Are You the One? China’s TV Dating Shows and the Shengnü’s Predicament
Feminist Media Studies
This study looks into TV dating shows in post-millennial China. These widespread shows, exemplified by Fei Cheng Wu Rao (translated, by both local and global media, as If You Are the One), open up an ongoing social forum, which, to varying extents, enables self-articulations and renegotiations of class and gender identities and gives voice to selected female participants of the media. Through the lens of critical discourse analysis, the paper focuses on analyzing the stage arrangements and hidden rules of Fei Cheng Wu Rao, female participants' self-introductions, both male and female participants' depictions of their “ideal” spouse, and the remarks of the host and the two expert commentators. The study argues that these dating shows play upon the predicament of Chinese single women, especially those labeled as “sheng nü” (“leftover women”), who strive for upward social mobility, yet are constrained within the new gender mandate of a market economy. Stigmatizing single womanhood, the dating shows also grant a glimpse of the varied ways the media and women participants play a complicit role in reducing women's potential to resist new forms of male privilege in post-socialist China.
TV dating shows, Chinese sheng nü (leftover women), single womanhood, post-socialist femininity, post-socialist masculinity, critical discourse analysis
Wei Luo and Zhen Sun (2015).
Are You the One? China’s TV Dating Shows and the Shengnü’s Predicament. Feminist Media Studies.15 (2), 239-256.