China’s ‘Leftover’ Women Phenomenon: Media Portrayal and ‘Leftover’ Voices

Merriman, Mazie (2015) China’s ‘Leftover’ Women Phenomenon: Media Portrayal and ‘Leftover’ Voices. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Joshua Howard from History, University of Mississippi.


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China’s “shengnü” – or “leftover women” – are a group of highly-educated, single, urban women that the Chinese government has targeted in a scare-mongering media campaign intent on pushing these women to give up their careers or education in order to marry and produce children for the “betterment” of the state. Since 2007, this group of women has faced highly negative articles and images published both by the All China Women’s Federation and other news outlets encouraging shengnü to “fix” their problems and marry. These highly-educated, unmarried women are seen as violators of traditional gen-der norms and roles, and the “leftover women phenomenon” campaign is an attempt to reinforce these gender norms. This thesis project examines changes in Chinese marriage throughout history in an attempt to show the inevitability of highly-educated, single women in Chinese society, coupled with an analysis of media articles and images, which is contrasted by an analysis of blogs written by the shengnü themselves.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Merriman, Mazie
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. in International Studies and Chinese
Thesis Advisor: Joshua Howard
Thesis Advisor's Department: History
Institution: University of Mississippi
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Depositing User: Mazie Merriman
Date Deposited: 12 May 2015 18:09
Last Modified: 12 May 2015 18:09

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