There are still many countries, especially those that are still developing, that still uphold a lot of traditional values, especially those that relate to family. In some of these nations, the women enjoy equal rights and opportunities as the men, mostly due to the unavoidable influences of first-world nations; however, it is common for a chauvinistic mentality to still persist within the society, especially in very poor families with no or very little education, or even in middle- and upper-class families that are extremely religious.
Chinese civilization has been around for millennia and many of modern-day China’s traditions and beliefs have survived this great country’s countless leaders, the wars it has fought, revolutions from within, and many other turning points in its history. For most of Chinese history, the women have always held a low status in society. Their roles in the family were only limited to being an obedient daughter, a submissive wife, and a devoted mother, and they only served the purposes of producing sons and serving their family. They literally did not have a say about their own life and lived it only according to how the males in their life wish it.
It was only during the early part of the 20th century when the status of women in society was elevated and their quality of life slowly improved. In recent years, modern women of China have made even bigger leaps, pursuing much higher levels of education and greater career ambitions. They are no longer mere subjects in a male-dominated household. Sadly, however, they still deal with the challenges of living in a male-dominated society.
These brave and determined women who have chosen to put their desires first, instead of settling down as soon as they reached marriageable age and becoming full-time wives and mothers, pay a price for their ambitions by being considered undesirable marriage partners. While women of China have undergone significant changes in attitude and behavior, the men have remained mostly the same, especially when it comes to how they see and treat women.
In China, one’s “face” or reputation is extremely important, especially among the men. Men looking for a life partner would only choose women who are demure, yielding, and with less education and success than they have. If the woman is working, she would be expected to quit her job so she could devote all her time and effort to meeting the needs of her husband and caring for her family. Having a partner who has achieved more than the husband has is unacceptable.
With the number of independent, intelligent, and career-oriented women, making a lot of money to boot, increasing in recent years, the number of single, Chinese women who are considered “not suitable” for marriage is also growing. Fortunately for them, the Chinese online dating scene opens up a lot of doors for them to explore and find a life partner. They may not be desired by men in their own culture, but these women possess traits that many western men find highly desirable.
It is still sad to think, however, that modern Chinese society still does not appreciate its own daughters, even after they have proven that they can hold up their half of the sky. It is even sadder that this society chooses to discourage and even punish its daughters for wanting and achieving higher goals and status in life. While for most of Chinese history, it is the great male leaders and thinkers that made possible its many periods of renown and glory and brought the country its many victories and to its present status as a world superpower, these men were still borne and nurtured by their mothers and served by their wives and daughters – women of China who were great in their own right, for sacrificing their own needs and putting their fathers, husbands, and sons first.
They say before you can expect others to appreciate and love you, you must first appreciate and love yourself. The modern and successful women of China are only beginning to do this and perhaps, in time, their society and the men in it will finally appreciate their real worth and give them the fair treatment that they have earned and deserve.