nüqiangren, chiruanfan


nüqiangren, chiruanfan
(career women, kept husbands)
In contemporary China, there has been a move towards granting women greater independence and status, so that they are no longer entirely reliant upon men for their position in society or for financial security. Women, indeed, are to be found employed in virtually every trade and profession, from factory and construction workers to politics, local and national government, business, the armed forces and the police. The phrase nüqiangren (strong women, career women) has been coined to describe those women who have achieved success in the traditionally male-dominated professions such as politics, business, science and technology.
The Vice Premier Minister Ms Wu Yi is highly respected in China as a proud representative of the modern class of nüqiangren. Chiruanfan (eater of soft rice), on the other hand, is a phrase used with contempt to describe ‘kept husbands’—often men who are simply in a lower position, or who earn a lower salary than their wives. The general contempt in which such men are regarded has itself created a new kind of social problem in China. Women with high degrees, successful careers or well-paying jobs can often find it difficult to find a husband, especially in big cities, because a prospective husband knows that he will be held in contempt by others because his status or position would be comparatively lower than that of such a wife. In lists of the kind of woman to avoid when seeking a marriage partner, therefore, the nüqiangren often comes out at the top.
LILY CHEN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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