Skincare Brand Sheds Light On The Pressures Of Being Single In China

Being a 25-year-old unmarried woman in China means you're an old maid, to the surprise of the west

Being a Chinese woman is hard, Exhibit 294,980,309,686
Apr 07, 2016 at 12:30 PM ET

A commercial by skincare brand SK-II is shedding light on China’s perceptions of being a single woman for western audiences.

The four-minute ad opens by explaining how Chinese women who aren’t married by the age of 25 are considered “leftover women,” at which point their parents submit them to a “marriage market” in hopes of expediting the process of finding a match.

Predictably for the year 2016, many of these “leftover women” resent this characterization and either enjoy being single or want to marry out of affection for a particular person, something often referred to as “love.” But fighting societal pressures for these women is difficult, especially given that it’s seen as disrespectful to your parents to fight their wishes, a cardinal sin in Chinese culture.

For American and other western societies, this dynamic comes as a surprise. As the commercial has circulated, women of the west have taken to Reddit to discuss it. Aside from being moved by the ad’s empowering message — it ends with women telling their parents that expedited marriage is not what they want, and the parents accepting that — Americans are shocked to peer into a culture where being single after the early age of 25 qualifies you as an old maid.

Others drew on the stark contrast between the United States, where marrying before the age of 25 is often considered too young to get married.

Many Asian women also chimed in to describe their experience being pressured to get married at a very young age.

Still, some on Reddit felt like the end of the commercial, where parents accept their daughters’ wishes to not be pressured, gave a false sense that Chinese society was progressing in a way that it is not.