It’s not too much of a stretch to say that shopping and dating are very similar activities. Dating is, after all, akin to “shopping” for a boyfriend or husband. For many single, working Chinese women, their increased spending power has(unsurprisingly) given rise to “blind consumerism,” partly as a result of the fact that shopping does give women a certain high; and also partly as a result of the Chinese concept of face. It is the latter that also drives many Chinese women’s attitudes toward dating and husband-hunting.
According to a comparative survey of women’s attitudes, titled ““Women, Power & Money,” conducted by public relations firm FleishmanHillard, and which included women from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and China: compared to 35 percent of American women, 68 percent of Chinese women surveyed said like to compare items when shopping online using their tablet or smartphone; 53 percent said the wide variety of shopping options make them feel overwhelmed; and they are very concerned about the quality and safety of the products they buy. (Source: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-05/what-do-chinese-women-want)
As much as Chinese women have the tendency to buy compulsively, they are also very mindful of what they purchase. This is actually consistent with their preference for reliable, high-quality, luxury brands. For the most part, this preference is closely associated with their preoccupation with status symbols or, as it is known in China, the concept of face.
Given their very busy work lives, combined with the demands of modern life and their filial duty to find a good husband, online dating is also the preferred and most popular method used by modern, working Chinese women. How many of these women select their mate reflects not just the incessant and heavy pressure to do so as quickly as possible and to choose properly as traditions dictate it; it is also influenced by the Confucian concept of face.
Chinese women not only have to find a husband before a certain age; the candidate must also meet certain standards, otherwise their families will lose face. Not being married when they’re already 27 or older also causes their families to lose face.
The aforementioned survey also asked the participants about the level of satisfaction they have in their marriages. Among the five countries surveyed, Chinese women were the most unsatisfied with their married life. Only 37 percent of the Chinese respondents said that they “feel very fortunate” to have their spouse/partner in their life, and only 20 percent said that their spouse/partner is the “ideal companion” they have always dreamed about.
Perhaps if these Chinese survey respondents were also more mindful of how they chose their partner, the same way that they are mindful when shopping online, and instead of getting married because traditions dictated it and so as not to lose face, then they would be happier in their married life. At the same time, they must not only look for quality in terms of a man’s financial worth; they must give greater consideration to what a man is really made of and if he fits into their life.
While online shopping may be a lot like online dating, and shopping as an activity is very similar to hunting for a husband, Chinese women must learn to have the right attitude and priorities when looking for a life partner. Unlike shopping for items which can be returned or exchanged, or even given away, a husband is supposed to be a companion for life. Many women of China still date to marry, not just to have fun, but they do have to find the right motivations if they ever hope to find happiness in their marriage. Gaining face will not give them that.
A foreign man looking for a Chinese woman to marry would do well to learn as much as he can about the relevant issues affecting today’s Chinese woman. He can find invaluable information on the blogs, forums, and magazine of ChinaLoveMatch.net, the home of trusted Chinese online dating and where foreign men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.