Editor’s Note: This translated article discusses the difficulties that Chinese women face in dating and marriage. The author claims that Chinese society does not value older women, and therefore Chinese women often stay in loveless or abusive marriages to avoid being an older divorcee. The article also explains why Chinese women have such strict conditions for marriage- marriage is a huge gamble for young women because divorced women have a difficult time in Chinese society.
Most Western men have more complicated relationships with Chinese women than with Chinese men. Western men know that Chinese women often have special conditions that a man must meet before marriage. However, they also have realized that after marriage Chinese women will work hard, take care of the home, and are sometimes even submissive and will compromise easily. Why is this the case?
What Do Expats Think of Chinese Women?
“Chinese women are more practical than American women,” said David, an expat living in Shanghai. “First of all, Chinese women have a false notion of romance, which may be influenced by foreign movies. They believe that romance is all about music and candlelight. When this part is over, Chinese women become more practical and focus on material things: what kind of house do you live, whether you have a car or not, and so on.”
“Money and status are often important for Chinese women when choosing a boyfriend. I am an English teacher and my 20 or more female students always tell me this.” said Peter, a 40-year-old expat who is married to a Chinese woman. “They say that Western women may divorce you and take away half your property. Chinese women love money, but they are eager for a stable relationship and want to build a family. Even if the passion is gone, they can find enough spiritual sustenance from their family to stay married.”
Peter is observing the fears that many Chinese women have about marriage and dating. Chinese women often fear being single or divorced late in life, and often “make do” with their current partner or husband. In China, women who are single and middle-aged are discriminated against as “leftover women.” Chinese women often rush into marriage when they hit a certain age, even if they do not love their partner. In this culture, a middle aged women’s intelligence and personality are often disregarded. Matchmakers and those in the dating market often say: those who are too old cannot find a boyfriend or husband.
The Realities of Dating in China
In a culture where Chinese women fear divorce, appearance and youth have become important for women in society. There is an ancient Chinese saying that talent women must also be beautiful in order to be fit for marriage. Because of this, when Chinese women marry, their husbands hold their hearts in the palms of their hands. As Chinese married women get older and have children, they become more passive. It is very difficult for Chinese women to remarry after a divorce.
When one of my female friends divorced her husband, her former mother-in-law said, “My son will be able to find a virgin,” implying that it would not be so easy for my friend to remarry.
There is a brutal reality in China: men are able to get married quickly after divorce. Women with children who are divorced are often lonely in their old age.
Chinese men often see Chinese women as “devalued,” after age or divorce. However, Western men do not mind dating women who are divorced or women with children.
This situation makes Chinese women a bit strange in the eyes of Western men. On one hand, Chinese women often have strict conditions when it comes to marriage. On the other end, married Chinese women often tolerate unbearable marriages which can even include domestic abuse and cheating husbands.
A few years ago, Crazy English founder Li Yang’s American wife Kim Lee wife made headlines for filing for a divorce because of domestic violence. Li Yang had explained the domestic violence by claiming, “That is Chinese culture.” In China, women usually do not leave their husbands because of domestic violence. If they leave their husbands, they are often persuaded to return to him “for her own good.” This is even in issue in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and among Chinese celebrities.
Marriage is a Gamble
Marriage for Chinese women is often a gamble, but young women need to seize the opportunities in front of them. Women often set out their conditions for marriage ahead of time. Everything needs to be planned out: a house, a car, a good relationship with their mother-in-law. However, if Chinese women gamble on the wrong man, then marrying again may not be easy.
Even after marriage, Chinese women always hope to continue to improve themselves. Many women spend a lot of effort trying to “freeze themselves in time,” and look younger than they actually are. Some say that because of this, “Chinese men are not good enough for Chinese women.”
The best way for a Chinese man to express his love to his wife is to hand over his monthly wage. When a Chinese woman begins to age and look older, this will give her the greatest sense of security she can have in her marriage.
On the surface, Chinese women have it all. Chinese men often joke that, “China is now a little feminist society. The streets are full of men carrying women’s handbags, men apologizing to women, men giving more than half their paychecks to their wives, mothers having the final say with their children.” “It is a woman’s right to spend a man’s money, but if a man spends a woman’s money he is mooching off her.” “When a woman buys luxury goods she is beautiful, when a man buys luxury wine he is wasteful.”
However, everyone knows Chinese women’s outer strength comes from a need to protect themselves. They are forced to be strong by society, and this is not something to be proud of.
Source: DW News
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Keywords: Expats and Chinese women Stereotypes of Chinese women
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