China woman, 36, says she prefers ‘high-quality singlehood’ over ‘low-quality marriage’

"Being happy is most important".

Gawain Pek | November 18, 2022, 05:42 PM

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The institution of marriage was debated on Chinese social media after a short clip posted by a woman from Dalian, China, made its rounds online.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Nov. 16 that the video "restarted a discussion on cultural norms that push young Chinese men and women into marriage as soon as possible."

Marriage that goes awry is "torture"

The video featured the 36-year-old woman going about her day in her apartment, cooking for herself and dressing up.

In the narration overlaid in the clip, the woman, who introduced herself as an unwed single, expounded on her views about marriage.

She first characterised a marriage as "torture" if you "marry the wrong person".

"If you are with someone whom you are repulsed by just from looking at them, how different is that from prison?" the woman asked.

"Wouldn't you rather be on your own, instead of getting married for the sake of it?" she continued.

The woman goes on to lament, "marriage or not, there will be regrets in life".

To her, she explains metaphorically, the decision is between freedom and a sense of home.

Whatever it is, "being happy is most important".

In what seems to be a bit of social commentary, the single woman, while putting on her jewelry, suggests a different generational view on how life should be.

"I think we are past the time where a woman's life is about getting married to a man, looking pretty and getting fed", the woman professed.

As such, she shares that she has learnt to be "at peace with herself" and has since felt "empowered".

A slightly different version of the clip can also be found on Weibo.

A debate on norms

According to SCMP, the video has been viewed 270,000 times and received 27,676 comments at the time of its reporting.

Pressuring young people to get married as early as possible is a "dominant cultural norm" in mainland China, the media outlet wrote.

Online, netizens were mixed about the opinion of the 36-year-old.

Under the Star Video post on bilibili, one user commented that they were neutral about the opinion.

"To each their own", the user wrote.

Another pointed out that she could do whatever she wants, but "don't complain when you get older".

On the contrary, a commenter disagreed that being single will be worse off:

"Please don't worry about her. Nowadays, so many children leading a 996 lifestyle and they do not have time to take care of their elderly parents. They also needed help from parents to take care of their children after giving birth or buy their house. Judging from these societal norms, would you still complain about being single? The money used to buy a house and bringing up a child can be saved for retirement."

One commenter criticised the woman on pragmatic grounds:

"She is selfish. If many people thought like her, where would the next generations come from?" the commenter wrote, according to SCMP.

Top image via Star Video/bilibili, Weibo