Through decades of advertising, the term “mail order bride” has become a meme. Most memes are harmless and in fact facilitate more colorful communication. Some common examples are “shop ’til you drop”, or “clean as 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 use of the term will lead to much happier intercultural marriages by way of a resetting of expectations.
But the term is popular including use of its negative connotations; the primary one being the idea of purchasing a woman from the catalog. Further, you will find implications, based on its original application to Asian women, that define the sort of women offered by a catalog.
Even though 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 hundred years ago there actually were mail order brides, wherein a catalog of women’s biographical info and photos could be viewed, selections made, and brides purchased. These first catalogs were for “picture brides” to get joined in marriage to Japanese and Korean labor men who had previously been imported to Hawaii and California during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The picture bride phenomenon died out because of alterations in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. Nevertheless 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 nevertheless they promoted an ages old view of Asian women to be meek, submissive, obedient, and sexually compliant, who, by the way, had great family values.
How this came to be descriptive of Asian women is a mystery. Possibly it absolutely was an understanding brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey for the Orient. Or maybe it’s affiliated with the Chinese practice of foot binding women. It’s also possible 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 add 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 business style of mail order, and the outcome is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism whereby a male could browse a catalog and select a lady who interests him. He could supposedly “buy” her and possess her perform her wifely duties for him as per his media created expectations.
Through the strength of advertising and mass distribution, a meme has been created that mixes a flawed look at women having a real business model. Bride catalogs are useful vehicles for individuals for connecting with potential mates. There are lots of numerous them available, both on the web and in printed form. And mail order is really a useful, respectable business design. However, there is no such thing being a “mail order bride.” You can’t get a women from the mail. Period.
Another alternation in the bride catalogs that has occurred is they are increasingly multicultural. Yes you may still find many Asian women within the catalogs. But there are also many Latinas. And with the breakup of the Soviet Union, there are numerous women of Russian heritage. Since these women are in a catalog, they all get the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped upon them.
Actually, it’s becoming almost chic to utilize the term. You will find no less than three seriously intentioned Internet articles that known as the English women delivered to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as “mail order brides.” Perhaps these casual varieties of usage really are a natural process whereby the meme gradually loses its negative stigma. It might be nice in the event the commercial interests did their part and quit pushing a 100 year old social poison as being a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The word “mail order bride” has a sad history because of factors associated with its origin. Thankfully instances which cause its creation no more exist. But what does yet exist is promotion from the term for commercial purposes. This results in its application in totally inappropriate ways with resultant social harm. It creates resentment and a sense of aykchm for foreign women. In addition it increases the issue of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages because of false expectations entering the relationship.
Foreign women are aware of this term. But for the most part, because of language challenges and cultural differences, they know from it only in a literal sense. Their reaction is disgust at their being viewed as a commodity to get bought just like a prostitute. And there is absolutely no faster way to learn about the “Russian bear” than to connect with a Russian woman as if she is bought and bought, or by expecting her to become meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly play a role in discord in any relationship. There are many than enough hurdles to work through in creating a successful intercultural marriage. Increasing them expectations of behavior based on 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 what the man wants her to be according to what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your choice, men. Should you be over a pursuit of an international bride, ignore the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and can pave the way for failure. Rather, stretch for the enlightened perspective and you should not label the women inside the catalogs in any way. Refer to them instead as “women looking for husbands.” This makes it easier and a lot more fun to obtain the one you’re looking for; and when she marries you, your lifestyle together is going to be much more fulfilling.