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Western Misconceptions About Chinese Women

Feb 4, 2008
I have now lived in China for the better part of 5 years, and I'm constantly astounded by the broad misconceptions held by Westerners about China and Chinese Women. Here a few of the major ones:

1. All Chinese Are The Same.

We all know that Germans are not the same as Italians, French are not the same as the British, and Swedish are not the same as Spanish. In America, no one thinks that Californians are the same as New Yorkers, or Texans the same as Minnesotans, but for some reason Westerners all assume that all 1.3 billion Chinese think, act and are the same.

In truth there are 56 different specific cultures within China. The Han do make up more than 90% of the total population, but even within the Han culture there are endless varieties of ways of thinking and acting. Every Province, indeed every major city, has a distinct linguistic dialect and numerous cultural variations from all the others.

If you enter a relationship with a Chinese woman from Urumqi, Xinjiang, then you'd better be asking yourself "What does a woman from Urumqi think?", not "What does a Chinese woman think?", or you may be sadly unprepared to understand your new mate.

2. All Chinese Women Are The Same

Most cultures and most places in China are male dominated. In many locations it's not unusual at all to see the little Chinese girl (at least after the courting stage) trailing her husband by several feet, hauling suitcases and boxes that weigh more than her, while he strolls blithely along without a care in the world, ignoring her entirely. But this is not universal, and the exceptions can be surprising.

Shanghainese women generally seem to dominate, and Chinese men from other places love to deride Shanghai men for being whipped by their women. In fact, Shanghai men are probably the closest thing in China to us Westerners. There is a cultural minority in Yunnan Province in Western China, the Muo Suo, which is totally female dominated. The male can be kicked out of the home at anytime, and frequently is, with no rights whatsoever. The female can have as many males as she chooses, and can discard them at will.

And while China is generally still male dominated, that should not lead to the conclusion that Chinese women are all docile and subservient; far from it. If the male fulfils his role properly, and lives up to his obligations, he is the boss, but screw up and he can quickly find himself answering some hard and pointed questions from the "little woman".

3. All Chinese Women Want a Western Man

Nonsense! Many Chinese women are interested in Western men, and for many reasons. One is that we have been well trained by Western women to treat women well, and generally, we are more inclined to behave like Shanghainese men. If you were a woman, wouldn't you prefer that we carry the suitcases and heavy loads while you strolled casually ahead in a state of bliss, or even if we carry our share in fairness and equality? Another reason is that on average we are perceived to have more money and a greater ability to provide financial security, and financial security is important to Chinese women (just as it is to Western women).

However, I would guess that there are far more Chinese women who are not interested in Western men than are. But, even if only 20% are interested, that is roughly 125 million women, which is plenty to go around for Western men who are interested in them. And while not all Chinese women are "great partner material", for reasons to be revealed in a future article (for now you'll just have to trust me), I still like your chances of finding that great partner here in China among Chinese women far better than among Western women. But try to avoid glaring misconceptions while you're on your quest.
About the Author
John Abbot (nom de plume), married to a lovely Chinese Lady, lives in China. John knows and respects Chinese Women, Chinese People and Chinese Culture. For more good stuff on Chinese Women, International Relationships and Things Chinese go to http://www.ChinaLoveMatch.net and click on CLM eMagazine.
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