Scraping at the leftovers


Apparently Western feminists, not satisfied with lying to themselves about their rapidly declining sexual market value, are now insisting on lying to Chinese women about their declining sexual market value:
The notion of a ‘leftover woman’ - a highly educated, urban, professional woman over the age of 27 who is still single - has been peddled aggressively in columns, news reports and cartoons in Chinese state media over the past few years, urging women to be a little less ambitious, lower their standards and hurry up and find a husband, lest they become ‘unwanted’. Chinese women have routinely been portrayed as greedy and materialistic. [Didact: As it happens, this is common in most developing Asian countries, not just China.]
But this isn’t just a brazen and insulting media campaign. Hong Fincher argues cogently that the trend has severe economic consequences, given that marriage and home buying are so closely connected in China. She writes that women have largely been shut out of China’s immense accumulation of residential real estate wealth, which is in excesses of $27 trillion (£16 trillion), according to 2012 estimates. How? By allowing their husband’s name to be the sole name on the deed of the marital home (she cites 2012 research on home buyers in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen which found that men’s names were on the property deeds of 80 per cent of marital homes). 
Compounding this are revisions made in 2011 to China’s Marriage Law which state that, upon divorce, each side can keep whatever property is registered in his or her own name. [Didact: And if the West had even a shred of self-preservation left, it would adopt the exact same law forthwith.] With the majority of property deeds being in the man’s name, the odds are clearly stacked against women. State media has exacerbated this gender discrimination, Hong Fincher finds, with the result often being that highly educated women quit their jobs before they marry out of fear they would become too old to find a husband. 
Hong Fincher’s work paints a broad and pervasive picture of women’s rights in post-socialist China gradually eroding. She delves into China’s patriarchal culture, the growth of its real estate wealth and the impact of the Communist Party’s central aim of maintaining social stability. She charts the course of women’s economic gains over China’s dynastic history and also highlights the lack of clear legislation to combat domestic violence. 
She explains the pressure on women to marry for the benefit of a harmonious society stems from a 2007 announcement issued by China’s state council, which claimed the country faced a severe problem of low population quality that would impede its ability to compete on the world stage. As a result, the government made ‘upgrading population quality’ a priority, citing China’s severe sex ratio imbalance as a threat to social stability: China’s National Bureau of Statistics estimates that there are around 20 million more men under 30 than women under 30 in the country (interestingly, Hong Fincher notes that ‘bare branches’, a nineteenth-century term for childless, unmarried men, is still used in China today). [Didact: Basically, the Chinese created a national epidemic of severe blue balls. Dontcha just loooooove that central planning?!]
In theory, Hong Fincher says, the women being targeted by this campaign should be empowered, given China’s rapid economic growth and the educational gains of women in recent years. In her view, the ‘leftover women’ campaign is part of a broader backlash against women’s educational gains over recent years, with their educational and professional successes “kind of evaporating” when they marry and buy a home. 
A large part of this is because urban home ownership has become a “defining feature of masculinity” in China. Parents will routinely help their sons or even nephews buy a home, but not their daughters, and so the enormous value of residential property in China ends up largely being concentrated in the hands of men. Women are in effect “forfeiting ownership of the most valuable asset in the family”. 
“Because homes are so unaffordable, you have to have the pooling of family assets. That means it’s the parents who put up [a lot of] money towards the house - and it tends to be the man’s parents who put up more money. That gives them more power over who gets their name on the deed and contributes to the tremendous pressure on the woman to leave her name off it,” she says. 
This pressure is not confined to heterosexual, single women. To combat familial pressure to marry, a trend known as ‘functional marriage’ has emerged: “A gay man will arrange a marriage with a lesbian to basically fool their parents and relatives,” Hong Fincher explains. [Didact: Just when you thought homogamy couldn't get any weirder...] “They are legally married but it is a marriage to stave off pressure from parents.” While some have argued this is empowering for those involved, critics say that lesbians opting into these arrangements will often “enter into the same kinds of unequal financial home buying arrangements that heterosexual women fall prey to.”
The article goes on (and on, and on, AND ON) in this vein for quite some time, so we'll leave it at that and simply look at the logical fallacies inherent in Whatsername's arguments. All I can say in the author's favour is that at least her nose is proportionate to the rest of her face. Unlike, say, this bird. Who literally has a beak.

