Through decades of advertising, the phrase “mail order bride” has turned into a meme. Most memes are harmless and in reality 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 will no longer true and which render usage of the word harmful in today’s world. Discontinued utilization of the term will lead to much happier intercultural marriages through a resetting of expectations.
But the term is popular including application of its negative connotations; the key one being the idea of buying a woman coming from a catalog. Further, you can find implications, based on its original application to Asian women, that define the kind of women offered by a catalog.
Even though the term had not been invented on the Internet, “mail order brides” has definitely found traction as a useful and profitable term. It’s an undeniable 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 become joined in marriage to Japanese and Korean labor men who had been imported to Hawaii and California through the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The picture bride phenomenon died out as a result of modifications in U.S. immigration laws in 1924. However 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 however they promoted an ages old look at Asian women for 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 was a concept brought back by Marco Polo on his return from his epic journey for the Orient. Or perhaps it’s associated with chinese people practice of foot binding women. It’s also probable that those two factors combined 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 incorporate 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 end result is “Mail Order Bride”, a mechanism whereby a guy could browse a catalog and select a female who interests him. He could supposedly “buy” her and have her perform her wifely duties for him according to his media created expectations.
Through the power of advertising and mass distribution, a meme has been given that combines a flawed take a look at women having a real business structure. Bride catalogs are helpful vehicles for individuals for connecting with potential mates. There are many hundreds of them available, both on the internet and in printed form. And mail order is a useful, respectable business structure. There is however no such thing as a “mail order bride.” You can’t get a women from the mail. Period.
One other improvement in the bride catalogs which has taken place is because they are now increasingly multicultural. Yes there are still many Asian women within the catalogs. But additionally, there are many Latinas. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, there are lots of women of Russian heritage. Because these women are in a catalog, they all obtain the same derogatory “mail order bride” label slapped to them.
In fact, it’s becoming almost chic to utilize the phrase. You will 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 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 as being a coveted antidote for loneliness.
The phrase “mail order bride” has a sad history as a result of factors associated with its origin. Thankfully instances which lead to its creation no more exist. But precisely what does yet exist is promotion of the term for commercial purposes. This brings about its application in totally inappropriate ways with resultant social harm. It creates resentment and feelings of aykchm for foreign women. In addition it improves the difficulty of marital adjustment for intercultural marriages due to false expectations entering the marriage.
Foreign women are aware of this term. But for the most part, because of 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 get 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 if she actually is bought and purchased, or by expecting her to get meek or submissive.
False expectations strongly play a role in discord in any relationship. There are more than enough hurdles to function through in constructing a successful intercultural marriage. Adding to them expectations of behavior based upon a demeaning stereotype is a recipe for disaster.
When a man will accept his foreign bride for who she is really as opposed to just what the man wants her to become based on what he’s “heard”, then intercultural marriage can truly be joyous. It’s your selection, men. Should you be on the pursuit of a foreign bride, forget the “mail order bride” stuff. It’s a loaded term and definately will pave the way for failure. Rather, stretch for an enlightened perspective and never label the women inside the catalogs in any way. Make reference to them instead as “women searching for husbands.” This will make it easier and much more fun to obtain the one you’re searching for; so when she marries you, your lifestyle together will be a lot more fulfilling.