Except it’s not.
Yesterday, Naya Rivera posted this picture of her Halloween costume to her Facebook:
Get it? She’s a Mail Order Bride! Hardy har! This right here is a very special combination of offensive and COMPLETE lack of imagination. I can think of a few lazier costumes, but at least they’re clever (like wearing a sign that says, “Error 404: Costume Not Found”). This is just, “Oh yeah, I have a wedding dress! If I tape a piece of mail to the front, suddenly it’s a costume!”
Listen, Naya, I know you play a lesbian on TV and apparently you think that gives you immunity to act like an ass, but it really doesn’t. You don’t get some kind of social justice credit for playing a gay character that you can then cash in later to act like an ignorant douchecanoe and wear a costume like this, which is not only lazy and uncreative, but completely trivializes the very real experiences of many young women around the globe.
Maybe you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? Don’t mail-order brides consent?” Sure, the same way a starving person “consents” to work for 3 cents a day to feed their family. Mail-order brides are often forced into the “choice” by their family situation, poverty, or both, and once they’re in their new country, they are completely at the mercy of the man who purchased them. Even if a woman’s dream was to become a mail order bride, the practice still commodifies women, and if we want equality for all genders, we HAVE TO STOP COMMODIFYING WOMEN.
The mail-order bride industry remains one of the most sexist and degrading businesses operating legally today. It is an industry designed solely to market and sell human beings, favoring the interests of its paying clients while degrading and exploiting women. Whether or not a woman gives her alleged
consent does not excuse the fact that she is being bought and sold as a commodity. Once married and in their new country of residence, mail-order brides face isolation and powerlessness and often experience domestic violence and sexual abuse. Some, like Anastasia King, have been murdered. A Russian in search of the American dream, Anastasia used an online mail-order bride service to meet and marry Indle King, an American businessman. She was unaware that King’s former wife, also a mail-order bride, had divorced him citing domestic abuse a few years earlier. Soon into his second marriage, King began physically abusing Anastasia. When she tried to end the marriage King hired a convicted sex offender to murder his mail-order bride from Russia. At the time of the murder, King was putting in his “order” for “bride number three.”
Read more about the plight of mail-order brides here.