Through decades of advertising, the phrase “mail order bride” has developed into a meme. Most memes are harmless and in fact 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.” But the term “mail order bride” carries connotations from a century ago that are no longer true and which render use of the term harmful in today’s world. Discontinued use of the term will result in much happier intercultural marriages by way of a resetting of expectations.
But the term is popular including use of its negative connotations; the key one being the concept of purchasing a woman from the 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 was not invented on the Internet, “mail order brides” has definitely found traction as a useful and profitable term. It’s a well known fact that about 100 years 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 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 due to modifications in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. However the legacy of bridal catalogs lived on. And also the target 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 take a look at Asian women as being meek, submissive, obedient, and sexually compliant, who, by the way, had great family values.
How this came into existence 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 to the Orient. Or maybe 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 contributed 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 ultimately on the Internet.
Thus there exists a stereotypical description along with the company style of mail order, and also the outcome is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism by which a man could browse a catalog and choose a woman who interests 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 created that combines a flawed view of 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 online and in printed form. And mail order is actually a useful, respectable business design. But 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 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. With the breakup in the Soviet Union, there are lots of women of Russian heritage. As these women are in a catalog, they all have the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped on them.
Actually, it’s becoming almost chic to use the term. You will find at least three seriously intentioned Internet articles that known as the English women brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as “mail order brides.” Perhaps these casual kinds 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 year old social poison being a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The word “mail order bride” has a sad history as a result of factors associated with its origin. Thankfully the circumstances which lead to its creation will no longer exist. But 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 problem of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages because of false expectations going to the marriage.
Foreign women are conscious of this term. But for the most part, due to language challenges and cultural differences, they understand of this only in a literal sense. Their reaction is disgust at their being considered a commodity to become bought just like a prostitute. And there is no faster way to discover the “Russian bear” rather than to relate with a Russian woman as if she is bought and purchased, or by expecting her to be meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly contribute to discord in every relationship. There are more than enough hurdles to work through in constructing a successful intercultural marriage. Adding to them expectations of behavior based on a demeaning stereotype is really a recipe for disaster.
When a man will accept his foreign bride for who she actually is rather than what the man wants her to get according to what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your selection, men. In case you are on the quest for a foreign 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 at all. Make reference to them instead as “women looking for husbands.” This makes it easier and much more fun to get the one you’re trying to find; so when she marries you, your lifestyle together is going to be far more fulfilling.