Single Women Are Not Beautiful in Chinese’ Eyes?

What does it mean to be single if you are about to hit the age of 25 or above?Interpretation of this social phenomenon could be very differently across cultures. In China, the country insists on advocacy for confucianism that emphasizes the importance of “being a part of family” and “marriage”, “sheng nv (剩女)” is an unique terminology  first being introduced on social networks  and finally  popularized among the public, which refers to unmarried females over the age of 25. Unlike the Chinese leftover we’ve always craving for, “sheng nv” is embedded with relative negative association with being left alone.


SK-II is a known as a luxury Asian beauty line owned by world industry leader P&G. Recently it initiated its ad campaign in mainland China, which symbolized SK-II’s official landing in this giant consumer market. Even though SK-II has aroused thousands of female enthusiasts for its quality products, yet this is the first ever tailor-made massive campaign being made specifically for Chinese market. Interestingly, the theme of this deputy campaign is “sheng nv”, a buzz controversial topic aroused in domestic market. You can see the unique social phenomenon such as  “marriage park”, where unmarried men and women’s parents try to find suitable marriage partner for their children by exchanging these young peoples’ photo and basic information.


Shanghai Marriage Park, a lady is looking for the perfect partner for her child by browsing tons of A4 papers with “candidates” background information.

“Leftover women” in China are literally facing severe social pressure and judgements from the surroundings, as it implied a woman’s unsuccessful management of one’s romantic life. As being depicted in this campaign ad,  “incomplete” is the word this culture used to describe if women do not get married. Yet as the changing dynamic of work-life balance and women’s “Lean In” into the work place, this negative association being bundled with Chinese women is gradually erased. SK-II tries to illustrate how the perception of being “leftover” could be switched to the positive side. “Sheng nv” could be powerful, could be loving for life, and could be confident. Product placement in this ad was so implicit that you are merely able to see a SK-II logo, yet it punched perfectly to the spotlight of this social phenomenon and telling stories of real people to motivate Chinese women in the modern age to embrace this kind of beauty of being “left alone”.

*This blog is the blog with video I missed to post last week, substitutable with the “video to cover an event” blog post.


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