Leftover women are a unique segment of China’s evolving cultural scene and developing consumer market. Besides being single, leftover women are usually also “three-high women” – highly educated, highly paid and highly independent. They are troopers and winners in life, but as a recent article in Foreign Policy pointed out, they are also desperate to find Mr. Right.
The age threshold of being a leftover woman keeps lowering in recent years. It used to 30 years old, now 25. But sometimes you will find girls around their early 20s claiming that they are leftover women. There are also different hierarchies of leftover women. Single women between 25 and 27 are the “fighters” (剩斗士, sheng dou shi), meaning that they still have the courage and energy to keep looking for true love. Leftover women between 28 and 31 are the “doomed to be left” (必剩客, bi sheng ke, pronounced the same as Pizzahut in China), meaning that their chances of being ever married is very low and they are oftentimes too busy working to land a husband. Those between 32 and 36 are “leftover fighting Buddha” (斗战剩佛), meaning that they survive the cruel professional world but still remain single. Women of 36 and older are “leftover goddess” (齐天大剩). (Click here to check out a music video featuring leftover women singing out their heart).
Earlier March, Jiayuan.com, China’s leading online dating website, released its first 2012 research report, “Confession of a leftover woman”. They surveyed and interviewed a total of 85498 people in China, 49% of which are single women born in the 80s and 70s with at least a college degree and a fairly-good income. The report opens a door to the minds of China’s leftover women and helps to answer questions like who they are, how they are doing and why they are left.