Through decades of advertising, the term “mail order bride” has turned into a meme. Most memes are harmless and in reality facilitate more colorful communication. Some common examples are “shop ’til you drop”, or “clean as being a whistle”, or “talk the talk and walk the walk”, and one more, uh, oh yes, “senior moment.” Nevertheless the term “mail order bride” carries connotations from a century ago which are no longer true and which render use of the term harmful in today’s world. Discontinued utilization of the term will result in much happier intercultural marriages via a resetting of expectations.
Nevertheless the term is commonly used including application of its negative connotations; the main one being the concept of buying a woman coming from a catalog. Further, there are implications, produced from its original application to Asian women, that define the sort of women offered by a catalog.
Even though the term was not invented on the Internet, “mail order brides” has definitely found traction as being a useful and profitable term. It’s an undeniable fact that about a hundred years ago there actually were mailorderbrides.reviews, wherein a catalog of women’s biographical info and photos may be viewed, selections made, and brides purchased. These first catalogs were for “picture brides” to become joined in marriage to Japanese and Korean labor men who had been imported to Hawaii and California throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The picture bride phenomenon died out as a result of changes in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. However the legacy of bridal catalogs lived on. And the target market changed from immigrant Japanese and Korean laborers to Caucasian men. The catalogs were still focused mainly on Asian women however they promoted an ages old view of Asian women as being meek, submissive, obedient, and sexually compliant, who, incidentally, had great family values.
How this came into existence descriptive of Asian women is actually a mystery. Possibly it had been a concept brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey to the Orient. Or maybe it’s affiliated with the Chinese practice of foot binding women. It’s also possible that the two factors together with the Japanese geisha girl mystique led to formation of the description.
However this characterization of Asian women started, it “stuck” and was widely promoted in bride catalogs. The catalogs evolved over decades to add slick color graphics and were mass marketed, on newsstands, by paid subscription, and ultimately on the Internet.
Thus there exists a stereotypical description along with the organization model of mail order, and the end result is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism whereby a man could browse a catalog and choose a woman who attracts him. He could supposedly “buy” her and possess her perform her wifely duties for him depending on his media created expectations.
Through the effectiveness of advertising and mass distribution, a meme has been given that combines a flawed view of women using a real business structure. Bride catalogs are helpful vehicles for folks to use for connecting with potential mates. There are lots of hundreds of them available, both online and in printed form. And mail order is really a useful, respectable business model. There is however no such thing being a “mail order bride.” You can’t get a women through the mail. Period.
Another change in the bride catalogs that has occurred is that they are now increasingly multicultural. Yes you may still find many Asian women within the catalogs. But in addition there are many Latinas. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, there are lots of women of Russian heritage. Since these women are in a catalog, all of them obtain the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped to them.
In reality, it’s becoming almost chic to use the term. You will find no less than three seriously intentioned Internet articles that referred to the English women brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as “mail order brides.” Perhaps these casual types of usage really are a natural process whereby the meme gradually loses its negative stigma. It might be nice if the commercial interests did their part and quit pushing a 100 year-old social poison as a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The phrase “mail order bride” includes a sad history because of factors involved in its origin. Thankfully the conditions which lead to its creation no more exist. But precisely what does yet exist is promotion in the term for commercial purposes. This results in its application in totally inappropriate ways with resultant social harm. It generates resentment and a sense of aykchm for foreign women. In addition it increases the issue of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages due to false expectations entering the marriage.
Foreign women are aware of this term. But typically, due to language challenges and cultural differences, they are fully aware of this only in a literal sense. Their reaction is disgust at their being thought of as a commodity to get bought such as a prostitute. And there is absolutely no faster way to discover the “Russian bear” than to connect with a Russian woman as though she is bought and purchased, or by expecting her to be meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly play a role in discord in almost any relationship. There are many than enough hurdles to function through in building a successful intercultural marriage. Adding to them expectations of behavior based upon a demeaning stereotype is actually a recipe for disaster.
In case a man will accept his foreign bride for who she really is instead of exactly what the man wants her to get according to what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your decision, men. If you are on a quest for a foreign bride, forget the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and will set you up for failure. Rather, stretch for an enlightened perspective and never label the ladies in the catalogs whatsoever. Refer to them instead as “women looking for husbands.” This makes it easier and much more fun to get the one you’re looking for; and once she marries you, your daily life together is going to be far more fulfilling.