A new dating show is sparking huge controversy online after inviting bachelors’ parents to judge if a candidate is a good match for their son, leaving the audience questioning whether Chinese men are overindulged and their families meddle too much in marriage.
After reading about the posts on wechat regarding this show. I decided that I had to watch it. In China, romance is often sacrificed to practicality; dating has largely become a commercial transaction. In Shanghai’s marriage market, Chinese parents get together in park to introduce their children to one another. Singles’ clubs set people up according to requirements — height, income, property. And now this is the first dating show in China actually brings the parents into the “perfect wife/husband” selection. It is just so much fun to watch…..
Take a look at the trailer:
Here is what media and netizen says:
The first episode of Chinese-style Blind Date premiered on Shanghai Dragon Television Saturday. It involves five single men, who are required to stay in a separated room offstage while watching a monitor as their parents interact with the single women. During the process, family members can press the light in front of them if they are satisfied with the candidates.
When asked to describe their ideal daughter-in-law, parents almost unanimously agreed that she should be hardworking, intelligent, pretty and caring. Some of the standards seemed prejudiced. For example, the mother of a 23-year-old Tianjin native Zhao Haoran insisted that her son should not marry someone with cold hands, alleging that such a woman may give birth to unhealthy babies. Only one family said their son’s preference would come first.
The show culminated when a contestant, Lin Jiali, stepped onto the stage with her homemade soup, seemingly winning the hearts of all the family members and the bachelors. However their attitude changed dramatically when Lin revealed that she is, 40 years old, divorced and has a son. Only Zhao Haoran expressed interest in Lin but the two failed to “hold hands”, under the strong objection of Zhao’s parents, who said that they would like two to three grandchildren, implying Lin is too old for that.
The show immediately provoked hot debate among viewers. Some netizens condemned it, saying it objectifies women and is a step backwards to the arranged marriage based on utilitarianism in feudalistic times.
“It is not right to bring a women on stage to be judged by others,” one Weibo user said. “I am furious when some parents asked disrespectful and intruding questions to the candidates, such as their age and if they had any plastic surgeries.”
“They are looking for a combination of breeding machine, a nanny and a tool for money. I didn’t feel any sincerity,” commented another.
Others said that parents spoil their sons too much and have raised them to be “mama’s boys”, ” giant babies” and men with “straight-man cancer”, a term referring to some men’s clinging on to traditional Chinese norms in relationships, such as suppressing women’s rights, devaluing female labor and branding educated women as unattractive.
“I am disappointed at the behavior of the men, who have zero respect for women,” said one Weibo user, referring to the male participants’ self-centered and blunt comments on the bachelorettes.
“The giant babies should better be left with their parents for life.”
There are also viewers who believe the show to some extent reflects the reality of contemporary Chinese society.
“This is how marriage works in many Chinese families. There is no need to disguise it”, a viewer said.
Liu Yuan, producer of the show, said in a Guangzhou Daily report that rather than an old-style, parent-arranged blind date, the show provides a channel for young people to communicate with the elder generation. “The parents and the matchmaking host are just providing suggestions and cannot make the final decision,” Liu said.
When asked whether this is unfair for the women, Liu said the show will turn around in the next episode by asking women’s families to select men.
Take a look at the full program – Chinese only: