27 And Unmarried? In China, You're One Of The 'Leftover Women'


Will your relatives be pressuring you about getting married today? Be thankful you don’t live in China. According to a piece on the Ms. Magazine blog:

In China, the sexist term “leftover woman,” sheng nu, is widely used to describe an urban, professional female over the age of 27 who is still single. This derogatory term has been aggressively disseminated by the Chinese government, warning women that they will become spinsters if they do not marry by the time they turn 30. The irony of the media campaign is that China’s sex-ratio imbalance has resulted in a surplus of tens of millions of men who will not be able to find a bride.

Ugh. Like it’s not bad enough to be shamed — these ladies are being made to feel undesirable, when the truth is that the situation is out of their control. And this campaign often urges women to make awful choices. Leta Hong Fincher writes:

Many women have been shut out of the explosion of housing wealth because homes appreciating exponentially in value tend to be registered solely in the man’s name. Chinese parents tend to buy homes for sons but not daughters. And women often transfer all of their financial assets to their husband or boyfriend to finance the purchase of a home registered in the man’s name alone.
I believe that a key reason why so many educated women in their mid-20s act against their own economic interests when they marry is that they genuinely believe the government-propagated myth about “leftover women.” These women make excessive personal and financial compromises out of fear that they will never find a husband otherwise.

There’s a general sense that China is the next leading superpower. But between the one-child policy and a preference for boys, there’s a severe demographic crisis in the works. What about the ‘leftover men’? As Fincher reports, as many as 24 million men could be perpetual bachelors by 2020.

China’s “Leftover” Women [Ms.]

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