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Leftover women

China is in the news for many reasons. There is the on-going trade war with the United States….. The persecution of the Uighur minority. The country continues its dizzying rise to modernity, with cities being completely redesigned in a few years.

One interesting social phenomenon that has recently been documented is the rise of the ‘leftover woman,’ (Sheng nu). This derogatory phrase refers to a woman over 26 (or thereabouts), who is not married or in a relationship. From the point of view of the labeller, its not a positive term, and it’s unlikely that any woman would want to refer herself as such. Nevertheless, with more and more young women in China choosing to delay or in some cases avoid marriage completely, many young women are so scared of being given the classification that they are doing whatever they can to find a husband.

Marriage markets are popping up in towns across the country. Here, parents display photographs and mini biographies of their daughters in the hope of attracting potential partners. And on dates, where women are trained to act as demurely as possible, they are advised to not assert themselves in any way or mention their careers.

A weekly marriage market in Shanghai

Who might be considered ‘leftover’?

In theory, any woman above a certain age without prospects could be considered a leftover woman. However, it’s typically used to denigrate women who choose to ignore Chinese culture and tradition that says they should marry and start a family as soon as possible.

Any woman over 26 faces great social and familial pressure to look for a husband.

What are the reasons for the leftover women?

China’s growing middle class are increasingly well-educated; often much more so than their parents. They study more, often overseas. The one-child policy introduced in 1980, meant that women born in this period are considered by the older generation to be the most spoiled in history. Yet they are also perhaps the most fortunate, being born at a time of greater prosperity and fortune than their parents and grandparents. Women who grew up without siblings (even though parents typically preferred a son) had more of their parent’s attention and were able to enjoy a better education going further than what would normally be available to women in families with sons. As a result, many of today’s young women are focusing on their careers, choosing to provide for themselves and get ahead.

Lack of suitors

The men in China are sometimes unfairly depicted in American cinema as unreliable, addicted to gambling and alcohol. Whether this is the reality, there must be a reason why Chinese women are choosing not to marry. Whilst 28 is hardly considered old for women in Western countries, it’s different in China. Many men want somebody younger than them, which explains why so many Chinese women are marrying abroad. It is also worth noting that women are often so much more educated that men cannot accept the prospect of being married to someone more successful than they are.

“Leftover women” seems to be a handy term to describe a problem that isn’t really a problem at all. The emergence of women with greater economic independence and education is of great advantage to China, especially when women become successful internationally. The population of China has stayed steady and  -even though the one-child policy has been rescinded – families are having smaller families anyway, reducing the poverty and the starvation of the Cultural Revolution.


With 15 million more men than women in China, there are is a shortage of brides. It’s strange that it’s the men who are often being left behind, – by a rapidly modern society – but women are the ones being labelled as ‘leftover’.

Hint of misogyny?

To some, the term “leftover woman” is an attempt to stigmata a certain segment of women who are using more freedom that is now available to them, exactly the freedom that men have always had available to them as a matter of course. And more to the point, people aren’t happy that women are no longer happy to just stay at home and look after children. At the heart of the issue is there are women in China, a country considered at the other side of the world geographically and politically, who are closer to women in the west than those in small villages only a few hundred miles away.

What its like dating Asian women

Before I realised I had what is perjoratively known to some people as Asian fever, my attempts at dating were haphazard. They were fraught with anxiety and awkwardness. I had been raised to expect certain things from women and it was a continual disappointment when I saw that things didn’t go according to plan.


I didn’t really think too much about it until I started going out with women from Asian countries. Now, I am not some one who could be called a player by any mean

The process by which men have typically approached women have come across as sleazy to me. So one night stands have never appealed to me and I don’t like nightclubs.

I am essentially a very romantic person. For me, the toughest thing has been finding a woman who feels the same way.

Happily, I’ve managed to meet some women who share my feelings. So, what’s it like with Asian girls, and aren’t women all pretty much the same?

I’d have to say no. Whilst globalisation has meant that we all eat McDonalds and wear McDonalds, there are still very clear differences in attitude between western and oriental women.

First things first. Western women will put their needs first. This is immediately clear from browsing through any dating profile on Okcupid or similar sites. A typical profile will contain any number of requirements that a man must have should he consider contacting her. These will range from wanting someone who has a good job to having certain cultural interests that match hers. In all of these requirements, there is no mention of anything that the women are going to offer the man. In fact, he should be lucky if he ever gets the opportunity to spend time with her.

I think I failed on most of the dates I went on was because the women I went out with seemed to have acutally zero interest in learning about me. Rather, they saw the date as an opportunity to vent about everything from how much they hated their jobs to what an asshole their previous boyfriends. It never occured to them to wonder if I would find this interesting or if I would be attracted to them for sharing this information.

N0w when I’ve been out with women from South Korea, China, and other Pacific Rim countries, they have all been genuinely interested in what I have to say. Dates are a pleasure because the conversations are not one-sided.  Conversations flow easily because with Asian girls they are actually interested in what you think and they want to learn more about you.

A real problem I have with western girls is their absolute negativity towards most things. We can all have days when we feel that life is against us but surely a date is not such a time to start ranting?

When it’s time to pay the bill, it’s typical for western women to expect men to pay the bill. In fact, in spite of wanting absolute equality in almost every aspect of their lives, western women will resent any guy who, god forbid, asks her to contribute her share of the bill. Yet, most Asian girls will immediately offer to pay when the cheque lands on the table. The funny thing is that whenever I go out with Asian women I nearly always pay beacause I will have had a great time and its my pleasure to do so in such cases.

When it comes to dressing up, Asian women will invariably go to some effort when they meet you. Maybe they will wear their hair a certain way. If they wear make-up it will be tastefully and carefully applied. Perhaps they will wear a nice skirt with a jacket. Every detail will be taken care of. Now, most western women will most likely not bother making any kind of effort at all.

Asian women are more attentive. For example, if you spill mayonnaise on your trousers, don’t expect them to watch it sink in and stain. A South Korean lady was immediately dabbing on my jeans when this happened to me recently.

Asian women will order drinks, put food on your plate, and help you carry things.

When the date is over and it’s time to say good-night, the Asian woman will say goodbye and thank you for a wonderful evening. You will say thank you and it will be entirely honest. Then when you get home you will find a thoughtful text message saying how much they enjoyed it and saying they would like to see you again.

To be honest, I wouldn’t expect anything like this from western women. I’d be surprised if they would even remember the date later on that evening.

Sometimes I wonder if women in these countries really actually want anything from men? Do they resent men who show interest in them or make an effort to get to know them?

I’ve now been dating ORiental women exclusively for the last year. It’s been a total pleasure and I’ve not looked back.