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 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 100 years ago which are will no longer true and which render use of the word harmful in today’s world. Discontinued utilisation of the term can lead to much happier intercultural marriages through a resetting of expectations.
But the term is popular including implementation of its negative connotations; the key one being the thought of buying a woman from the catalog. Further, there are implications, based on its original application to Asian women, that define the kind of women available from a catalog.
Although 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 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 become joined in marriage to Japanese and Korean labor men who had been imported to Hawaii and California during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The image bride phenomenon died out as a result of alterations in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. However 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, anyway, had great family values.
How this came to be descriptive of Asian women is really a mystery. Possibly it had been an idea brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey to the Orient. Or possibly it’s associated with chinese people practice of foot binding women. It’s also likely 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 eventually on the Internet.
Thus we have a stereotypical description coupled with the company model of mail order, and the result is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism through which a man could browse a catalog and choose 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 power of advertising and mass distribution, a meme has been produced that combines a flawed look at women using a real business structure. Bride catalogs are helpful vehicles for people to use for connecting with potential mates. There are numerous numerous them available, both on the web and in printed form. And mail order is actually a useful, respectable business structure. However, there is no such thing as being a “mail order bride.” You can’t purchase a women from the mail. Period.
An additional alternation in the bride catalogs which has taken place is because they are actually increasingly multicultural. Yes you may still find many Asian women inside the catalogs. But additionally, there are many Latinas. With the breakup in the Soviet Union, there are lots of women of Russian heritage. Because these women are in a catalog, each of them get the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped on them.
In fact, it’s becoming almost chic to utilize the phrase. You can find no less than three seriously intentioned Internet articles that referred to the English women taken to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as “mail order brides.” Perhaps these casual types of usage 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 a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The term “mail order bride” features a sad history due to factors associated with its origin. Thankfully the circumstances which result in its creation no more 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. Additionally it improves the difficulty of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages due to false expectations entering the marriage.
Foreign women are conscious of this term. But in most cases, because of 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 be bought such as a prostitute. And there is absolutely no faster way to learn about the “Russian bear” rather than relate to a Russian woman just as if she actually is bought and bought, or by expecting her to be meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly bring about discord in every relationship. There are many than enough hurdles to work through in creating a successful intercultural marriage. Contributing to them expectations of behavior based upon a demeaning stereotype is really a recipe for disaster.
If a man will accept his foreign bride for who she really is as opposed to what the man wants her to become according to what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your selection, men. If you are over a search for an international bride, forget about the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and will pave the way for failure. Rather, stretch to have an enlightened perspective and you should not label the women in the catalogs at all. Refer to them instead as “women looking for husbands.” This makes it easier and more fun to obtain the one you’re searching for; so when she marries you, your life together will likely be far more fulfilling.