March 7, 2016

"The issue of unmarried females, stigmatised in China as 'sheng nu' or leftover women..."

"... has long been a topic of concern in a culture that prioritises marriage and motherhood for women. The state has tried to urge more single women to marry, particularly with a huge gender imbalance caused by the recently ended one-child policy."

From a BBC article about a 43-year-old woman who was left inside an elevator that workers shut down for maintenance. Her body was discovered when the elevator was opened a month later. Though the problem is obviously shutting down an elevator without checking to see if anyone is inside, there's a lot of talk about why no one was looking for her. Presumably, it would take days to die trapped in an elevator, quite a few if you had some water.

27 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

I've never been to China, so I ask this question in all sincerity: Don't Chinese elevators have emergency call phones?

All American elevators after a certain date (1970s sometime?) have emergency call phones so that anyone trapped in the elevator can reach building security or the fire department. I'm sure it's building code now.

Or, did she have a call phone, and, discovered, like so much in China, it wasn't working.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

What China needs is for Peng Liyuan to front a PR campaign: "Just say I do."

traditionalguy said...

Since she was a female, they could just call it a delayed abortion.

Forbidding people having female children, in effect, is a part of the War on Women. The Japs have also run into a serious not having children when we could have problem. We are more nuanced and call it the woman's right to chose.

Big Mike said...

Were the workers charged with manslaughter? Or were they not charged because she was "sheng nu"?

Henry said...

Roald Dahl has a wonderfully macabre story that uses this conceit. In Dahl's story the elevator is in a rich couple's mansion. The wife leaves for the airport without waiting for her husband. There's no question why she didn't go in and look for him.

MisterBuddwing said...

I've never been to China, so I ask this question in all sincerity: Don't Chinese elevators have emergency call phones?
All American elevators after a certain date (1970s sometime?) have emergency call phones so that anyone trapped in the elevator can reach building security or the fire department. I'm sure it's building code now.


Of course, getting trapped in an elevator is well-nigh impossible in this country:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/28/nyregion/the-big-city-aftermath-of-40-hours-in-an-elevator.html

(I once visited a house that boasted a private elevator, a concept I found both fascinating and terrifying. As if to anticipate my concerns, the elevator car had a telephone mounted atop the biggest rechargeable battery I'd ever seen.)

Terry said...

Wouldn't it be funny if, years from now, America was the home of many thousands of adopted Chinese girls, all unwittingly given by their haole parents the traditional Chinese name "Sheng Nu."

Crazy Jane said...

I know of a smart Chinese woman -- research scientist, US PhD, late 30s -- who is in this club. She is very attractive, but Chinese men tell her she isn't trying hard enough to look really pretty. When women this accomplished and worldly are not courted in a country that has too few marriageable women, you have to think that country has problems.

Bay Area Guy said...

There's a lot of tinkering with the gender balances, and this appears to be another unfortunate byproduct of said tinkering.

The Beach Boys used to celebrate "2 girls for every boy," but I guess that was the LA beaches in the 60s, not China 50 years later. Getting left out in life is very sad.

mccullough said...

It's as if hundreds of thousands of years of evolution can't be changed by academic theorizing or government policy.

buwaya said...

"Wouldn't it be funny if, years from now, America was the home of many thousands of adopted Chinese girls, all unwittingly given by their haole parents the traditional Chinese name "Sheng Nu."

The go-to fantasy/SF on the subject is "The Diamond Age", Neal Stephenson.

damikesc said...

They shut it down a MONTH for maintenance?

More of that government efficiency Progs like to go on about.

Outside of the Big Bang Theory, has ANYBODY seen an elevator in a non government building shut down for even an entire day?

I know of a smart Chinese woman -- research scientist, US PhD, late 30s -- who is in this club. She is very attractive, but Chinese men tell her she isn't trying hard enough to look really pretty. When women this accomplished and worldly are not courted in a country that has too few marriageable women, you have to think that country has problems.

Honestly, she's doing it wrong. There is a glut of men. She needs to recognize that she is in total control in the situation. They need her way more than she needs any one of them.

Roughcoat said...

American culture is screwed up. But Chinese culture is double-plus screwed up. I guess this is due in part to having more than 100 million people done to death in the course of a long war with Japan followed by the bloodiest civil war in human history followed by the mass extinctions otherwise known as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Add to that the second bloodiest civil war in history, the Taiping Rebellion of the mid-19th century in which upwards of 40 million perished, and you have the seeds for a lot of cultural trauma and damage to the national psyche. All that's gotta hurt. Gotta leave marks.

jr565 said...

In this country, its feminism that is encouraging women not to marry. And also encouraging men not to marry women.

If women actually have it as a goal to marry men, they probably should stop listening to feminists. But maybe they'd rather live at home with their cats.

n.n said...

The central mandate for a pro-choice policy was evidence of a minority psychopathy with progressive consequences.

The individual mandate for a pro-choice policy is evidence of a general psychopathy with progressive consequences.

Then there is Planned Parenthood and baby trials.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Thomas Freidman could not be reached for comment.

Really, though, these older unmarried childless Chinese women aren't the backbone of their society, so why should anyone care about them?

Big Mike said...

@Crazy Jane, a lot of men appreciate very intelligent women as wives (right, Meade?) but most men are too intimidated. I met my wife (who was then a grad student doing nuclear research on the local university's cyclotron) at a party for singles. She was one of the most attractive women in the room (I thought the most attractive) and a bunch of us single men found ourselves wandering over to talk to her and her friend. After she was coaxed into describing her major, I was the only one left talking to two very beautiful women. We were married a little over a year later.

Crazy Jane said...

@Big Mike, sounds as if you married well. I'm hoping that this still-young Chinese woman will wrap up her current research and return to the US. I think I could introduce her to some real men, perhaps not unlike yourself.

Todd Roberson said...

I'm lost. I thought the problem in China was too many men.

Big Mike said...

@Crazy Jane, she's put up with me over forty years.

Eric said...

I know of a smart Chinese woman -- research scientist, US PhD, late 30s -- who is in this club. She is very attractive, but Chinese men tell her she isn't trying hard enough to look really pretty. When women this accomplished and worldly are not courted in a country that has too few marriageable women, you have to think that country has problems.

A woman in her late 30s is not going to be seen as a good partner for marriage because she's reaching the end of her fertility. In general men don't place very much value in "accomplished and worldly", even in the US.

Eric said...

Trust me: older women have plenty of useful qualities and talents.

I imagine so. But you know what aren't "useful qualities and talents" in a wife? A PhD and a research scientist job.

Obviously it's not impossible for a woman in her late thirties (and older) to find a husband, but there are a lot of potential suitors who won't be interested because they want children.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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tim in vermont said...

Men instinctively want to take care of somebody. It has been bred into our genes by millions of years of sexual selection. It has been bred into us the way that fetching has been bred into certain breeds of dogs. These kinds of men, the kind that women needed for untold millennia, are no longer required by modern society which doesn't need them anymore. Why won't they just go away!?!

Kirk Parker said...

I'm with Eric here: when you are talking marriage, "late 30's" and "in total control of the situation [vis a vis potential suitors]" cannot possibly be used to describe the same woman with any degree of accuracy.

Not to go all evo-psych on you, it's just the reality.

Kirk Parker said...

Tim in VT,

"These kinds of men, the kind that women needed for untold millennia, are no longer required by modern society which doesn't need them anymore. Why won't they just go away!?!"

I fear we will soon see a resolution to this dilemma, in some pretty horrific ways.