“Spinsters” in China

Key Learning Point (Preview):
剩女 (shèngnǚ) n. spinsters

Today we take a look at the Chinese phrase “剩女 (shèngnǚ).” The term shows up every day in newspapers, TV shows and daily life. Can you guess its meaning? “剩 (shèng)” means to remain, or to be left and “女 (nǚ)” means female. When put together, it’s a term used to describe single girls above the average age for marriage in Chinese society.
In Chinese culture, people at the age of 25 are expected to marry; this is especially the case for young ladies. If a person remains single beyond this age, society will begin to urge them to marry, especially their parents. Now the number of “剩女 (shèngnǚ)” in China has grown somewhat rapidly and is still growing, edging its way into becoming a social norm.
Most of these single ladies are well-educated and can take home reasonably high incomes. Like most of the world, the ability to live comfortably on one’s own can extend the single lifestyle much later into life. Because of this, “剩女 (shèngnǚ)” has established a different age level for single woman; each level has a unique form of address.
Single girls from 25 to 28 years old are in the first and youngest category and are called “剩斗士 (shèng dòu shì)” meaning the remaining contenders. The term shares the same pronunciation with “圣斗士 (Shèngdòushì) Saint Seiya.”

Single girls from 28 to 32 years old are intermediate level and are called “必剩客 (bì shèng kè)” meaning certainly remaining contenders. The term shares the same pronunciation with “必胜客 (Bìshèngkè) Pizza Hut.”

Single girls above 32 years old are advanced level and are called “剩者为王 (shèng zhě wéi wáng)” meaning the survivor is the victor. The term shares the same pronunciation with “胜者为王 (shèng zhě wéi wáng) the victor is the king.”

Despite the specific terms sometimes used towards groups who go against traditional social norms, finding what makes you truly happy is more important. Let’s wish “剩女 (shèngnǚ)” and everyone else looking for happiness and good luck in their efforts.
Key Learning Point:
剩女 (shèngnǚ) n. spinsters


        Zěnme le, chóuméikǔliǎn de.
  Jen: 怎么   了,   愁眉苦脸     的。  

        What are you so grave about?  
         Ài, wǒ yǐjīng shì yí ge shèngnǚ le.
Nora: 哎,我已经  是  一个    剩女    了。  

         Oh, I have become one of the spinsters.  
        Pà shénme, nǐ yídìng huì zhǎodào shǔyú zìjǐ de xìngfú de.
  Jen: 怕  什么,  你 一定   会    找到       属于  自己的 幸福  的。

        It’s nothing. You will find the happiness for yourself surely.

2 thoughts on ““Spinsters” in China”

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