Chinese Wives: Living At The Intersection Of Modern And Traditional Worlds
"Chinese mail order brides" is a relatively new term - a century ago, no one could imagine that a Chinese wife would live with a foreign husband. Nowadays, despite the demographic crisis, more and more women from this country marry men overseas. What are the causes of this phenomenon? How women's attitudes to family and gender roles have changed in China? Find the answers to these answers, as well as statistics, figures, and numerous facts about Chinese society below.
In search of Chinese brides: 3 facts about demographics and marriages in China
Before we start to analyze trends that have an impact on the society of China and the attitude to family and gender roles, let us consider some figures that can help us understand the current situation in the country.
- In China, 18 more boys than girls are born every day.
- By the end of the decade, over 20 million men will stay single.
- In the late 1990s, there was not a single interracial marriage registered in China. A few years ago, over 53 thousand marriages were registered in mainland China
What do these facts show? Everything is simple: despite the demographic disaster, women in China often choose foreigners. Why does such a social phenomenon exist? Find the answers below.
Why foreigners are so attracted to Chinese girls for marriage
In the 2010s, a lot of women who moved to the US or other countries of the western world suddenly found out that Chinese brides are extremely popular among white and African American men.
"In the West, Asian women are portrayed as exotic beauties; a librarian in public but kinky in the bedroom. In China, Western fantasy meets reality," Yue Xu, a Chinese actress says.
Most Chinese women agree that such popularity can be explained by the fact that girls in China are brought up as the best caretakers. Consequently, they just make the best girlfriends and wives to men, especially the fact that most men who are ready to settle down are also raised in traditional families. In other words, men grew up in more conservative families with traditional family roles, but the world was changing, so they just cannot get the care they want from more emancipated and self-oriented women.
Even celebrities are attracted to Chinese girls. For example, Rupert Murdoch was married to Wendi Deng for almost fourteen years, Hugh Grant is married to Tinglan Hong, etc.
Attitude to marriage: young Chinese brides Vs. older generation
What are the reasons why a regular Chinese girl for marriage moves to another country to get married to a foreign man? The thing is most people know that the ratio of men to women in this country is just impressive – local men outnumber Chinese women for marriage several times. It may seem that any local girl can choose among tens of young and successful men, but Chinese ladies still marry men overseas. Why does this happen? The thing is Chinese society has transformed, and today we face the consequences of this transformation. Let us analyze them in more detail.
Marriage in China is still a mandatory, not an optional part of adulthood. In particular, though the country is influenced by the latest global trends, the marriage rate in China is still significantly higher than the marriage rate in other Asian countries, in particular, in Japan and South Korea. Nevertheless, we should not also underestimate the fact that though the number of newly registered marriage in China is pretty high, it is still lower than a decade ago. For example, the number of marriages in 2015 has decreased by 6% in comparison with 2014.
Consequently, the situation is as follows. On the one hand, the institution of the family and marriage is still important for Chinese society. On the other hand, the economic and social transformations over the last 40 years had the expected impact on the new generations. That is why there is a "struggle" between parents and grandparents who still believe in old Chinese values and young Chinese women for marriage who believe that they do not need to hurry and can marry anyone they want.
What Chinese parents want for their children is a mixture of lifelong companionship and a support system – someone with a good job, a good family, and good connections – but not necessarily good looks or a sense of romance. Their children, however, increasingly aspire to love matches and view their parents' criteria as unromantic and utilitarian.
About 86% of respondents (25 to 35 y. o.) confirmed that their parents put pressure on them to get married. Not all of them give up and agree to start a family, and some choose their own pass – after all, we should not underestimate parental authority.
Particular attention should be paid to the age: most parents are concerned when their daughters are still single after the age of 23. Moreover, women who do not get married before they reach their late 20s are stigmatized as "old maids".
Mixed marriages in China
Can you believe that in China, a few decades ago, i.e. in the early 2000s, a student had been expelled for dating or marrying a foreigner? Fortunately, the situation has changed. As it was already noted, more and more inter-ethnic marriages are registered in China. However, what should we expect from such unions? What are the modern Chinese family values?
- Traditional and gender values are still quite widespread.
- Traditional ideas about the division of labor have significantly less support.
- Education and career are important to women, too, but it does not mean that they put the family to the second or third place.
- Material support is still expected by financially independent children.
Generally speaking, most women still have a more traditional family and gender values; however, they also have a desire for self-development and are not ready to refuse from education.
Matchmaking boom or how Chinese brides look for love?
A story of Gong Hayain, China's #1 dating agent and matchmaker, is perfect to illustrate how a regular Chinese woman for marriage is looking for love. It may seem that in the country where men significantly outnumber women, ladies cannot have any problems with finding a spouse, but they actually do. Gong notes that this may be related to the economic rise that led to bigger expectations and, as a result, to bigger disappointments. In fact, this situation is quite common for most developed countries.
Businesswoman also notes that it was nearly impossible for her to meet someone on social networking sites, despite that she was the Chinese woman looking for a local man. After she failed to find trusted dating sites, she decided to create her own platform. In 2011, it became the 1st Chinese dating site listed abroad.
Her story shows how things in China work. Even though there are a lot more men than women, ladies still may have problems with finding someone, especially if they are in their late 20s or early 30s. Some of them are joining local dating sites, and some prefer to look for a husband among foreigners.
How can a man meet a Chinese woman for marriage?
Of course, foreign guys who are dreaming of a Chinese woman for marriage can move to China and meet a lot of singles there. Besides, not only foreign men are attracted to local girls – Chinese women also think that foreigners are "incredibly hot." It is not a problem for a single girl to start a conversation with a man just because she liked him, and this is definitely an advantage of modern social trends that men always use.
However, the "demand" for Chinese mail order brides is very high, but very few men who want to meet and marry one of them can really do it.
A lot of Chinese people find their love on the web, in particular, on dating sites. Men from the First World do the same. No wonder most couples meet each other on international dating sites. But how do they work?
- A local agency, a company that hires agents in China or a company that is looking for female singles on the web, is searching for single women who are ready to marry a good man and do not mind moving to another country, if necessary.
- The company promotes itself in other countries, where men who want to meet a Chinese wife live (an agency's or a site's target audience).
- The company provides dating services to men and women by offering Video Chat, instant messaging, or emailing as communication tools.
- In most cases, services are free to women – men pay for communication. However, this depends on the company's policy.
- Both men and women use search to find matches, initiate conversations, build relationships with members they really like.
- If both romantic partners are committed to their long-distance relationship, they meet each other and decide whether they want to live together and/or get married (the trip may be arranged by an agency, too).
This algorithm is as simple as effective. Moreover, it works. The dating industry is growing, and the number of girls who, on the one hand, have pretty traditional family values and, on the other hand, can ignore traditions and marry someone of other cultures and ethnicity is also growing day by day.
In search of a Chinese wife - Conclusions
The most important thing about Chinese society is that it is on its way to "modernity" but it does not want to forget about its traditional values people followed for centuries. This turned China into another country where the values of older people are completely different from the values of the younger generation. Is it bad for society? Yes and no.
It can be considered a negative trend for a few main reasons. Chinese women for marriage are more independent and open-minded, and that is why they choose to love, and not the status of a married woman. Therefore, they think twice before getting married to a Chinese guy. The gap between the number of men and women in China is just huge, so there is a chance that millions of Chinese men will be single by 2050.
On the other hand, as the authors of the above-mentioned research have noted, "interethnic marriage is the classic example in the context of the contemporary society where love, trust, and understanding help people from different cultural backgrounds to get to know each other better and sometimes build happy families."