Through decades of advertising, the term “mail order bride” has turned into a meme. Most memes are harmless and actually 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.” However the term “mail order bride” carries connotations from 100 years ago which can be no more true and which render utilization of the word harmful in today’s world. Discontinued utilisation of the term will lead to much happier intercultural marriages through a resetting of expectations.
However the term is commonly used including use of its negative connotations; the main one being the concept of buying a woman from a catalog. Further, there are implications, produced from its original application to Asian women, that define the type of women available from a catalog.
Although the term had not been invented on the Internet, “mail order brides” has definitely found traction as being a useful and profitable term. It’s a well known fact that about a century ago there actually were mail order brides, wherein a catalog of women’s biographical info and photos might 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 previously been imported to Hawaii and California through the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The picture bride phenomenon died out due to modifications 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 nevertheless they promoted an ages old take a look at Asian women as being meek, submissive, obedient, and sexually compliant, who, anyway, had great family values.
How this came to be descriptive of Asian women is actually a mystery. Possibly it was an understanding brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey for the Orient. Or perhaps it’s affiliated with the Chinese practice of foot binding women. It’s also likely that those two factors combined with Japanese geisha girl mystique led to formation in the description.
However this characterization of Asian women started, it “stuck” and was widely promoted in bride catalogs. The catalogs evolved over decades to include slick color graphics and were mass marketed, on newsstands, by paid subscription, and eventually on the Internet.
Thus there exists a stereotypical description in conjunction with the organization model of mail order, as well as the 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 have her perform her wifely duties for him depending on his media created expectations.
Through the power of advertising and mass distribution, a meme has been produced that mixes a flawed look at women with a real business design. Bride catalogs are useful vehicles for people to use for connecting with potential mates. There are many hundreds of them available, both on the web and in printed form. And mail order is really a useful, respectable business structure. However, there is no such thing being a “mail order bride.” You can’t get a women from the mail. Period.
An additional alternation in the bride catalogs which includes taken place is that they are increasingly multicultural. Yes you can still find many Asian women in the catalogs. But additionally, there are many Latinas. And with the breakup in the Soviet Union, there are numerous women of Russian heritage. As these women are in a catalog, each of them get the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped to them.
In fact, it’s becoming almost chic to make use of the word. There are at least three seriously intentioned Internet articles that described the English women taken 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 would be nice in the event the commercial interests did their part and quit pushing a 100 year old social poison being a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The word “mail order bride” includes a sad history because of factors involved in its origin. Thankfully the conditions which cause its creation no longer exist. But exactly what does yet exist is promotion in the term for commercial purposes. This leads to its application in totally inappropriate ways with resultant social harm. It creates resentment and feelings of aykchm for foreign women. In addition it improves the issue of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages because of false expectations going into the marriage.
Foreign women know of this term. But typically, as a result of language challenges and cultural differences, they understand from it only in a literal sense. Their reaction is disgust at their being considered a commodity to be bought just like a prostitute. And there is no faster way to learn about the “Russian bear” than to relate to a Russian woman just as if she actually is bought and paid for, or by expecting her to be meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly bring about discord in every relationship. There are other than enough hurdles to work through in creating a successful intercultural marriage. Increasing them expectations of behavior based upon a demeaning stereotype is really a recipe for disaster.
In case a man will accept his foreign bride for who she really is rather than exactly what the man wants her to be based upon what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your decision, men. In case you are on the search for an international bride, forget about the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and can pave the way for failure. Rather, stretch to have an enlightened perspective and never label the women inside the catalogs whatsoever. Reference them instead as “women searching for husbands.” This makes it easier and more fun to get the one you’re searching for; and when she marries you, your lifestyle together will likely be far more fulfilling.