Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Let daughters be happy
Global Times | August 24, 2011 08:12
By Fan Yiying
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In China dating programs show no sign of slowing down. Among these shows, Mothers-in-law Meeting Sons-in-law appears to be the most unique as it boasts distinctive Shanghainese characteristics.

In this show, a male contestant chooses a girl based on a photo. The mothers of these girls are present on the show and the mothers interview these potential sons-in-law. There are altogether three rounds, and mothers can decide if they want the contestant to leave by turning off lights. If a contestant can last all three rounds he gets to decide if he wants to "hold hands" with the mother of the girl he chose.

After watching this show for a month, I noticed the most popular questions were: "Do you have an apartment?" "How much is your salary?" "How tall are you?" and "What's your education level?" To be honest, I am a little angry with the mothers and feel bad for these young men who are being tortured by 10 mothers at once. I also doubted whether these mothers really knew what type of men their daughters preferred as a few daughters said that they actually liked the men that their mothers eliminated.

It goes without saying that marriage requires a certain economic base, but money is not everything. If the husband prepares a house and car before getting married, the couple will have a lower sense of achievement afterwards.

Sadly, most mothers don't understand this. A mother of one of my best friends once dragged my friend to my home and complained tearfully in front of my mom. My friend was in a serious relationship with a guy who didn't have an apartment in Shanghai and even worse, was not Shanghainese. Although my mom told her it's best to respect daughter's wishes, she still made them break up. She's now very happy as my friend is dating a guy whose parents own four apartments. She has even set a date for the wedding. But since the new interpretation of China's Marriage Law has been issued, she has another thing to worry about - her daughter will not have any claim to the property.

The fact is, my friend doesn't really care about a house or money. But now, because of her mother she will marry a guy she doesn't really like. "My mom said money is the priority. Feelings can be cultivated over time," she told me with a reluctant smile.

I am not saying that all mothers-in-law in Shanghai are like this. A mother on the show told a contestant: "I chose you because I can see that you're a warm-hearted young man who will be a loving and responsible husband in the future. I don't care if you have a house or car. I believe true love can conquer everything."

Her attitude is highly appreciated. Young women need support from their mothers, however the young women should be the ones who make the final decision. The more the mothers interfere with their daughters' love lives, the more likely it is that the girls will end up unhappy.

I urge Shanghai's mothers to give their daughters more freedom and to be more tolerant.

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