Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

'Leftover' woman fights against marriage expectations

By Gao Yinan (People's Daily Online)    08:56, April 28, 2016

In the history of advertising in China, a 1-meter-wide, 1.2-meter-high poster has made history as the first ever ad promoting alternatives to traditional expectations of marriage. 

The advertisement was first seen before Chinese New Year in the Dongzhimen subway station in Beijing, which sees a daily passenger flow of 100,000 people.

The poster features a smiling face, a heart shape and a few festive symbols related to Chinese New Year. It reads "Dear Mom and Dad, don't worry. The world is so big, and lifestyles are diverse. Being single can also bring happiness." (Photo/CRI Online)

The advertisement is the result of a crowd-funded campaign led by a 31-year-old woman named Mi Guo. Mi hopes that this poster and the rest of her campaign can raise awareness among Chinese parents who believe that marriage is the only acceptable path for their children.

Ironically, 100 meters away from the poster, several people regularly hand out leaflets promoting a dating site.

The last national census showed that Chinese women's average age at first marriage was 25 years old. Data released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs shows that nearly 200 million Chinese adults are single.

Unmarried females in their late 20s and older are often described in Chinese society as sheng nu, or “leftover women.” The Chinese Ministry of Education listed the term "sheng nu" as an official word in its dictionary in 2007.

Matchmaking corner in a park. (Photo/File)

Wu Wen, 26, said that she had been on blind dates with at least 30 men. "I'm labeled as 26, with light skin, a slim figure and a master’s degree in the marriage market—but I am not a product!"

The British Consulate-General in Chongqing arranged a three-month program called "Be Yourself" to support women attempting to take a nontraditional path when it comes to marriage. Moreover, the U.K. government set up a Force Marriage Unit to help Asian immigrants.

The goal of all these programs and campaigns is to ensure that everyone has the right to choose whom they marry, when they marry and if they marry at all. Many women face extreme pressure to marry, including threats, physical and sexual violence, and emotional manipulation (for example, being made to feel that they will bring shame on their family). 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Bianji)

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