http://www.sina.com.cn 2009年11月20日 10:57   《21世纪英文报》


  SINGLE men in possession of a good fortune, it's said, must be in want of a wife. Like wise, skilled, financially independent single women must need a husband. Unfortunately, in China, husbands are hard to come by for such women in their late 20s and early 30s。


  "When I date a man, I calculate his worth in points," said Hao Hongrui, a 27-year-old trade manager in Beijing. "A handsome face, a big house and a fancy car are important." But Hao explains, marriage can't be founded only on these qualities。


  She has met people who satisfy all her tangible needs, but there is no love between them. So, there's no real possibility of marriage。


  A China News Service report recently described the roughly half-million single women aged 25-50 living in Beijing as shengnü (leftover women), or "3S" women - single, seventies (most shengnü born in the 1970s) and stuck. Most have decent jobs and are financially independent. They expect a husband to be equally as or more successful than they are. They want to fall in love, but for some reason they can't。


  Wang Zhenyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' sociology institute, says many of these women remain single because they're looking for a partner who is even better than they are。


  "As such women grow older, their tolerance drops and they are less willing to compromise," said Wang. "Thus, the number of men who meet their requirements gradually grows smaller."


  According to a June survey by Sina.com, 37.5 percent of the nearly 5,000 netizens queried consider "looking for a perfect man" the main obstacle that keeps young women single。


  "I'm looking for someone I really admire. I hope he can be smart, humorous and devoted to his work," said Li Juan, a 30-year-old senior sales manager who says she earns over 20,000 yuan per month。


  Scholars attribute such expectations to tradition. "Traditional Chinese values emphasize a patriarchal social system," said Wang. "Men are supposed to perform better than woman in every area, except appearance."


  Rising power


  Experts say, however, that China's changing social landscape is rendering such traditions obsolete. According to a report from the State Council in 2007, women now account for nearly half (47 percent) of all university students。


  "Obviously, women are becoming a stronger power in Chinese society," said Zhang Minqiang, director of the Advanced Education Institute at South China Normal University。


  As the only child in their house, they've been preparing to shoulder responsibilities since childhood. The fierce competition and rapid pace of modern life strengthens this mindset, said Zhang. Yet it's precisely this more independent mindset that could be scaring some men away。


  "In their mind, men must have an apartment and a car before looking for a wife. But if I've already got those, why shouldn't I choose a younger woman?" said Situ Ziyi, a 29-year-old businessman in Shenzhen. "And if I date a woman who is more successful than me, others might look at me in a strange way."


  No compromise


  Even though their marriage prospects look gloomy, shengnü are sticking to their guns: They are reluctant to lower their standards。


  Xu Anqi, a marriage expert at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, says single women in their late 20s and early 30s are "rational, but sometimes utilitarian". "Women above 25 usually don't get married out of simple passion and impulse," she said. "They know clearly what they want from the relationship."


  Researcher Wang Zhenyu believes there's nothing wrong if a woman over 25 decides to remain single. Or rather, it's "a new trend in Chinese society"。


  Women should feel free to pursue happiness and live as they choose, instead of being confined by traditional marriage values, she said。


  "Chinese society is learning to respect their individual choices and become more tolerant," she added。


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