Eastern Europe isn’t the only region struggling against mail order bride stereotypes. Women from Southeast Asia must also contend with foreigners’ preconceived notions about who they are and what they’ll bring to a relationship.
According to the USCIS, most women searching for partners abroad hail from the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. Though the prospective brides are thousands of miles apart, many foreigners assume the women are the same: beautiful, feminine, sexually submissive. Asian women also contend with myths painting them as small, frail, childlike, and subservient. These slanted views not only arise during the courtship but also after a foreign bride moves abroad, much to some women’s dismay.
“People here expect us to stay home and do the housework,” said Jin, a foreign bride living in Taiwan. “It is very diﬀerent between local brides and foreign brides. The local females are independent from housework and can decide what they want to do, but for us it is impossible.”
While some of these stereotypes are based in reality, not all women will play the role of the traditional, subservient bride. In fact, many Ukrainian women are offended by foreign men’s expectations.
“Their profiles offended me. Most were blatant about wanting a stereotypical submissive wife,” writes Lena Loeb, a well-known bride from Ukraine. “One guy said he was looking for a Ukrainian girl so that he ‘could be taken care of in the bedroom.’ Others sent one-line messages that just asked for my measurements. Disgusted, I’d think to myself, ‘These guys have no shame.’”
Groups like FEMEN have also expressed their disgust for foreigners who view Russian women as commodities.
So what does this mean for the men of HRB? It’s simple. Let go of tired stereotypes painting Ukrainian women as dependent and submissive and instead view each woman as an individual. The women will appreciate your respect and you’ll stand out from men with less than honorable intentions. It's also the right thing to do.