Mail order brides are are not posted products although that is what the term seems to imply. The is a subtext of disapproval in the use of the term to describe arranged marriages, and also a touch of amusement. Probably everyone knows that people are not really products and do not come according to exact specifications.
Marriage is a contract between two living individuals and even in primitive societies where a woman might have little say in her own marriage she is often protected by law and custom at least to the extent of being allowed to return to her family if her husband does not keep his end of a bargain.
Arranged marriage contracts are common throughout the world but not in English speaking communities generally. Arranged marriages do not necessarily deny young people the right to decide things for themselves.
In many cases a person may reject the person that her parents have found for her even though he may be socially and economically desirable. She may wait for a person to be found who she feels that she can fall in love with.
In large parts of the world there is unabashed assessment of a marriage prospect in terms of his professional and financial status. A person with a shiny car may seem interesting and further inquiries will be made as to his education and job prospects. In most English speaking communities these things are not openly admitted as legitimate areas of inquiry though everyone may make his or her own assessments.
In the West the privileged echelons of society have accepted political and social factors as important in marriage. For centuries it has been possible to buy into the privileged classes and in more recent times it has become possible to earn celebrity status even by appearing on a TV reality show. Thus the notion of eligibility has become rather blurred in popular culture.
In recent times there have been instances of free will being asserted. Even in families where political elements were considered the price of privilege greater freedom of choice is being allowed.
Since the advent of the Internet the world has changed in many fundamental aspects. Letter writing, postal services and typewriters have been challenged by e-mailing, messages and keyboards. Social networking sites are big competitors to the newspaper and print media sectors of the economy.
Change is widespread, challenging, and often beneficial.
Online dating sites seem to incorporate the best elements of both arranged and romantic marriages. Enhanced search methods provide a much wider area of choice than the old method of searching among family acquaintances for eligible singles.
However, the independence and excitement of the romantic marriage methods are still much in evidence. Individuals search online for someone they think acceptable and then, as online relationships are built up, romance may flower.
There have always been risks involved in marriage. Linking up with someone who is not really compatible has ruined many a life in the past.
Although many people may be wary of mail order brides, or bridegrooms, others believe that online dating sights actually reduce risks by allowing people to exchange great amounts of information about each other from a safe distance before getting too involved.