“Leftover” Women in China

“In 2007, the Women’s Federation defined “leftover” women (sheng nu ) as unmarried women over the age of 27 and China’s Ministry of Education added the term to its official lexicon. “ (Fincher, L.H. 2014)

“Marriage Market Takeover” of  SK-ll’s “Change Destiny “

The SK-II 4-minute-video titled “Marriage Market Takeover” that is part of the brand’s worldwide ‘Change Destiny’ campaign. It’s not only referring to do something keep the skin destiny but also we need to change women’s life destiny.

In China, there is an official deadline for marriage which means unmarried women older than 27 are called Sheng Nv, Leftover Women. It is a highly controversial issue in China. At the same time, Chinese women will face huge pressure from society and family if they haven’t got married. 


Chairman Mao founded the People’s Republic in 1949. That’s a big revolution for Chinese people breaking the social class and gender norms. “Women hold up half the sky,” Chairman Mao said. It’s true that Chinese women experienced terrible pain for a long time. Women were almost seen as a group of property. After the revolution, it seems to be women has equal right as men. But, there is a gap between men and women still in China. Chinese women still don’t break through the glass ceiling of gender. Fortunately, women are trying to change that.


  • Reflection

Leftover Women, is a negative word for women and women were labeled by social pressure I think. Single women still face pressure from society and family.


It cause of the pressure comes from the parents who worry about their only one child will become a “Leftover Women”. In another word, unmarried means the end of family lineage. In addition,  respecting parents is the most important quality for Chinese people in the traditional culture. Chinese parents prefer to the name of love plan children future live.

Social public opinion seems to brainwash what is a happy life for women and young wife. Don’t try to aspire for your career no matter how successful in your career, you will feel so empty if you didn’t find a man in your life.

A happy woman needs to be a wife and to be a mother that a complete life for women. That’s a definition for a woman from Chinese society, I think. There’s a limit of the child-bearing age. That’s why Chinese parents fear their daughter unmarried till over the child-bearing age. On the other hand, men seem not were labeled “Leftover” on the subject of marriage.


As a single woman 28 years old. I am very thankful to my parents who have always encouraged me to live the life what I want to.


Offbeatchina.com. (2012). Infographic: Who are China’s Leftover Women, How are They Doing and Why are They Left? | Offbeat China. [online] Available at: http://offbeatchina.com/infographic-who-are-chinas-leftover-women-how-are-they-doing-and-why-are-they-left

Sk-ii.com. (2016). Change Destiny. [online] Available at: https://www.sk-ii.com/change-destiny.html

What’s on Weibo. (2016). Behind SK-II’s China’s “Change Destiny” Campaign. [online] Available at: http://www.whatsonweibo.com/behind-sk-ii-change-destiny-campaign/

YouTube. (2015). From ‘Iron Girls’ to ‘Leftovers’ – Independent Women in China. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QarOjjKfseo

YouTube. (2016). SK-II: Marriage Market Takeover (Please turn on subtitle). [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irfd74z52Cw


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