Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chinese Women: Hapless? Ruthless?

Worse than crying in a BMW?

This thoughtful New Inquiry essay about yuppie-aged women in China is well worth a read, despite its length. Written by a Yale graduate student, the piece discusses the way that many 25-35 women are perceived in the fast changing, materialistic-minded society that is modern China. The article focuses the spotlight on two female archetypes – the shengnü and the BMW Lady. The shengnü refers to “leftover women”, characterized as well-educated and highly successful females aged thirty or older who are not married, either out of choice or because they can’t find suitably enlightened and compatible mates. The BMW Lady is the stereotypical gold digger, coined in 2010 when a young female dating reality show contestant rejected a male suitor who had offered her a romantic ride on a bicycle, proclaiming, “I’d rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle.”
The essay is full of eye-opening tidbits, including pithyisms such as “As soon as a man has money, he turns bad; as soon as a woman turns bad, she has money,”characterizations of not-so-old women as “white bone spirits” (baigujing) and gold digging club hoppers as “dry cleaners: just looking to pick up suits!” However, for the most part, the piece raises a number of pressing social issues, including the gender population discrepancies that have resulted from the one child policy, the uneasy tussling between Communist egalitarian ideals with Confucian male-oriented traditions, and the moral vacuum that has descended onto a society doused with showering of new money. As for those who say they might prefer to cry while riding a BMW all the way to the bank, one can only hope that they will someday soon get to appreciate pleasures that are truly priceless, such as having the sun and wind on one’s face as bicycle wheels whirl below them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment