SK-II made a video about the pressure women in China face to get married and what being a "leftover woman" means. It is a term used to identify women over 25 who are still single. These are a few of their stories:
For many women in China, being a "leftover woman" makes you the subject of conversation, and sometimes even ridicule.
Young women are taught to honor their parents' wishes and find a good match early.
And if they do not marry at the "right" age, parents and family members constantly shame them for it.
"People think that in Chinese society, an unmarried woman is incomplete."
The "marriage market" is a place where parents go to post their sons' and daughters' profiles in the hopes that they will find a match to marry.
The profiles list information like age, occupation, income, and what type of property the potential suitor owns. "It's like you're selling your daughter."
In Chinese culture, respecting your parents' wishes is one of the most important lessons children are taught. And for many parents, they met their S.O. through an arranged marriage, normalizing the concept for them.
One mother said that while her daughter had a "great personality," she was "just average looking..."
...and she attributed her "leftover" status to her daughter's looks.
Many unmarried women feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for remaining single.
And though they yearn for real love, the pressure they face from their families and culture makes deciding to wait for a genuine connection difficult.
So, a few of the women decided to go back to the marriage market — not to make a profile for themselves, but to leave their parents a message.
"Even if I'm alone, I will be happy, confident, and have a good life."
"As opposed to the term 'leftover woman,' I have a great career and there is another term called 'power woman.'"
"I don't want to get married just for the sake of marriage. I won't live happily that way."
And luckily, many of the parents were receptive to their daughters' messages. As this mother said, "My daughter is beautiful. Leftover women should be proud."
Because being a single, independent woman does not make you "leftover." It's makes you strong, beautiful, and confident in your own right.