I’ve always loved Chinese culture.
Maybe it’s due to my love for Chinese food or the fact that I spend over a year learning Mandarin (I know, what was I thinking?!), or to my best friend who also happens to be born and raised in China.
Recently, my love for Chinese culture took a downturn, and not for the better. After an entertaining conversation with a friend whose parents are both Chinese, I was struck by her eagerness to find a husband. Merely 24-years-old, she explained that she had no time to waste when it comes to finding love. The message society as well as state-run media feeds the minds of these young women is simple: Marry, ideally by 25, or you’re on the shelf.
Worse yet, you’ll be called “sheng nu (剩女).” Translation: Leftover women.
If you thought gender discrimination in the workplace was bad in America, it’s even worse in China.
The struggle is real, and Chinese culture isn’t too kind on women over the 27. The pressure is everywhere as headlines scream like sensational tabloids: “Overcoming the Big Four Emotional Blocks: Leftover Women Can Break out of Being Single.” “Eight Simple Moves to Escape the Leftover Women Trap.”
And if you think you’ve heard it all, read this: “Do Leftover Women Really Deserve Our Sympathy?”
To make matters worse, China’s Women’s Federation website has run articles stigmatizing educated women who are still single.
They say, “The main reason many girls become “leftover women” is that their standards for a partner are too high…As girls are not too picky, finding a partner should be as easy as blowing away a speck of dust.”
Since 2008, local population planning commissions in cities such as Nanjing and Ningbo have carried out “interventions” to address the “leftover women crisis.” Local Women’s Federation branches have arranged matchmaking events for “highly educated, high-quality” women.
Let’s get real, you’d be lying if you’d say you didn’t have a list of the qualities you’d want your future partner to have. But, what if you were told to cut the bullsh*t and get married…for the sake of getting married?
While western culture is commonly known of being too “picky,” Chinese culture is exploring the fact that women are, “leftover”, if they don’t tie the knot by the age of 25.
We all have a biological clock ticking secretly in our subconscious, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t dream away once in a while, picturing my life with a man I hope to love for the rest of my life, but does love have an expiration date?
Are women doomed if they don’t find love young?
Love, much like finding your dream job, is simply chemistry. It’s either there (the spark, the instant connection, the butterflies…) or it’s not. Your 20s are known for being your selfish years. The years where your money can be spent on clothes and exploring the world. So, what if you are too picky?
What if you do have a “list”?
I do. And you know what?
It keeps getting longer.
I look at my dad and the love my parents share.
I look at my grandparents at their 50th anniversary fighting over who gets the bigger slice of cake and hope I’ll find that one day.
While society may pressure you to cut your list so you don’t come off too “picky,” there’s really nothing wrong with knowing what you want and refuse to settle for less.
Love is an aspect of our lives that can’t be forced (no matter how much your mother tries). On the contrary, it comes when we least expect it.
Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve.
And, if someone does tell you to hurry up and tie the knot, say you’re waiting to be the next Bachelorette…Always works.