Sexing the Greed, or How We’ve Gone from “Marrying Shenzhen” to “Can a Woman Get Married in Shenzhen?”

Surfing 天涯深圳, I came across a brief post by an author who claimed that her friends had urged her to leave the city because

“A woman can’t marry in Shenzhen. The most desperate are those who’ve been here form more than two years. There are more and more leftover women in Shenzhen and it’s a big problem (在深圳嫁不掉。其中一个在深圳待了两年的人更是发感慨,深圳剩女越来越多,是个大麻烦)”.

Clearly, this is a small blip in the much larger national discussion of “leftover women (剩女),” which (according to 百度百科) designates upwardly mobile, successful women who are still unmarried as they approach their 30th birthday. The over-30 crowd, it goes without saying, are desperate or resigning themselves to being single for the rest of their lives. The term as well as the debate are obviously misogynistic. More distressingly, however, like the phrase “naked marriage (裸婚)”, the expression “leftover woman” sexes the greed that has come to characterize Socialism with Chinese characteristics as if by fixing what’s wrong with women we could fix what’s wrong with society.

It’s a scary logic. Continue reading