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.” However the term “mail order bride” carries connotations from a century ago that are no more true and which render utilization of the term harmful in today’s world. Discontinued use of the term can lead to much happier intercultural marriages by way of a resetting of expectations.
However the term is widely used including use of its negative connotations; the main one being the concept of investing in a woman coming from a catalog. Further, there are implications, produced from its original application to Asian women, that define the sort of women available from a catalog.
Even though term was not invented on the Internet, “mail order brides” has definitely found traction as a useful and profitable term. It’s a fact that about a hundred 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 be joined in marriage to Japanese and Korean labor men who had previously been imported to Hawaii and California throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The image bride phenomenon died out due to alterations in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. But the legacy of bridal catalogs lived on. As well as the target 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 take a look at 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 really a mystery. Possibly it had been a concept brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey for the Orient. Or maybe it’s associated with the Chinese practice of foot binding women. It’s also possible that those two factors combined with the Japanese geisha girl mystique led to formation from 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 we have a stereotypical description along with the business model of mail order, and also the end result is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism whereby a male could browse a catalog and select a woman who appeals to 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 given that combines a flawed view of women with a real business structure. Bride catalogs are of help vehicles for people to use for connecting with potential mates. There are many hundreds of them available, both online and in printed form. And mail order is really a useful, respectable business model. There is however no such thing as being a “mail order bride.” You can’t purchase a women with the mail. Period.
One other improvement in the bride catalogs which has occurred is because they are actually increasingly multicultural. Yes there are still many Asian women inside the catalogs. But additionally, there are many Latinas. Along with the breakup of the Soviet Union, there are lots of women of Russian heritage. Since these women are in a catalog, each of them get the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped to them.
In fact, it’s becoming almost chic to make use of the term. You can find a minimum of three seriously intentioned Internet articles that referred to the English women delivered to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as “mail order brides.” Perhaps these casual varieties 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 years old social poison as a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The word “mail order bride” features a sad history because of factors involved with its origin. Thankfully the circumstances which cause its creation no longer exist. But exactly what does yet exist is promotion of the term for commercial purposes. This results in its application in totally inappropriate ways with resultant social harm. It produces resentment and feelings of aykchm for foreign women. In addition it increases the difficulty of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages because of false expectations entering the relationship.
Foreign women know of this term. But for the most part, due to language challenges and cultural differences, they are fully aware of this only in a literal sense. Their reaction is disgust at their being thought of as a commodity to get bought just like a prostitute. And there is not any faster way to learn about the “Russian bear” rather than connect with a Russian woman as though she actually is bought and paid for, or by expecting her to get meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly contribute to discord in any relationship. There are other than enough hurdles to operate through in creating a successful intercultural marriage. Adding to them expectations of behavior according to a demeaning stereotype is really a recipe for disaster.
When a man will accept his foreign bride for who she actually is as opposed to just 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. Should you be on the quest for an international bride, ignore the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and definately will pave the way for failure. Rather, stretch for the enlightened perspective and you should not label the women in the catalogs whatsoever. Make reference to them instead as “women trying to find husbands.” This makes it easier and much more fun to find the one you’re trying to find; so when she marries you, your daily life together is going to be a lot more fulfilling.