Pressure by relatives and parents to get married is an age-old story. But in China, unmarried women over the age of 25 are often given a label called "sheng nu," which translates to "leftover woman."
A Procter & Gamble skincare brand in China called SK-II is addressing this derogatory label in a 4-minute, documentary-style "Marriage Market Takeover" commercial and a campaign to #ChangeDestiny.
The video follows the stories of several women and their parents who explain what the term means to them and why they considered their daughters to be "leftover women."
In a heartbreaking moment, a daughter tries to fight back her tears when her mother attempts to explain why she is labeled a "leftover woman."
"She's not pretty ... that is why she is a leftover woman," the mother says. The father later adds, "If she can't find the one, it will be heart disease for me."
Another woman featured in the video explains that in Chinese culture respecting your parents is of utmost importance and not getting married is a big sign of disrespect.
Although the message of "leftover women" has also reportedly been used in some of China’s state-run media and even an organization claiming to be a proponent of women's rights. According to BBC News, the website of All-China Women’s Federation published articles using the term "leftover woman."
"These girls hope to further their education in order to increase their competitiveness. The tragedy is, they don't realize that as women age, they are worth less and less," reads an excerpt from an article titled, "Leftover Women Do Not Deserve Our Sympathy." The piece was reportedly posted on the website of the All-China Federation of Women in March 2011.
Census figures for China show that around one in five women between ages 25 and 29 are unmarried. And today a stark gender imbalance persists after China's abolishment of the one-child policy, which led many parents to have gender selective abortions.
In the commercial's final scene the parents of so-called "leftover women" meet to find potential suitors at the Shanghai Marriage Market.
But instead they are met with the glowing portraits of their daughters coupled with inspiring reasons they are single like, "I don't want to get married for the sake of getting married. I won't live happily that way," and, "I have a great career and there is another term called power woman."
And one woman gave a simple, but perfect reason.
"I'm happy being alone."
Photo Credit: SK-II/YouTube