By Leta Hong Fincher
Leftover girls debunks the preferred fantasy that girls have fared good due to post-socialist China's monetary reforms and breakneck development. Laying out the structural discrimination opposed to girls in China will converse to broader issues of China's financial system, politics, and development.
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Extra info for Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China
Yet the state rhetoric on preventing birth defects through promoting earlier marriage and premarital health screening – as opposed to scientific reporting on the ill effects of pollution – strikes fear in the hearts of Chinese women in their twenties who hope one day to have a child. Women from across China have sent messages to my Weibo account, expressing their frustrations regarding the pressure to have a child while they are still in their twenties. “The government and state media keep spreading the idea that children born to women older than thirty will be bad… This just makes pregnant women deeply worried and sick at heart,” wrote one woman from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province.
In a photographic version of this theme, the woman is looking directly at the viewer with her arms around a man with his back to us. ” That is, women of the “leftover” age could persevere in waiting for the perfect man, or they could make the wiser choice to compromise and marry someone who isn’t perfect, but is real. ” One popular cartoon shows a woman wearing a crown inscribed with the characters shengnü (), “saintly woman,” implying that the woman is a virgin who has never had any men in her life.
Moreover, government-sponsored, mass matchmaking fairs are also spreading to other large cities such as Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province, where a fair in November 2013 attracted around 50,000 people (including parents of the young women and men), according to Xinhua. ” A related report by the official Xinhua News Agency in September 2012 says that more than 900,000 babies are born with birth defects in China each year, citing Ministry of Health statistics. ” The state media generally make little or no mention of scientific studies indicating that China’s rise in birth defects is related to extreme levels of pollution, especially in areas of the country that are heavily reliant on coal-fired power plants.