In China, instead of being referred to as “single,” women who are over the age of 25 who are not married are called “leftover women.” These women experience extreme pressure from their families to settle down, being toted as disrespectful and disappointing if they choose to forgo marriage.
A moving video by skincare brand SK-II features ordinary Chinese women talking emotionally about being considered one of the “leftovers.” The video shows these women expressing how their independence is difficult to celebrate because it means that they are disappointing their parents. It fills every one of them with extreme guilt. The video then showcases a “marriage market” in Shanghai, where parents advertise their daughters to potential suitors through posters that display their income, job, height and whether or not they own a condo and a car.
However, in the same park, the video turns to a handful of women who have chosen to take a stand against the archaic tradition. Instead displaying posters for suitors, they took photos of themselves as single women looking powerful, content and strong. All of these photos were accompanied by personal messages to their parents. One of them reads, “I am happy being alone. I feel free.”
Watch how the parents react to these messages in SK-II’s beautiful video below.