International Prestige Skincare Brand SK-II are now premiering the film called Marriage Market to put a spotlight on the real life issue of Chinese women being pressured to get married before the age of 25. Numerous Chinese women have daringly chosen to speak on this controversial subject in recent Chinese history about the Sheng Nu label. This term literally refers to leftover woman i. e those over 25 who are not married. Reported by BBC, The New York Times and China Daily the term has been used to denounce women who wait for marriage regardless of their reason.
There are several Chinese cities where these marriage markets are a common sight where in parents post, compare and match personal ads listing various categories like height, weight, salary, values and personality of their daughters and sons. There are numerous cases where the women are unaware of the fact that their parents are listing them at a marriage market. What these markets basically symbolize is the gap and the difference in the views on marriage between two generations which eventually lead to the pressure put on by families on women. In the film, many interviewees describe their pain and how they are torn between matching up to their parents expectations to build a family and at the same time wanting and desiring to choose their own path in life.
With this campaign SK-II is willing and all set to take a positive approach in helping these strong women face the pressure. The film shows the marriage market set in Shanghais Peoples Park which is being taken over. A huge and beautiful installation was made with SK-IIs own marriage ads that were in fact not ads but messages from those hundreds of independent women, stating that they want to be in control of their own destiny. By doing this, what happened eventually was that a platform was created for these women from where they could voice their thoughts. On this platform, the women are shown to be happy, independent and confident; which is the opposite of the desperate image of Sheng Nus often being portrayed. Here the women tell the world how they see themselves and ask for a better and logical understanding. Hu Ting in the film says that- even if I am alone, I will be happy, confident and have a good life.
Sharing some of their most personal feelings requires the women to be strong, as they have experienced an increase in pressure from society, family and friends ever since the phrase/term Sheng Nu came into existence. For many especially the women from middle class background whose focus on education, career and independence makes them more inclined to wait and marry for love instead of necessity, is a great source of anxiety because of the social stigma. SK-II interviewed a lot of women who have shared stories of how happy and fulfilled they are but have failed to convince family and friends.