First, as Vox has pointed out repeatedly, the single best way to destroy the purchasing power of men, and therefore the stability of the family unit, is to encourage women to join the workforce instead of staying at home and raising children. It should not be particularly difficult to understand that if the government makes it less costly to hire women for positions that men once occupied, by making it very expensive to hire men in the first place, then women will by definition be hired more often. It also logically follows, by definition, that more women in the workforce means fewer women available to raise children. None of this should be hard to comprehend, yet government central planners seem to insist that they can have the best of both worlds- a fecund, highly educated female workforce that is highly productive and highly adaptable to population pressures. This, despite about 50 years' worth of evidence telling us that such a setup is utterly impossible.

Second, as Vox and I and so many others have pointed out so many times before, a woman's value is not defined by her education. Strong, dominant, powerful men do not respect women for their brains. They respect women for their femininity.

Since so much has been written from an analytical perspective on this subject, let me provide a more personal narrative to illustrate the point. In my entire professional career, I have met precisely one woman who I thought was genuinely better at doing difficult, technical projects than I am. She is the only woman I have ever met who is actually willing to work all hours of the day to get the job done. She is very smart, very capable, and has zero tolerance for nonsense. As a result, she and I get along very well indeed. She has a flat in one of London's most desirable suburbs, she has a great job that she thoroughly enjoys, and she has the freedom to travel the world to do and see the things that she wants. And I would be remiss if I did not add that she is actually rather good-looking; if she simply paid a bit more attention to her posture and grew her hair out a bit, she'd be genuinely cute.

She is also in her mid-thirties, single, and very likely to remain so given her working hours and lifestyle.

Unsurprisingly, she doesn't exactly seem thrilled about the fact that she's still single and therefore spends her weekends working when the rest of us are doing more productive things. (My definition of "productive", by the way, is time spent in Terra Oblivious, i.e. sound asleep on my couch on a lazy Saturday afternoon. It's all relative, I suppose.)

In very stark terms, her brains and skills mean absolutely nothing in the sexual market place. I know a couple of women like this- I'm good friends with one, in fact. They constantly ask why it is that men don't seem to desire them. This shouldn't be very hard to figure out: straight men do NOT want to come home from work and then go out on dates with, effectively, another man. We want to spend time around women, which means that we simply don't give a damn about a woman's qualifications, her work background, how much money she makes, or how fancy her apartment is (beyond a certain point, anyway).

Third, it is necessary to state this as starkly and as bluntly as possible: a woman who is not interested in settling down and having children during her prime years of fertility is an evolutionary dead end. I just cannot state it any more plainly than this. Modern women simply do not seem to understand that their years of peak fertility are very limited indeed- they have roughly 15 years in which to conceive and raise children, and then their fertility rapidly declines, as does their energy level and ability to chase after little kids. A woman who insists on waiting for Mr. Right, or pursuing a career over a family, is choosing to ignore evolutionary reality.

That is certainly her choice and she has every right to make it. Doesn't mean that it's any less idiotic, though.

Fourth, on the subject of who gets what assets in a divorce- be it noted that I believe that the person who earned the asset, deserves the asset. In most cases, that will inevitably be the man. There are certainly instances where a man might be signed as the owner of an asset even though it was purchased by the woman, and it would be wantonly unfair to give him the asset when her money went toward buying it. However, I fail to see how this is any more unfair than the current state of divorce law in the West, in which up to 90 percent of a man's assets can be confiscated, perfectly legally and at gunpoint, by the government and then handed over wholesale to a woman who has done nothing whatsoever to earn them.

The article ends on what the author probably supposed was an upbeat note by pointing out that young women in China don't have to follow the script that is set out for them. That is certainly true. They have every right to pursue the lives that they want. However- and this is the important bit- they must also be held responsible for the consequences. If they refuse to marry and settle down when young and fertile, and then find to their shock that no sane man in his mid-thirties wants to marry a female professional his age, then that's their problem. There should be absolutely no recourse to the State to correct this supposed evil; if women want to live it up during their years of peak fertility by having casual sex and working all hours, then that's their choice and they alone should pay the price for making it.

Conversely, if a woman decides to settle down and raise a family with a man, and is loyal and devoted to him and to their children, then she must accept the consequences of that decision too. The difference between this latter path and the former is that the latter path seems to lead to happier, healthier, more feminine women, at least based on what I've seen. I don't think I've ever met anyone unhappier than a smart, upwardly mobile, professionally successful, independent woman. You can see it in her eyes- at some level, she knows (probably unconsciously) that she's made a horrible mistake, and something in her mind is constantly screaming at her to correct it.

The reality of being a professional, successful urban woman is that you pay a fearsome price for that coveted lifestyle. If you're willing to pay that price, well, fine, it's on you. If you're not, though, don't expect the rest of us to eagerly foot the bill for your stupidity.


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