Scraping at the leftovers
|OMFG KILL IT KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!|
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.”