Through decades of advertising, the term “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 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 hundred years ago that are will no longer true and which render utilization of the phrase harmful in today’s world. Discontinued utilization of the term will lead to much happier intercultural marriages via a resetting of expectations.
However the term is commonly used including application of its negative connotations; the key one being the thought of investing in a woman coming from a catalog. Further, there are implications, produced from its original application to Asian women, that define the kind 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 get 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 photo bride phenomenon died out as a result of alterations in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. Nevertheless the legacy of bridal catalogs lived on. And the target audience changed from immigrant Japanese and Korean laborers to Caucasian men. The catalogs were focused mainly on Asian women nevertheless they promoted an ages old view of Asian women for being meek, submissive, obedient, and sexually compliant, who, incidentally, 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 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 eventually on the Internet.
Thus we have a stereotypical description in conjunction with the organization model of mail order, and also the end result is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism through which a guy could browse a catalog and choose a woman who interests him. He could supposedly “buy” her and have her perform her wifely duties for him depending on his media created expectations.
Through the power of advertising and mass distribution, a meme has been given that combines a flawed view of women using a real business model. Bride catalogs are of help vehicles for folks for connecting with potential mates. There are many numerous them available, both on the web and in printed form. And mail order is a useful, respectable business model. There is however no such thing being a “mail order bride.” You can’t purchase a women from the mail. Period.
An additional change in the bride catalogs which includes taken place is that they are actually increasingly multicultural. Yes there are still many Asian women within the catalogs. But there are also many Latinas. Along with the breakup from the Soviet Union, there are many women of Russian heritage. Because these women are in a catalog, each of them get the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped to them.
In reality, it’s becoming almost chic to use the word. You can find no less than 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 would be nice in the event the commercial interests did their part and quit pushing a 100 years old social poison as being a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The word “mail order bride” features a sad history because of factors involved with its origin. Thankfully instances which cause its creation no more exist. But 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 creates resentment and a sense of aykchm for foreign women. Additionally it improves the issue of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages due to false expectations going to the marriage.
Foreign women know of this term. But typically, because of language challenges and cultural differences, they are fully aware of this only in a literal sense. Their reaction is disgust at their being considered a commodity to get bought such as a prostitute. And there is absolutely no faster way to learn about the “Russian bear” rather than to relate to a Russian woman just as if she is bought and bought, or by expecting her to become meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly bring about discord in almost any relationship. There are more than enough hurdles to work through in creating a successful intercultural marriage. Contributing to them expectations of behavior based on a demeaning stereotype is actually a recipe for disaster.
If a man will accept his foreign bride for who she is really instead of just what the man wants her to be based on what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your selection, men. In case you are over a pursuit of an overseas bride, forget about the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and definately will set you up for failure. Rather, stretch for the enlightened perspective and never label the women within the catalogs whatsoever. Refer to them instead as “women trying to find husbands.” This makes it easier and a lot more fun to get the one you’re trying to find; and when she marries you, your daily life together is going to be a lot more fulfilling.