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NewChinaHand: Gender (Im)balance


Female? Aged over 27? Still not married? No boyfriend, even? You probably don’t even want to know what they’d call you in China…

And by ‘they’, I don’t mean gossips, knitting circles or judgemental neighbours: how about the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), set up in 1949 to ‘protect women’s rights and interests’? Sounds official, right?

And it is, but in recent years some of the statements coming out of this agency we might generously refer to as being ‘interesting’.

In 2007, the ACWF came up with the ultimate catch-all term to describe unmarried ladies: shengnu or ‘leftover women’. There’s an obvious beauty in its simplicity, economy of language and the way it doesn’t so much cut right to the bone as sever the limb, leading to massive trauma and blood loss.

The original threshold for becoming an old, useless hag was set at 27 years of age, so if you’re past that age already and as-yet-unmarried I’m sorry to let you know that you’re surplus to requirements. Life’s tough.

The Federation clarified their stance in 2011, just in case anyone doubted that were working without hard evidence:

“Pretty girls don’t need a lot of education to marry into a rich and powerful family, but girls with an average or ugly appearance will find it difficult. These kinds of girls hope to further their education in order to increase their competitiveness. The tragedy is, they don’t realize that as women age, they are worth less and less, so by the time they get their M.A. or Ph.D., they are already old, like yellowed pearls.”

Tragic. Have you seen yellowed pearls? Ugh!

In January this year one party member (not the jelly and trifle type of party, nor the beer-bong keg stand kind, if you catch my drift) came up with the silver bullet solution: reduce the amount of education! Less time in school equals more time finding your true love. What good is all that education anyway if you can’t squeeze out a few pups at the end of it?

It appears, sadly, that his idea never gained traction. Sad face.

The ACWF, meanwhile, released the latest data on the views of Chinese people towards love and marriage – the imaginatively-titled 2013-2014 Chinese People’s Views on Love and Marriage survey – also in January. And what a difference a few years makes! Now, a mere ’60 percent of men think that between 28 and 30 is the last threshold for women… while 80 percent of men think that age 30 is the margin line for women to become leftovers.’

That, my friends, is progress!

Any comments? Are you leftover? What the heck is wrong with you?!?


Selected sources:

One comment on “NewChinaHand: Gender (Im)balance

  1. theguestroom
    January 12, 2015

    Reblogged this on The Guest Room.

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2014 by in NewChinaHand and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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