Hit Chinese reality show 'Sisters Who Make Waves' fails to live up to feminist goals
Published: Sep 07, 2020 05:53 PM

One scene of the reality show Sisters Who Make Waves Photo: IC

Although it ended on Friday, discussion is still raging about Chinese hit summer reality show Sisters Who Make Waves on social media platforms in China. Unfortunately, much of the conversation seems to be negative as netizens are complaining that the show did not live up to the audience expectations when it comes to tackling women's issues. 

During the last episode on Friday, a new "girl" band composed of seven members over the age of 30 was formed. The hashtag for the episode had been viewed 1.3 billion times on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Monday afternoon, but a major trend saw the audience complain that the show has done little to change biases concerning women's ages.

Television works in the form of reality shows and dramas about women's issues such as age bias have caught people's attention over the summer. In addition to Sisters Who Make Waves, which first aired on Mango TV on June 12, the TV drama Nothing but Thirty also started off as a hit but later lost public praise as the story in the drama unfolded. 

"Now these female-themed works just use feminism as marketing," Shanghai-based media outlet The Paper wrote.  

With the aim of proving women can still live terrific lives as they age, the producers of the show invited 30 female celebrities above the age of 30 to sing and dance on the show to display the charm of mature women. 

"I expected to see a show that was different from other reality shows that select young female idols, one that really showed how charming middle-aged women can be, but it gradually became the same as the others," one netizen commented on Chinese media review site Douban, where the show has a 7.4/10 from 98,000 reviews. 

"I do not want to watch a show that tries  to turn middle-aged women into the young."

"I do not oppose the singing and dancing on the show. What I really dislike is that they are singing and dancing like little girls, which hides the real allure that age has brought to these female celebrities," Xu Lu, a Beijing viewer, told the Global Times on Monday.

Xu added that she has grown tired of seeing programs that just turn into popularity contests, which causes them to lose features that make them stand apart. 

With more than 44.5 billion views and tens of millions of discussions on Sina Weibo, the show is undoubtedly a commercial success, but many viewers have stated that it lacks the deep thinking about female anxiety that they hoped to see.

"Many real problems women are anxious about are not mentioned in these shows, but what they do cover is presented from a male perspective. These types of works cannot solve female issues," one netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.
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