Title

Love in the time of “settling” : single women’s reactions to contemporary television dating shows in Hong Kong

Document Type

Presentation

Source Publication

Hong Kong Sociological Association 17th Annual Conference : Sociological Imagination in a Pluralist World

Publication Date

12-5-2015

Publisher

Hong Kong Sociological Association

Abstract

Despite women’s continued independence from marital and family responsibilities in Hong Kong, there continues to be a pervasive discourse that specifically targets women who remain unwed. Parts of this discourse challenge the modern romantic love ideal by taking a more pragmatic approach to “settling” for suitable marriage partners, and actively manipulating their presentation of self. Little is known, however, about how women are responding to this “new pragmatism”. Based on seven focus groups, conducted with 40 unmarried women, this paper examines women’s responses to the popular Bride Wannabee Dating (盛女愛作戰) television show in order to learn more about how women negotiate the negative stereotypes about remaining single. We show that many women reject the stereotypes presented of them in the show, but use the show to construct a counter-narrative of mate selection that still relies on traditional romantic ideas about spontaneity, authenticity, and the importance of “natural” dating situations. Using the Bride Wannabe show as focal point for discussing modern romance, we attempt to systematically examine unexplored beliefs about courtship in modern Hong Kong.

Recommended Citation

Chan, H. N. A. & Groves, J. M. (2015, December). Love in the time of “settling”: Single women’s reactions to contemporary television dating shows in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Sociological Association 17th Annual Conference: Sociological Imagination in a Pluralist World, Hong Kong.

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