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2001; Giguère, Lalonde, & Lou, 2010; Mahtani, 2002). The transitional processes of acculturation in Australia from the sixties onwards provide compelling evidence that our social interactions are in stark contrast with those within our cultural group. Placed in relief with the host national group, the perceptions of self, derived from these interactions thus give rise to the dynamic negotiation of our identity. The traumatised childhood of young migrants whose identity was transformed through ‘intercultural mirrors’ projecting racism and discrimination can leave residual effects on intimate adult relationships. This chapter explores the impacts of the quixotic images projected from online dating through the lens of a fifty-something, Franco-Australian professional, Coco. Her ethnographic chronicle and introspection place her identity reconstruction through intercultural contact with her suitors under the microscope,1 and documents simultaneously how those mirrors are effecting dynamic changes to sociocultural norms.