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Mail Order Brides in TV and Film

12. April 2012 by Dasha 0 Comments

Mail order brides frequently appear in movies and television shows, but their portrayal often leaves much to be desired. Here are three examples of fictional mail order brides and how they perpetuate international dating stereotypes.


Birthday Girl (2001)

In Birthday Girl, a lonely banker (Ben Chaplin) orders a Russian mail order bride only to discover his lovely new wife (Nicole Kidman) isn’t who she appears to be. This film perpetuates a number of mail order bride stereotypes, namely that women can be ordered from the web like commodities and that Russian women are devious scammers out to con lonely men.

 


Mail Order Wife (2004)

Mail Order Wife is a faux documentary about a New York doorman who purchases an Asian mail order bride. This independent film also features another international dating stereotype – that men who seek love abroad are socially awkward perverts.

 


Rescue Me, “Clean” (2009)

A 2009 episode of FX’s Rescue Me features a hot Russian who is married to a fireman known as Needles. According to the banter beginning around 0:53, Needles acquired a bride by placing an order online. International dating stereotypes abound with talk of hideous American women, Russian women as exports, vodka, and marriage scams.

 



Don’t be fooled by the mail order stereotypes. Women can’t be ordered from a catalog, they’re not shy and submissive, they’re not out to con Western men, and they can’t be returned to sender. Though fictional mail order brides might seem like harmless fun, they actually do more harm to the Russian dating industry than good.