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Chinese Men and "Leftover Women": How do Chinese Men Position Themselves in Relation to the Concept of Labelling Women as "Leftover"?
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Chinese.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In recent years there has been a resurgence of gender inequality in China. Today, women are pressured to get married by the state and their social surroundings, as they told if they remain unmarried and have the "three highs"; high age, education and salary, they will become leftovers on the marriage market. Previous research on the concept of labelling women as "leftover" has 4

shown that labelling women as "leftover" can have several different negative impacts. In this thesis, both the theory of masculine hegemony and the theory of symbolic interaction have been used. The concept creates a hegemonic masculinity as it is a normative practice that promotes the subordination of women. However, as the concept is based on the notion that all Chinese men, or at least those of relevant social standing, would find the "three highs" undesirable, it is relevant to see how Chinese men in fact do position themselves in relation to the hegemonic masculinity on an individual level. In symbolic interaction, the concept of gender is created through social construction when people attach special meanings to the sex of a person, a process which is called "doing gender". Therefore symbolic interaction is used to see what special meaning Chinese men attach to women having the "three highs" and masculine hegemony to put their answers into a larger context. If it could be shown that Chinese men do not comply with the hegemonic masculinity, Chinese women would not have to feel obliged to adjust to the hegemonic masculinity and thereby making it easier for them to pursue higher education, high paying jobs and marrying at a later age. However, as this thesis is a qualitative study, and therefore a limited number of data subjects, the generalizability of the result should not be exaggerated. The interviews that were conducted for this thesis showed that the data subjects were familiar with the concept and that they considered it to be natural for there to be women China labelled as "leftover". Nevertheless, in relation to their own marital choices, the data subjects did not attach the negative meaning as set out by the hegemonic masculinity, a result which to some extent was confirmed by the data subjects’ experiences and other control questions. The result is interesting, and enforces Connell and MesserSchmidt’s theory, that even though a hegemonic masculinity is normative, not everyone has to comply with it. As the cornerstone of the concept is that Chinese men find women with the "three highs" undesirable, the result of the study shows that there is a need for the concept to be further examined and questioned.

Abstract [zh]

近年,性别不平等在中国又开始回潮。今天,中国女性在婚姻问题上受到来自社会的不小压力。如果这些女性尚未结婚而又具有?三高? ,即高龄、高学历和高薪,那她们将有可能成为婚姻上的剩女。以往研究表明,女性被打上?剩女? 的标签后,这?剩? 字会给她们带来若干负面影响。本文运用两个理论:「支配性男性气质」(hegemonic masculinity) 和「象征性互动」(symbolic interaction) 理论。「支配性男性气质」作为理论说明男性如何建立规范使妇女处于从属地位。此观念基于这样一个已有概念,即中国男性不喜欢?三高? 女性。本文主要讨论中国男人在「支配性男性气质」主导的社会里如何自我定位。根据「象征性互动」理论,性别的概念是经由社会建構创造的性意思,过程被称为「做性别」(doing gender) 。「象征性互动」理论因此被用来观察中国男性对?三高?女性存在的特殊想法。而「支配性男性气质」的理论则把他们的回答放到一个更大的范围内。如果我们能够证明中国男性并不完全赞同「支配性男性气质」的概念,那么中国女性就没有必要认为必须顺应「支配性男性气质」的一些规范,从而使这些女性更愿意接受高等教育,从事高收入工作和晚婚。需要指出的是,由于本论文是定性研究,样本数量有限,结果不一定具有普遍性。本文受访者均熟悉・剩女?这个观念,并且觉得这些・三高・女性很自然地被社会标签为?剩余?。但尽管如此,当谈及他们自己的婚姻选择时,这些受访者却并不在意「支配性男性气质」对女性标签的负面意义。此现象在一定程度上从受访者个人经历和我们附加的对照性问题上得到证实。这一结果相当有意思,根据康奈尔(Connell)和梅塞施密特(MesserSchmidt)的理论,即使「支配性男性气质」是一个常态,但其在统计学上并不一定最常见。由于已有的概念认为中国男性不喜欢?三高?女性,本研究结果显示,有必要对这一概念作进一步的探讨和分析。

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
China, Leftover women, Masculine hegemony, Symbolic interaction, Gender inequality.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:du-23239OAI: diva2:1033282
Available from: 2016-10-06 Created: 2016-10-06

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