What is a “mail-order” bride? Who is the “bride;” how is she being “ordered,” and where is she being “mailed” to? These are a few driving questions for this focus group, the critical intention of which is to initiate a discussion of issues pertaining to the mail order bride industry. Attention will focus primarily on the experiences of Filipino women who migrate in order to marry men in westernized and industrialized nations such as the United States.
Together, we will examine the commercialization of sex, the sexualization of labor, and the political economy of intimacy – all of which become the undercurrent in the exportation of brides in this global marriage market. Considering the Filipina woman’s migratory experience, we will analyze structured systems of power and privilege, dominance and oppression, and consider where in this geopolitics of place and location agency and resistance might be found. Readings and discussions will be comparative and interdisciplinary in nature – ranging from literatures in geography and history to theories on power, postcoloniality, and subjectivity, and laws regulating human trafficking, dating agencies, and immigration.