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Mail-order brides work with "international marriage agencies".An international marriage agency (also called an international introduction agency or international marriage broker) is a business that endeavors to introduce men and women of different countries for the purpose of marriage, dating, or correspondence.
As a result of this imbalance, a new system of "picture brides" developed in predominantly male settlements.In return, the women would write to the men and send them photographs of themselves.Courtship was conducted by letter, until a woman agreed to marry a man she had never met.Very few women lived there at this time, so it was hard for these men to settle down and start a family.They attempted to attract women living back East; the men wrote letters to churches and published personal advertisements in magazines and newspapers.In the twentieth century, the trend was towards women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations.
In the twenty-first century, the trend is now based primarily on internet-based meeting places which do not per se qualify as mail-order bride services.
In the early 20th century, the institution of "picture brides" developed due to immigration restrictions.
The Japanese-American Passport Agreement of 1907 allowed Japan to grant passports to the wives of immigrants to America.
However, many consider the term "mail-order bride" derogatory and feel it demeans foreign women by comparing them to commodities for sale and by falsely implying that (unlike local women), they exercise no judgment over the men they meet and would marry anyone from a relatively wealthy country.
Few agencies still offer introductions and excursions, but pioneering marriage agency A Foreign Affair still conducts these services.
Many women wanted to escape their present way of living, gain financial security and see what life on the frontier could offer them.