Mail order bride is a label applied to a woman who publishes her intent to marry someone from another — usually more financially developed — country. This label is considered offensive by some definitions.
Historically, mail-order brides were women who listed themselves in catalogs and were selected by men for marriage. Sometimes the men and women involved were citizens of different countries, e.g. women from European countries moving to the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries, and sometimes they involved citizens of the same country.
Mail-order brides traditionally hail from developing countries. The great majority of these women are from Southeast Asia including the Philippines, countries of the former Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent from Latin America. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, large numbers of eastern European women advertised themselves in such a way; primarily being from Russia, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova. Even developed nations like Japan, Canada, and Sweden have large amounts of outgoing mail order brides. In the past, international marriage agencies allowed women to sign up to be listed in picture magazines; now the Internet has largely supplanted this method. Men who list themselves in such publications may be referred to as mail-order husbands. Nations that often receive mail-order brides are the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Germany, and Australia.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that "...marriages arranged through these services would appear to have a lower divorce rate than the nation as a whole, fully 80 percent of these marriages having lasted over the years for which reports are available." The USCIS also reports that "... mail-order bride and e-mail correspondence services result in 4,000 to 6,000 marriages between U.S. men and foreign brides each year."
References to Mail Order Brides in popular culture:
- The show Rescue Me featured "Mrs. Needles" a sexy Russian mail order bride in a few episodes in season 5.
- English rock band Status Quo satirize the concept of mail-order brides in the song "The Oriental" on their 2002 album Heavy Traffic.
- On the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force in the episode "Mail Order Bride", Carl and Shake plan to marry a mail order bride from Chechnya.
- A Foreign Affair, a 2003 film starring Tim Blake Nelson and David Arquette. After the death of their mother, two brothers hatch a scheme to bring home a traditionally minded Russian bride to help with housework by taking a romance tour to Russia.
- In an episode of Beavis and Butt-head entitled "Bride of Butt-Head," the two fantasize about sending for mail order brides.
- In the 2001 film, Birthday Girl, Nicole Kidman plays a Russian mail-order bride who produces chaos upon her arrival.
- The book "Sarah, Plain and Tall" is a children's novel describing a widowed farmer who advertises for a bride.
- There was a series of Dilbert comic strips where Wally orders a mail order bride from Elbonia.
- In the 2003 movie Bad Santa, Lois (Lauren Tom), is the wife of Marcus (Tony Cox) but Marcus' friend Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) mentions that she was a mail-order wife.
"Mail Order Bride" Related Articles:
We Don’t Sell Mail Order Brides, Despite Our Name
Mail Order Brides and Email Order Husbands
An Honest Look at “Blacklists”
Protecting Yourself Against Russian Online Dating Scams