Through decades of advertising, the word “mail order bride” has developed 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 a hundred years ago which are no more true and which render usage of the phrase harmful in today’s world. Discontinued utilization of the term will lead to much happier intercultural marriages through a resetting of expectations.
Nevertheless the term is commonly used including implementation of its negative connotations; the main one being the idea of investing in a woman coming from a catalog. Further, there are implications, derived from its original application to Asian women, that define the sort of women offered by a catalog.
Even though the term had not been invented on the Internet, “mail order brides” has definitely found traction being a useful and profitable term. It’s an undeniable fact that about a century 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 image bride phenomenon died out because of changes in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. But the legacy of bridal catalogs lived on. As well as the potential audience 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 look at Asian women as being meek, submissive, obedient, and sexually compliant, who, incidentally, had great family values.
How this came to be descriptive of Asian women is really a mystery. Possibly it was an understanding brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey to the Orient. Or perhaps it’s associated with the Chinese practice of foot binding women. It’s also likely that those 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 include slick color graphics and were mass marketed, on newsstands, by paid subscription, and in the end on the Internet.
Thus there exists a stereotypical description in conjunction with the business type of mail order, as well as the outcome is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism whereby a male 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 strength of advertising and mass distribution, a meme has been created that combines a flawed view of women using a real business structure. Bride catalogs are of help vehicles for folks for connecting with potential mates. There are lots of hundreds of them available, both online and in printed form. And mail order is actually a useful, respectable business design. But there is no such thing as being a “mail order bride.” You can’t buy a women from the mail. Period.
Another change in the bride catalogs that has taken place is they are increasingly multicultural. Yes you can still find many Asian women within the catalogs. But additionally, there are many Latinas. And with the breakup in the Soviet Union, there are lots of women of Russian heritage. As these women are in a catalog, each of them have the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped on them.
In reality, it’s becoming almost chic to make use of the phrase. You can find a minimum of three seriously intentioned Internet articles that described the English women brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as “mail order brides.” Perhaps these casual varieties of usage certainly are a natural process whereby the meme gradually loses its negative stigma. It will be nice when the commercial interests did their part and quit pushing a 100 years old social poison as being a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The phrase “mail order bride” includes a sad history because of factors associated with its origin. Thankfully the circumstances which result in its creation no more exist. But what does yet exist is promotion from the term for commercial purposes. This brings about its application in totally inappropriate ways with resultant social harm. It produces resentment and a sense of aykchm for foreign women. Furthermore it increases the difficulty of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages due to false expectations going into the marriage.
Foreign women know of this term. But typically, because of language challenges and cultural differences, they know from it only in a literal sense. Their reaction is disgust at their being considered a commodity to be bought like a prostitute. And there is absolutely no faster way to discover the “Russian bear” rather than to relate with a Russian woman just as if she actually 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 creating a successful intercultural marriage. Adding to 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 actually is as opposed to just what the man wants her to be based upon what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your choice, men. In case you are over a quest for an overseas bride, forget the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and definately will set you up for failure. Rather, stretch for an enlightened perspective and do not label the women inside the catalogs whatsoever. Refer to them instead as “women searching for husbands.” This makes it easier and more fun to obtain the one you’re searching for; and once she marries you, your lifestyle together will be far more fulfilling.