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Rising above girls day jokes

Updated: 2016-03-14 07:33
By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)

Take this TMall billboard tagline: "It's higher praise to say a woman is a better shopper than a better earner." The implication is, a woman appears smarter if she can use men's money for shopping rather than toiling for her own pay.

As a variation of a much more accepted-and colloquial-set phrase "A good husband would get you farther than a good job", it drums home the importance of finding a wealthy guy. I understand there have always been women who truly abide by this principle and I would not judge them. But I feel sad that women with career goals are turned into targets of running gags. Now that gold-diggers are made into the envy of young girls, shouldn't we reserve some respect for women who want to be seen as independently successful?

This brings us to "leftover women", a term that applies to many career women. It is couched in facetiousness and adds a tinge of self-deprecation when used by the target themselves. But it conveys society's unease with the rise of a growing demographic that refuses to be dictated to by Confucian dogma.

We used to put labels on women, e.g., one who stays at home and raises children is "traditional" and one who works till 9 pm is "modern". For me there is no right and wrong. If it's a choice from the heart, it's the right one-bringing up three kids or staying single or juggling domestic and professional duties. If she is not part of your family, you don't have the right to judge her. If she is, it should be a decision collectively made by the whole family.

On a recent trip to a park, my 10-year-old daughter noticed many public statues were female nudes. She asked why and I replied, "They were commissioned by men." However, if you watch recent soap operas, the parade of gorgeous young men being "objectified"-to borrow an academic word-has just started. That's women wielding their purchasing power.

Sometime in the future, sociologists will have a field day poring over this Girls Day's verbal buffoonery.

Contact the writer at raymondzhou@chinadaily.com.cn

For more stories by Raymond Zhou, click here

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