The term ‘mail-order bride’ was first used around 1850s. And the first mail-order brides were American women from the U.S. East Coast.
When American men moved West to work on the frontier, women stayed in the east of the country. Eventually West became more developed and men who worked there became more financially stable, and all that was missing was having women in their lives. They decided that the only easy way to find a wife was to place advertisements in newspapers and write letters to churches in East. It worked. A lot of women saw ads and sent letters with photographs to the men in West. They were corresponding with each other until ladies agreed to get married. Men then paid for all the moving expenses, and brought their wives-to-be into their new homes in West.
As you can see the term ‘mail-order bride’ was originally used to describe an American woman living in East who wanted to find a better life, have more financial security, and have more opportunities. Therefore, women were willing to marry men without ever seeing them before.
In a modern internet dating world, Eastern European women are also often called ‘mail-order brides’. It’s a cliché that lost its original meaning long time ago. There is almost no such thing as a ‘blind date marriage’ any more. Men do not choose, even if they do think so. Women choose! Unless these women are totally desperate due to an abusive ex husband situation, their children in immediate need of Western medical treatments, or other frantic situation, they are not going to agree to marry a man that they have never met!!
This is the reason why many foreign men have dilemma when they come to Ukraine. Many are delusional to believe in such a big fairytale. Most Ukrainian women are not desperate anymore, and they are not looking for an economic escape. They are looking for Mister Right, and he better be well educated, successful, emotionally and mentally stable, and physically fit, with limited bad habits! They are not jumping into an ‘American love boat ride’, and they are not marrying men just because they have American passports and big houses back home in Kansas. Many Ukrainian women understand that money is relative these days. In Ukraine a lot of women live on their savings. In the United States many men live on credit.
Of course, there are still some women out there who have a really hard life, and who are actively looking for a way out, whatever that implies. Many have mentally and physically abusive husbands, low paid jobs, and a constant lack of money to pay for basic living expenses. But the majority of women are well off on their own now.
The bottom-line is, no matter where you live and where you come from, it is true that we all want better lives. Most of us want to be in a place where we feel our best. And remember, it is a woman’s nature to look for man who could provide physical, mental, emotional, and material stability. Historically, women have been always looking for men who could give them sense of security. Woman’s brain is programmed to look for a man who could be a reliable partner and provider for her future children. The one who could kill the wooly mammoth, bring it to his cave, and defend his family from unwelcome intruders. Those are simple basic instincts. And it doesn’t matter if you are American or Ukrainian woman, we all want to have a man who could provide that sense of security, whatever it implies. For some, it is moving west, east, north or south, and for others it might be as simple as moving from a trailer to a mobile home. We all have basic instincts that motivate and move us through the wilderness of this complicated world.
The question is: how much sense does it make to use the old term ‘mail-order bride’ when it lost its meaning many decades or even centuries ago? I am just wondering, maybe it is time to change it for something more appropriate, something that would reflect the realities of a modern dating world? How about “overseas bride”? Sounds good to me. Don’t you think?