Love and the focus on relationships manifests in China, in many different forms. As a foreigner, it is easy to notice and hard to ignore. From marketing campaigns celebrating fake weddings, where models dress up in an elaborate wedding ceremony, to singles’ day providing discounts for those perceived to be unlucky in love. From a campus kissing festival where the goal was merely to kiss a stranger (fortunately there were red tape restrictions) to the over commercialisation on festivals of love. The dating industry in China is huge, there is even Chinese Tinder!
We have entered the era of multi-love, where attitudes to love are hard-wired. The perception of love and finding a partner is entwined with Confucian ideals, whereby 27% of individuals believe that their parent’s disapproval to their relationship would be a major obstacle. Furthermore, Chinese men believed a car and a property were next in a list of desirable qualities after physical appearance. Also, over 60% of women associated singledom with unhappiness and believed they could only achieve happiness after marriage.
However, at the risk of sounding culturally naive to China’s views on love, here are the views of several fellow students.
Attitude towards “leftover women” and the focus on career progression.
Fu: “I think leftover women are on the reprisal. Especially blind dates, where men feel inferior to leftover women in terms of salary and education. As for social media, it paints a picture of a happy married couple as opposed to ‘leftover’ women who may be happy with their life and choices”.
Attitude towards prioritising a car and a house before entering into a relationship.
Mark: “Most of the time, it is not the girl but her parents who will ask for a house and a car in order to secure their daughter’s happiness. To me it seems like I’m making a deal with her parents: I use my property in exchange for your daughter. I don’t feel any pressure though”.
Attitude to finding a foreign partner.
Yinan: “For me, it’s a curiosity. I want to experience a different lifestyle from the backgrounds we’ve grown up with. Also, watching too many Hollywood films, means that I think beauty to me (based on appearance) is blonde hair and blue eyes. I find some Chinese guys handsome, but I fell in love in high school but got rejected”.
Attitude towards China and love.
Rin: “I feel like love is overly romanticised in China and it is very rooted in the development of its economy. Romance and having a relationship is seen to be commercialised, like in many other cultures, it uses heterosexual relationships as a capitalistic tool. I have friends here who feel ashamed for being single, calling themselves single dogs. There is even a holiday for that! *laughs*
Love in China is complicated to say the least. There are an intangeable array of factors, cultural norms and monetary issues taken into consideration. Will love and the attitude towards relationships ever become simple? Who knows.
Thanks for reading!