China and Inner Asia
Since 2007 the year in which the derogatory term of Sheng Nv (leftover woman, an urban professional single woman who are over 27) entered the official lexicon of China’s Ministry of Education, Chinese have been bombed by the representations of Sheng Nv by media. Both Chinese state (media sponsored by the government) and popular media construct a negative representation of leftover women, criticize them for remaining single, and persuade them to get married in order to avoid being remorseful when they grow old. While Chinese are bombed by the discourse of “leftover women”, Chinese dating websites take advantage of this discourse. For the purpose of attracting customers, these dating websites have used different strategies. These strategies evolve from pressuring “leftover women” to get married to crafting a more positive representation of “leftover women”. Drawing from the method of multimodal feminist critical discourse analysis, this essay analyzes commercials released by Shiji Jiayuan, Zhen Ai, and Bai He which are the three most popular dating websites in China. Through focusing on the changes in commercials (e.g. the changes of character and theme) over time, this essay studies the effects of Chinese women's efforts to fight against the gendered label of "leftover".