Written by Katie
10 Apr 2016

To Be a “Leftover” Woman in China

“People think that in Chinese society, an unmarried woman is incomplete.”

When you know the story of how your parents met when they were teenagers and how they were married in their early 20’s along with the rest of your aunts and uncles, this naturally already puts some social pressure on you. For years, I wondered if that would be me (I knew through college that it wouldn’t!) Then with every year, that curiosity starts to make you a little bit nervous. Luckily for me, in 2016 – people are meeting their partners later on in life and that’s okay! I’ve never been someone who aspired to be just someone’s wife – and I’m not saying that people who marry young are, but I wanted to spend my 20’s working really hard and focusing on my career. This meant a lot to me. However, that thought of settling down is in the back of my mind and I think others have similar feelings as well. This, I think, is normal.

Until I watched this video, I never knew about the kind of pressures that Chinese women faced when they were later on in their 20’s and unmarried. I can’t believe that there is an actual term for it; shengnu – “leftover woman.” To hear how these women’s parents were speaking out about their daughters being unmarried and what it does to them was heartbreaking. There was so much guilt that went along with it, but the video ends on a positive note and sends a very strong message that all of us can stand behind – that you shouldn’t settle, that it’s okay to be strong, independent, and have a career.

This was my favorite thing that I watched all week and really resonated with me. I hope you’ll all take the 4 minutes to watch it. 🙂

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