An upsetting moment from new documentary Leftover Women sees a 34-year-old lawyer told she’s ‘too old’ and ‘not beautiful’ enough to get married.
The scene comes from a new doc focusing on the lives of three young women from China, highlighting the pressures women face in their society to get married young.
There are 30 million more men than women living in China due to the country’s one child policy, and women are encouraged to marry at a young age. Expectations are so high that educated women over the age of 27 who have yet to find a husband are labelled sheng nu – translated as ‘leftover women’.
Lawyer Qiu Hua Mei is one of the women who features in the documentary, which begins with her entering the offices of a dating agency.
When asked what she looks for in a partner, she says that she is looking for an educated man who will help with housework.
She’s brutally rebuffed by the representative from the dating agency, who says: ‘Sorry if I’m being straightforward, but you’re not beautiful in the traditional sense. I don’t mean you’re not pretty, I mean you’re not a beauty. And also you are old.’
Qiu Hua Mei from new documentary Leftover Women (Picture: Metfilm)
Leftover Women explores the pressures Chinese women face (Picture: Metfilm)
She adds: ‘Please don’t think you’re in a good position. You might think you look young, but you’re fooling yourself. Even if you fall in love with someone today, it would take a year to get married and one more year to give birth. You’ll be an old mom.’
She then says Qiu has a ‘tough personality’ and must ‘soften herself up’ if she wants to find someone.
Qui also faces pressure from her family across the course of the documentary, who tells her happiness will not be ‘real’ unless she marries and has children.
Leftover Women is directed by Hilla Medalia and Shosh Shlam. It premiered at Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.
Leftover Women airs on Thursday at 9pm Sky Documentaries.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.