World Wide Coverage of ‘Leftover Women:’ A Commercialized Love

We are watching you, China….your secret stigmatization of ‘Sheng Nu’ is no longer contained.  The world is not only aware of this phenomenon, but curious and baffled by it.  With approximately 3o million more men than women, one would think the label should be ‘leftover men.’

When searching for more articles about ‘leftover women,’ I came across a lot of sources from the United States, some from Britain, as well as several blogs about the topic.  In a CNN article titled “China’s ‘leftover’ women choosing to stay single,” another article by Leta Hong Fincher, she discusses the response of these targeted women.  “After years of being badgered by her parents to get married, 26-year-old Zhang Yu finally had enough.”  Fincher proves that not all women are giving in to the stereotyping by frantically searching for husbands, “some women are fighting back by rejecting marriage altogether” (Fincher, 1).  Zhang Yu is a clear example of this because she has decided never to get married and never to have children, but instead live for herself and follow her career.  After living with her parents in her rural village for a few years, she was beginning to worry about becoming a Sheng Nu, but as she read several feminist articles, Zhang began to wonder whether this stigmatization was just a push to get women back in the home to fill the traditional roles once again.  Zhang decided to move to Shanghai in search of a job and a new life to be free of her parents’ harassment.  She was hired as a sales agent and is enjoying her new single life in the city.  “Men are still thinking in the old ways, but women’s values have evolved. I feel very relaxed now” (Fincher, 2).

Although several women have fought against the China’s labeling, there has also been a huge surge of matchmaking and blind dates in China today.  Several events are held in popular places such as People’s Square, and a beach in Shanghai.  Mothers are frantically searching for bachelors to set up with their daughters, and they frequent ‘mass weddings’ as matchmaking campaigns to view personal profile boards of eligible men.  There are even QR code stickers that men and women will scan to share personal information! Walking the streets in Shanghai near People’s Square, one can find thousands of personal profiles of single people pinned up on clothes lines…

This sudden emphasis and advertisement of single people and the country’s obsession with matchmaking has created a sort of epidemic. Rather than ‘real’ love, people are falling for the commercialized love.

“This leads to a phenomenon in which A-grade men marry B-grade women, B-grade men marry C-grade women and C-grade men marry D-grade women. Only A-grade women and D-grade men can’t find partners” (Reuters).




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