UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Women like us : a critical and creative examination of a ‘mail-order bride’ experience
 Guseva, Olena


This thesis examines issues related to “mail-order brides” as these pertain to my mother who emigrated from Ukraine as a “mail-order bride” in August of 1998. This thesis incorporates both critical and creative analyze of the topic of “mail-order brides” and international dating industries. The problematic term “mail-order bride” implies a specific ‘type’ of woman who is often represented as domestic, subservient and affectionate. The consumers of the “mail-order” industry are fed images that are essentializations of the Eastern European woman and her habits. By ‘selling’ traditional values to Western male consumers, mail-order sites reinforce stereotypes associated with Eastern European women and create an unrealistic image of a hyper-feminine woman that is problematic to both “mail-order brides” and to the men that seek them. In this critical and creative essay, I examine my mother’s letters as testaments to the unrealistic expectations placed on her through the stereotypes created by the “mail-order” industries. This thesis also examines the so-called “mail-order brides” in light of Western feminism and problematizes the perceived lack of agency associated with “mail-order brides.” Furthermore, I will analyze the commoditization of the female body as is seen through the international dating agencies. This thesis argues that it is through the capitalist mentality projected by the “mail-order” agencies that the female body becomes trafficable and accessible to the Western male consumer.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International