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This is fun to watch for about 30 seconds, even less if you imagine four more couples repeating it.
Pan Wang does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
I’ve studied how traditional Chinese marriage rituals have evolved in response to globalization.
In many ways, dating shows became a powerful way to facilitate these changes.
For generations, marriage was arranged by parents who followed the principle of “matching doors and windows,” which meant that people needed to marry those of similar social and economic standing.
Marriage was viewed as a contract between two households, and it was for the purpose of procreation, not love.
However, even in the wake of political change and globalization, many families still held the traditional Chinese belief that women, unlike men, belonged in the home, and that their parents had the final say over whom they could marry.
So when a TV show like “Television Red Bride” (), came from a 1944 speech by Mao Zedong.
Its emphasis on finding partners for men was a testament to China’s unbalanced sex ratio, caused by a combination of China’s One Child Policy and advances in ultrasound technology in the 1980s that allowed pregnant women to abort millions of baby girls. Male candidates introduced themselves and their family’s background, listed their criteria for a spouse and answered a few questions from the host.
Compared with Western cultures, China has traditionally had a vastly different value system towards marriages and family.
But over the past 30 years, these customs have been upended.