In my procrastination efforts before attempting to begin any serious homework, I stumbled across this article on MSNBC.com. The headline is unfortunately neither shocking nor a new idea: “In China, Matchmaking Means Gold Digging.” To briefly summarize the article, it discusses a banquet held in Shanghai with the purpose of finding mates for wealthy men (men worth at least $1.4 million). The women in attendance who were looking for husbands were largely described as being bored and of showing little sign of affection or possible attraction. Obviously, there would be no matches made in heaven as a result of this awkward get together.
There are all kinds of reasons for getting married, but journalism society at large paint women as gold diggers who go for income over love and companionship. This article reports that most women working in larger Chinese cities make only about $300 to $450 a month, which is hardly enough to live on for a week or two. With this number in mind, it seems that these women strive to marry rich men as a method of survival and not so they can go on ridiculous shopping sprees or live off of hubby’s spoils.
Historically, low incomes for women were justified (and still are) by the assumption that a father, brother or husband is providing a larger and more stable income for his female counterpart. This renders women a secondary work force. In China particularly, baby boys are much more valued than baby daughters and women tend to have been raised by their families only out of duty, and are expected to pay back their parents for essentially giving birth to them as soon as they are able to begin to work. So many television shows and movies have roles where portraying women as gold diggers, with a one track mind for material goods and shopping. These shows are a great disservice to women for obvious reasons but affect men as well since they perpetuate this stereotype that if a woman does not love them, it must be because they don’t make enough money.
There is no quick easy fix for this imbalance—since it affects marriage, perceptions of women, and income—but there has to be a way to start to change the status quo, which seems to be a bit static. Sometimes when someone finds out I’m an English major, I get jokes about marrying rich in able to make a living. I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of women do not choose careers that will yield a lower pay because they plan on marrying rich, or that they don’t have high-powered jobs because they are lazy. There are so many more factors that go into this gold digger image, and we don’t need it perpetuated among individuals when the media is doing a fine job just by itself.