[ View the story "All the single ladies" on Storify] All the single ladies Defying tradition and holding off on marriage, a global trend?
The Stream· Wed, Jan 23 2013 11:12:01
In places like China and India, there's a growing trend: women who choose to postpone marriage in pursuit of other goals. However, this new empowerment of women is clashing with old conceptions of family and 'traditional' marriage.
Women in China have traditionally married early and 'married up' to secure financial stability and improved social status. Yet, with a growing number of women stressing education and a career over finding a partner, delaying marriage or remaining single is increasingly prevalent.
Traditional Chinese weddingAJstream
If a woman does not marry, she can face discrimination. In 2007, the state-run
All-China Women’s Federation coined
the term 'sheng nu' or 'leftover women,' referring to all unmarried women over the age of 27. The following is an
from a March 2011 publication:
These kinds of girls hope to further their education in order to increase their competitiveness. The tragedy is, they don’t realize that as women age, they are worth less and less, so by the time they get their M.A. or Ph.D., they are already old, like yellowed pearls.nytimes.com
Leta Hong-Fincher, an American doing her Ph.D at Tsinghua University in Beijing,
that the term 'leftover women' and the government's greater sexist media campaign are a reaction to China's severe demographic crisis, which stems from the one-child policy. She is not alone in thinking this:
Despite the trend of staying single longer,
younger women in China will marry. This desire to marry is evident in China's booming online dating scene. For instance,
, a popular Chinese dating site created in 2003, boasts more than
68 million members
Screenshot from Chinese dating site Arrow of CupidAJstream
People are using all sorts of creative ways to avoid the pressure of finding their match:
Some parents are so eager to match their single child, they take matters into their own hands. The “
” gathers every Saturday and Sunday at the People's Park in Shanghai, where parents flock to find mates for their sons and daughters.
Marriage CornerA Year To Think
Some make the argument that Chinese women are simply too picky. In a blog entitled
, a student recalls a lesson in which her teacher explains why she is still single. Here's a translated chart of what the teacher wrote.
India, too, has a strong marriage tradition. Arranged marriages have been part of both Hindu and Muslim cultures for
. Except for a small sliver of the urban middle and upper classes, most young women have
in whom they will marry. Instead, one of the most important decisions of a young person's life is determined by the family.
Indian WeddingShweta Dutta
An Indian-Canadian woman who goes by "IISuperwomanII" posts comedic sketches on YouTube.com highlighting the pressure she faces from her mother.
The Arranged Marriage :: A MadTatter Films Shortiisuperwomanii
is a century-old business in India. In a clear sign of the changing times, matchmaking has taken on twitter. For instance,
is a free matrimonial service that posts basic information about some of India's eligible singles.
#Female 29 Age | #Hindi #Matrimonial | Harda, India #Marriage | Masters (M.A) | Hindu (Yadav): View Profile... o...
So, when it comes down to a woman's choice about her future, what is the 'right' thing to do?