The term “leftover women”, which describes single women over the age of 30 or so, is considered a pejorative because it singles women out for their failure to find a husband. But Luo Aiping, a 38-year old writer of a book called Investigation into China’s Leftover Women, says women should be wearing the title with pride because it shows China is advancing.
Luo maintains that a woman’s happiness has nothing to do with a husband or children. For women, real achievement is attaining equal respect and freedom. Luo says marriage restricts the freedom of women and hinders them from developing their careers:
When I look around at other women my age, they’ve mostly retreated from their careers and gone back to their homes. Women with ambition are a small minority.
Luo blames traditional Chinese culture for a lack of options:
A lot of women think having a child is a personal decision, but I think it’s worth asking if that really is the case. That’s because from birth, we are told that as girls we should get married and have babies. There’s no way you’re allowed to have the freedom to choose for yourself… This society requires women to both be pining for love or a marriage, but I don’t yearn for either one.
China recent economic advances in turn provide female empowerment. As Luo says, the phenomenon of “leftover women” shows that China is progressing:
A woman’s right to an education has been guaranteed. By becoming financially independent and able to take care of oneself, marriage changes from a necessity everyone needs in their lives to a choice you can make for yourself.
Luo is also critical of Chinese women who make marriage more important than romance and love. Even still, Luo thinks that marriage does not confer many benefits to women, who are instead saddled with responsibilities. And even within the bonds of marriage, the “feeling of security” that so many Chinese women pine for does not exist:
Before marriage, property belongs to each individual. However, our society has a predilection to make men provide a house for marriage. In the case that one day the couple may have a divorce, you may find yourself left with nothing.
Luo also opens up about not being married. She said she hasn’t been in a relationship in ten years and is enjoying single life. For her, love is just a fleeting, momentary emotion that is not worth yearning for. As for sex:
Marriage does not guarantee you will have a satisfactory sex life. Also, the methods to having a one-night stand are now becoming increasingly available and convenient.
Here’s the video of the interview: