Welcome to Demography Is Destiny. We launched this to counter two media memes: that humans are a cancer which is destroying our planet and that world population is spiralling to unsustainable levels. The real story is that intelligent and inventive humans will rise to the challenge of climate change and that our real problem is the coming demographic winter. The editors of Demography is Destiny are Marcus and Shannon Roberts, who live in Auckland, New Zealand. Send them your comments and suggestions. - See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/chinas-wife-shortage/17683#sthash.309f49ST.dpuf
WEDNESDAY, 2 MARCH 2016
China’s wife shortage
- See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/chinas-wife-shortage/17683#sthash.309f49ST.dpuf
Millions of Chinese bachelors feel crippled by the pressure to find a wife in a country where there a few to be found. So much so, they are going to ever more extreme lengths to secure one. It is understandably important to a Chinese family with only one son that he marry and produce grandchildren; a financial and emotional pressure felt by both only children and their parents brought about by the unnatural, forced one child policy.While historically a bride’s family would provide a dowry to her husband’s family, now potential brides are the ones being offered marriage incentives and “bride prices”. Marriage is increasingly approached as a sort of business deal in which women are encouraged by their families to marry up, and men feel the pressure to own a home, car and have a good income to be seen as an eligible husband.
Sun Xiaobo wrote last week in the Chinese Global Times of the hardship financially disadvantaged families face:
With men lining up outside, women are well-positioned to ask for stacks of cash, jewelry, apartments and cars as preconditions for marrying a man. While widows used to be looked down upon in rural areas, echoing a traditional cultural disdain for the idea of women remarrying, they have now become unexpectedly popular and don't need to worry about finding a new spouse at all.
In this context, financially disadvantaged families can hardly afford to get a marriage for their sons and sometimes even resort to criminal methods, such as buying abducted women. No one cares much about the basic requirement for a marriage such as mutual understanding and feelings.In her newly released book “One Child”, journalist Mei Fong also discusses families who struggle financially because of their extreme efforts to find a wife for their only son:
With men vying for a limited number of bridges, parents are chipping in to help them buy apartments and enhance their eligibility.
…I met one such 'fangnu' in Tian Qingeng, twenty-five, a good natured lathe operator, in 2013... To increase his eligibility, his parents emptied their savings – all $45,000 – and borrowed an addition $35,000 from relatives, to buy a two-bedroom apartment in central Ninghai. Every month, mortgage payments take up roughly 80 percent of Tian and his parents’ combined income.
…A few months before we met Tian went on his one and only date, a fix-up arranged by his uncle… The conversation was turgid. He was disappointed. Her face, he complained, wasn’t “harmonious”. He said he didn’t know what to say to her. In truth, he didn’t know what to say to any woman his age, having no sisters and working in an all-male environment.Over three decades of a one child policy which resulted in families favouring the birth of sons has meant there are just not enough girls to go around. Moreover, girls are completely foreign creatures to many of China’s pressured, young, male only children not sure where to start on the dating scene:
A broad survey by Chinese media and academics last year revealed the pervasive shortage of young women of marriageable age in the countryside. Chinese people, particularly in the countryside, used to try every conceivable method to have a boy and get rid of girls, but the gender balance may now have shifted. The more sons a rural family has, the more disadvantages it faces in the marriage market.
…Amid these gloomy clouds, there's one silver lining: at least those who used to prefer boys now come to realize the importance of those that hold up half of the sky.Indeed girls do 'hold up half the sky' as this journalist puts it, and a society without equal feminine contribution is impoverished. China is learning a hard lesson about the heavy downsides of forced reproductive policy and millions of aborted girls. Meanwhile, it is everyday people who must live with the hardship caused
It's hard to think of a story in American fiction more macabre than Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery". When it was published in 1948 in The New Yorker, hundreds of appalled readers sent letters of protest and South Africa banned it. As a narrative, it is quite skilful: you only grasp the horror of what is happening in the closing paragraph. To tell the truth, I thought it was quite amusing when I first read it in the 1960s, which may say something appalling about me. I won't spoil if for you -- you can read it here.
In a very interesting article below, Nicole King says that "The Lottery" can teach us a few lessons about how society views abortion. It couldn't be more timely. Today the US Supreme Court will hold an oral hearing in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case about access to abortion in Texas. The plaintiff is contesting a Texas law which will apparently close 34 out of the 40 abortion clinics in the state.
|Losing the lottery|
Nicole M. King | FEATURES | 2 March 2016
Sometimes it takes a good story to jolt us out of our lethargy.
|Psychological tips for resisting the internet’s grip|
Elliot Berkman | CONNECTING | 2 March 2016
Is it possible to rein in our internet consumption, which often comes at the expense of work, family and friendships?
|China’s wife shortage|
Shannon Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 2 March 2016
Bachelors are going to extreme lengths to find a wife.
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