China’s “leftover women” and the pressure to marry

China’s “leftover woman” (剩女) phenomenon is in the news again. It might seem counter-intuitive that a nation with a sharp and increasing gender imbalance could have leftover women, but being counter-intuitive to Westerners is a Chinese specialty. :)

‘Unwanted’ single women feel social pressure to marry
Links here, here and here.

traditionally the Chinese say one should ‘make do’ when marrying. Marriage has never been synonymous with happiness.

“The new generation of women don’t want to ‘make do’. Many live quite well alone and don’t see the point in lowering their standard or life in order to marry.”

Still, the pressure on women is huge.

Part of this is due to China’s one-child population control policy, which adds to the desperation of parents for their only offspring to marry and produce a grandson or granddaughter.

“The real reason for coming to this club is that I don’t want to disappoint my parents. I want to make them happy,” admitted Xu.

The Garden of Joy’s own slogan plays on this emotion in order to attract members. “Are you single? Think about the feelings of your father/mother. Don’t cause them more worry,” read a sign on the entrance.

And business is booming.

The article gets at some of it, but there are important details left out. We’ve written on “leftover women” in China before, and encountered the modern marriage problem in China in different ways, most curiously in the local “marriage market.” If you’re interested in the “leftover women” or “3rd gender” phenomenon in China, I suggest you take a look at the links and photos here: China’s “leftover women” [Updated]

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