Marriage Markets in Shanghai

Written by Vincent Chu, (Student Correspondent) United States Naval Academy

We often discuss the topic of “leftover women” and “leftover men” in our Chinese classes and our internship seminar course but this weekend was when I got a serious glimpse of it. A leftover woman or leftover man is someone who would generally be over the age of 25 and has not yet found a serious boyfriend or girlfriend.

We had talked about a marriage market which occurs in the Peoples Square which is a massive park in the center of Shanghai. Parents go there with advertisements for their children and were there to network and even try and find partners for their children. We saw advertisements for individuals ranging from their mid twenties all the way to the fifties! I am not sure whether the older individuals were advertising for their children or themselves but I guess that is besides the point. I thought it was interesting when we talked about it in class but it absolutely blew my mind when I walked through it with my friend. If anything I would have thought it would only be a few parents spread out talking to people that walked by, but to my surprise there were hundreds of people and advertisements all throughout the park and this park is relatively large.

It makes me wonder whether or not this exists in the states. I figure it is similar to speed dating but the parents are doing it for the kids. I think the pressure for Chinese people to get married and have kids is much more prominent than it is back in the states.

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