Stability Vs. Independence: Expectations Of Asian Women
By Hua Jing lI
At times I often ponder about a life in China. Having moved to England at the age of 5, I re-started my life in a different country and culture. As a result, my understanding and opinions are drastically different from my extended family members. In particular, my lifestyle choices. Within China, conceiving a family predominantly and culturally defines success. It is often unusual for females or males to remain single for life. Specifically, there is often pressure for the female to be married before the age 25. Since females are biologically restricted, 20s are often viewed to be right period for conceiving. Single females within their late 20 and over are labelled as leftover women. In other words, women who have not successful found a partner to start a family. In addition, suitable partners are predominantly introduced via family friends. This often leads to a heavy family involvement in their dating, marriage proposal, marriage and children. In many manners there are great positives to this system. I m sure that my own family would only introduce the best suited partners, their involvement would be a support network; providing financial relief, much needed contacts, and stability.
Therefore, I ponder, at times if I had not moved to Britain, I too would lead a similar life. At the age of 24 in China, I would be expected to be at least engaged with a set wedding date, as well as hopes to start a family, so that my parents would not struggle providing childcare. This in theory for a classical control freak and perfectionist, such as me, is a great system to abide to.
However, as I ponder this life, my hypothetical husband and family, I find myself slightly uncomfortable. Of course, stability and family support is much needed, hello to living at home. But, independence also plays an essential part of life. To be independent is to grow, to stand upon your own feet. This is the reason, which I would not participant in this system. Perhaps for many, it is their preference, which is fine. Yet, personally, as I am emotionally challenged by my job, my Masters’ application decision, my life in April, I can reflect upon my personal growth, my own independent decisions in which I can only hold responsibility for. And yes, I struggle and crave the stability and family support the life in China could entail but would I be living or rather would I merely existing, in accordance to my family’s decisions? Of course, our elders provide much needed wisdom and experience that act as protection but humans still hold limitations; there are cases in which parents learn from their own children.
In conclusion, today, as I experience moments of grief (with tears, of course), anger, and frustration at a time of instability, I understand what it feels to live, and to feel. My great friend is living example of this. In 6 months time, I will reflect and comprehend these as great moments of personal development and maturity. As much as I ponder the stability of life in China, I have no regrets.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’m a Fashion Blogger in England.