Through decades of advertising, the word “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 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 that are no longer true and which render use of the term harmful in today’s world. Discontinued utilization of the term can lead to much happier intercultural marriages by way of a resetting of expectations.
However the term is commonly used including implementation of its negative connotations; the primary one being the thought 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 provided by a catalog.
Although 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 during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The picture 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 target market changed from immigrant Japanese and Korean laborers to Caucasian men. The catalogs were focused mainly on Asian women however they promoted an ages old view of Asian women as being meek, submissive, obedient, and sexually compliant, who, anyway, had great family values.
How this came into existence descriptive of Asian women is really a mystery. Possibly it absolutely was an understanding brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey towards the Orient. Or possibly it’s affiliated with chinese people 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 add slick color graphics and were mass marketed, on newsstands, by paid subscription, and ultimately on the Internet.
Thus we have a stereotypical description in conjunction with the organization style of mail order, and also the result is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism whereby a man could browse a catalog and select a lady who attracts 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 mixes a flawed view of women using a real business structure. Bride catalogs are useful vehicles for people to use for connecting with potential mates. There are lots of numerous them available, both online and in printed form. And mail order is really a useful, respectable business structure. There is however no such thing being a “mail order bride.” You can’t purchase a women with the mail. Period.
One other change in the bride catalogs that has happened is that they are now 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 lots of women of Russian heritage. As these women are in a catalog, they all obtain the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped to them.
Actually, it’s becoming almost chic to use the term. 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 kinds of usage really are a natural process whereby the meme gradually loses its negative stigma. It will 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 term “mail order bride” includes a sad history because of factors involved with its origin. Thankfully the circumstances which lead to its creation no more exist. But what does yet exist is promotion in the term for commercial purposes. This brings about its application in totally inappropriate ways with resultant social harm. It produces resentment and a feeling of aykchm for foreign women. Additionally it increases the difficulty of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages as a result of false expectations going to the relationship.
Foreign women know of this term. But for the most part, due to 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 be bought such as a prostitute. And there is not any faster way to learn about the “Russian bear” rather than to relate to a Russian woman as though she is bought and paid for, or by expecting her to be meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly play a role in discord in any relationship. There are more than enough hurdles to work through in creating a successful intercultural marriage. Adding to them expectations of behavior based upon a demeaning stereotype is a recipe for disaster.
If a man will accept his foreign bride for who she really is rather than what the man wants her to get based on what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your decision, men. If you are on a pursuit of a foreign bride, ignore the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and can set you up for failure. Rather, stretch to have an enlightened perspective and never label the ladies in the catalogs in any way. Refer to them instead as “women searching for husbands.” This makes it easier and more fun to obtain the one you’re trying to find; so when she marries you, your lifestyle together is going to be a lot more fulfilling.