See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: Feminist Questions ‘Date NGO Girls’ Charity Event

Recently, NPI, a nonprofit organization that supports the development of NGOs, together with a number of print and online media organizations hosted a marriage matchmaking charity event in Beijing. The organizers explained that the project, known as ‘Close to Charity, Date NGO Girls’, is meant to help young female NGO staffers to find their marriage match and to promote the idea of “new happiness”. The first dating event was on April 15, 2012.

However, prominent feminist blogger Lu Ping has questioned why charities and NGOs are spending their resources to promote a culture that reinforces gender, marriage and sexual stereotypes.

Below is the advertisement [zh] for the event:

Online marriage matchmaking event poster. Image from Weibo account

Online marriage matchmaking event poster. Image from Weibo account suesue2008

是的,这是一场相亲会。2012公益圈兄弟姐妹第一件欢天喜地的大事儿,就是争当“卖女孩的小火柴”,纷纷要为身边NGO女生找到伴侣。
这,又不仅仅是一场相亲会。各界青年才俊将会云集,在这里,您可以亲近公益,跨界交友,感受“新幸福主义”。
如果您是公益界的人士,请踊跃推荐和鼓动身边的NGO单身女生!
如果您是NGO的单身女孩,赶快摘下面纱勇敢自荐,2012都来啦!
如果您喜欢有爱心的女孩,还等什么?还不报名来“抢亲”?
同时,欢迎您出谋划策,提供创意;欢迎您提供资源,加盟合作。
4月中旬,我们将为您在茫茫人海中“情缘一线牵”。
谁来一起,与她擦亮生命中的火柴?缘来如此,敬请期待。

Yes, this is a marriage matchmaking event. A big and happy event in 2012 for brothers and sisters within the charity circle to compete to become a match for someone, sell their girls and help girls from NGOs find a mate. This is not only a marriage matchmaking event. Elites representing different sectors will gather here and build friendships across industry lines. Experience a new happiness.

If you are from within the charity circle, please recommend single girls from NGOs around you.

If you are a single girl from an NGO, take off your veil and sign yourself up for the function. 2012 has come.

If you like girls who have love in their hearts, don't wait. Sign up for the function and grab your bride.

You are welcome to give us suggestions and creative ideas. You are also welcome to provide resources and become our partners.

In mid-April, from among millions of people, we will find the one for you. Who will become the match that lights up her life? This is what we call karma, please be ready.

Currently, only 16 girls have been selected for the actual dating function. Their pictures and profiles [zh] are hosted on a special page on QQ's web platform.

Marriage matching is a very common phenomena in China, with marriage markets and “matchmaking corners”, as they are known locally, found very easily in major cities, such as in Shanghai. Most of the dating events are either arranged privately by family members or by commercial dating businesses. The question arising from this charity marriage matchmaking is, why are charities and NGOs getting involved in marriage matchmaking and what kind of gender relations they are perpetuating in the process?

Well-known Beijing-based feminist Lu Ping penned a long article [zh] in the China Development Brief, a publication that covers the nonprofit sector in China, criticizing such a charity:

公益组织从资金到人力、品牌、平台、公信的投入,应该划出公共利益的底线,否则就是滥用。为部分公益工作者的个人需求,而动用公益资源,是滥用行为。

A charity's resources, such as its manpower, platform, or credibility, should be used for projects in the public interest or else the spending could become abusive. The use of funds to satisfy the personal needs of some charity workers is thus abusive.

都是单身,若一部分“未婚”公益人需要相亲,也总有一部分丧偶、离婚的公益人需要吧,公益组织怎么就不关心他们的婚恋需求?排斥这些人的理由是什么?

在同一阶层中,离婚、丧偶、同性恋者更少找到伴侣的机会,既然是公益相亲,为何不首先满足他们?多数人优先、主流群体优先、更有机会者优先,这不是公益精神。

All the participants are single. When it comes to the need of marriage, divorcees and widowers also would have the same need. Why don't the organizers pay attention to their needs? What is the reason for excluding their participation in this event? The chance for divorcees, widowers and homosexuals to find their partners is far less than that of single girls. If this is charity matchmaking, why don't you satisfy the needs of these minorities? To give priority to the mainstream and dominant social groups is not consistent with the spirit of charity.

通过相亲找到配偶的例子很多,但共识的恐怕是,相亲本身不是浪漫爱,相亲要讲条件,至少在起点上必须是,条件匹配的人才应该坐到一起相。至于条件,身高、相貌、教育程度、收入、家庭背景……往往是基于等级的标准,以及刻板的性别期待。

Many people do find their marriage partners via matchmaking, but the understanding is that there is nothing romantic in it. It is all about the matching of social statuses, at least in the beginning. Only once the social backgrounds of the two people match, then comes the dating. The matching of profiles usually involves height, face, education, income, family background …. all these are markers of social class and gender stereotype.

中国的主流社会深患婚姻强迫症,最直接的表现是认为人人都要在所谓“适龄”结婚,不结婚就是不忠不孝不成年,针对单身妇女还特别发明了“剩女”一词,暗示没男人要就是没价值。相对间接的表现,则是赞美婚姻生活,宣扬浪漫爱,仿佛单身就不是“幸福”和享受生活。然而正有越来越多的人在争取和维护单身的自由,从家庭暴力到男性性特权到财产和责任的不平等,则正在让越来越多的人特别是妇女认识到,在这个性别不平等的社会里,浪漫爱之承诺的兑现往往要靠幸运,婚姻不是什么幸福的终点站。

Mainstream Chinese society is suffering from a pathology of marriage coercion. It pressures everyone to marry at the appropriate age. Or else the person is immature and not loyal to his or her family and country. Recently, society introduced the term “residue woman” to trash single women who are deemed not wanted by men. The society praises married life and propagates romantic love as if being single cannot lead to a happy and enjoyable life. However, more and more people are defending the single life. More and more women are coming to realize that in a gender unequal society, what they face in a marriage is domestic violence, unequal claim to property, etc. One's luck in love and marriage is not the end game for happiness.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site