Inside the Mind of a Chinese Woman
I was having dinner with my old classmate yesterday and she basically poured out her soul to me.
Now usually when someone opens their heart to you; really, just spills their guts, you discover new things about people you never knew before.
You start to question your own life, your own goals, this world, the universe, why life and death exist. Nothing is the same for you, for your friend–for anyone.
Do all Chinese Women Want the Same Thing?
Oh, I think they do my dear reader. My friend’s worries are also the worries of all the millions of women in China.
She recited to me the basic dogma for every woman in this country.
Oh, what did she say? Are you curious?
The Mental Thought Pattern of a 22-28 Year Old Chinese Woman
“Mary, it was my dream to become an interpreter. Really. I thought I couldn’t fail in this area, I was so confident. My English was so good, I got into this famous masters program, and everyone told me that simultaneous interpreters make a ton of money.
But then I came to Shanghai from my rural village and saw that everyone speaks English and has degrees from Columbia and UCLA. I feel so overwhelmed. Everyone in the class is talented at interpreting. I looked at the alumni list of our schools and almost half of them were still without jobs, or working freelance. I’m really starting to doubt my career choice.
There’s too much competition in China, especially in Shanghai. I’m afraid I won’t find a good paying job because there’s too many people just like me. Shanghai is full to the brim with smart, successful Chinese.
Plus, buying a house in Shanghai is too expensive. There is absolutely no way I could ever afford to buy a house here (*note: small apartments in Shanghai will literally sell for 1 million USD), and my parents can’t help me to buy one either.
And why would I rent a house? I would pay a ton of money to rent a house, when I could just own one and have property. That’s a much better investment. All Chinese women need their own house. A Chinese man should already have a house to provide for his wife, don’t you think?
That’s another thing: Finding a man. That’s one reason I want to go back home. I want my mom to introduce me to a good man. I trust my mom in her decision to find a husband for me–more importantly, she has better connections. My parents both worked for the government so they know people in high places to match me up with. For example, my mom’s friend has a son with over 4 houses in Sichuan, a really high paying government job, plus a super rich family. This lady introduced her son to another classmate of mine, and now they’re dating. I mean, it’s hard to find this kind of opportunity in Shanghai.
This is another worry of mine in Shanghai. I don’t have connections here so it will be impossible for me to find a man with equal standing assets. How am I going to meet a good man here? Maybe after graduating I’ll just go back home and get married.
Buying a house in Sichuan will be much more affordable. Of course, it’d be more ideal to marry a man with a house, but if we both had to purchase one for some reason, at least in Sichuan it would kind of be possible.
I thought I wanted to work abroad and have new experiences, which is one reason I came to Shanghai, but here I am and I feel overwhelmed. Maybe I can’t make it abroad. But I’d be ok to go back to Sichuan, get married, and have a house.
Either way, I’m stressing out. I really hope I can find a good guy, have a house, and maybe if I’m lucky he will have a car.”
Let’s not forget…
This classmate is 23. These are the everyday woes of a 22-28 year old Chinese woman. It gets way worse after 25. When you pass 25 you’re almost doomed to being single forever, and once you pass 30 you can never go back. You might as well die alone.
How do I feel about this?
I have heard the above story from so many Chinese women, I could recite it in my sleep.
I think the emphasis on a house is ridiculous, which has also led to a severe amount of pressure on the men, which has resulted in a large pool of single bachelors that can’t manage a to snag a woman. Unless your parents saved their brains out to buy you a 1 million dollar apartment in Shanghai, I just don’t think your 700 USD/monthly salary is going to pay the mortgage–and get you a woman.
China is extremely materialistic, and Chinese people are caught up in the wealth of being able to afford luxurious material possessions. Chinese people put emphasis on providing for families and stability, but when it comes to doing the greater good for mankind of achieving something that doesn’t have a monetary value, they fall somewhat flat. It’s vital to believe in, and work for, a greater cause.
When Chinese women tell me about their goals, it’s never: “I want to speak English so that I can help bring the world together, meet foreigners, or teach English to others.”
Or, “I want to study engineering so I can invent a new engine that runs without gasoline and help the environment.”
All goals usually end in money. I’m an engineer because my mom told me to do it and the pay is good. I studied English because I want to meet a foreign man, marry him and get US citizenship. Most goals have a monetary value attached.
Life isn’t about money, and although there are probably 100 chengyu that express this phrase, it seems like everyone has suddenly forgotten what it means.