Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene

Chinese wedding

Traditional Chinese Wedding Costume


From The Economist we have this interesting article about the changing cultural landscape for women in China. As is most areas there, some pre-Communist ideas are coming back, while the large numbers of professional women are resisting Party attempts to reduce their pay and status. What’s amusing about the Communist Party line is how much it resembles Princeton Mom Susan Patton’s advice:

IN 2007 China’s official Xinhua news agency published a commentary about women who were still unmarried at the age of 27 under the title, “Eight Simple Moves to Escape the Leftover Woman Trap”. The Communist Party had concluded that young Chinese women were becoming too picky and were over-focused on attaining the “three highs”: high education, professional status and income. Newspapers have since reprinted similar editorials. In 2011 one said: “The tragedy is they don’t realise that as women age they are worth less and less, so by the time they get their MA or PhD, they are already old, like yellowed pearls.”

The tone of these articles is surprising, given the Communist Party’s past support for women’s advancement. Mao Zedong destroyed China, but he succeeded in raising the status of women. Almost the first legislation enacted by the Communist Party in 1950 was the Marriage Law under which women were given many new rights, including the right to divorce and the right to own property. Though collectivisation made the latter largely irrelevant, women played an active role in Mao’s China, and still do today. By 2010 26% of urban women had university degrees, double the proportion ten years earlier. Women now regularly outperform men at Chinese universities, which has led to gender-based quotas favouring men in some entrance exams. However, many of the earlier advances have been eroded in recent years by the gradual re-emergence of traditional patriarchal attitudes.

Leta Hong Fincher, an American journalist-turned-academic, argues that the same party that pushed through the elevation of women’s status in the 1950s is now trying to engineer their return to the kitchen. The new campaign seems to be working. In 1990 urban Chinese women’s salaries were 78% of the level of men’s pay. In 2010, that had decreased to 67%. The female urban employment rate also fell, from 77% in 1990 to 61% in 2010.

Under Mao almost all women married, but now the expanding social freedoms of the new century have led more women to remain single, whether by choice or not. That alarms the party, says Ms Fincher. Society, it believes, is more stable with fewer single people. New families, it argues, can drive consumption and the property boom, and if most educated, alpha females are married, then, it believes, better “quality” children will be born.

The party has joined an alliance of property companies and dating websites to confront the issue. Government surveys on marriage and property are often sponsored by matchmaking agencies, and perpetuate the perception that being “leftover” is the worst thing that can happen to a woman. They also promote other myths, such as the idea that a man must have a house before he can marry.

The law is reflecting the shift away from women’s empowerment too. An interpretation by the Supreme Court in 2011 of the 1950 Marriage Law stated that, when a couple divorces, property should not be shared equally, but each side should keep what is in his or her own name. This ruling, says Ms Fincher, has serious implications. In the big cities a third of marriages now end in divorce but, based on hundreds of interviews, she finds that only about 30% of married women have their name on the deeds of the marital flat. Women believe the party hype about becoming a “leftover” woman so strongly, she says, that many rush into unhappy marriages with unsuitable men, made on condition that the brides agree not to put their name on the property deeds. Consequently, many women have been shut out of “possibly the biggest accumulation of residential real-estate wealth in history”, worth more than $30 trillion in 2013.

I’ve commented here that I think it would be wise to offer a separate-property marriage contract for those who would otherwise be afraid to commit. The Chinese are already trying it out, though of course they don’t give people a choice, either!


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More reading:

Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

17 comments

  1. This is good. The Communist Party of China has finally learned how to look past ideology, of all sorts, and look at reality, whether or not it is “offensive” to sound human taste. The property was never theirs to begin with, therefore the “virtue of choice”, is not in itself, virtuous, since one can have the choice to steal, rape, or hate someone for the colour of their skin. Your western ideology blinds you, as your highest ideal is autonomy, which gives the illusion that choice, by itself and in itself, is good.

    Since I suspect comments to be moderated, watch the power of ideology, as this comment will never see the light of day, the public eye. If it does I stand corrected, and you prove yourself to be at least equally as virtuous as the Communist Party, perhaps moreso.

    Like

    1. You’re quite right that I (and US males in general) put autonomy (freedom, liberty) very high in priority. I’m not sure the CCP has actually thought this through carefully — note their attempts to manipulate both women and men through propaganda, no doubt influenced (as the article points out) by the enrichment of corrupt local officials by land seizures and sales for housing development. I’m sure there is a general paternalistic ideal of creating more middle-class children by tinkering with preferences this way; their one-child policy has resulted in an excess of males and (with the usual drop in birthrates with prosperity) possibly too few children being born, raising the possibility of demographic disaster a few generations from now.

      Depending on who contributes what during the course of a marriage, division of property by who happens to have title may or may not be fair. My complaint about the US would be that the couple is actually not allowed to have their advance contract respected. The Chinese system has the virtue of clarity and low-cost administration, and if desirable women are able to negotiate a share of title in property before marriage, that is their right.

      Like

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