Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When Did the Stereotypes that Sustain Mail Order Bride Business First Appear?

Countries where women are less attractive are no less disorderly than those where women are better proportioned and graceful. Even in Russia, which has the highest number of beautiful women than any other European country, the sexual excesses are not as uncontrollable as in other countries, and spousal loyalty is maintained a lot more strictly there.
                                                                                -Benito Jeronimo Feijoo, 1726. (Translation mine)

Thanks to my dear friend Olivier, who sent me this beautiful quote, I now know that the ridiculous stereotypes that make the entire mail order bride industry possible already existed in 1726. Even then, people believed in this myth of exceptionally beautiful and loyal Russian women. As a Russian-speaking, if not Russian, woman I find this too annoying for words.


Pagan Topologist said...

I thought the mail-order bride business started when a lot of men settled in a location with no women and then realized that without women, their community would die out, so they sent away for women.

Clarissa said...

I'm being very inarticulate today. :-)

I didn't mean the mail-order bride business began in 1726. I meant that the myths which make it possible already existed then.

Anonymous said...

Nice job with the translation. Was Feijoo translated to English?

This quote is so funny. I could not stop thinking of the genesis of the Russian maid order bride industry as sprouting in a Northern Spain sanctuary in 1726.

More or less the same region where Flores de otro mundo was filmed.