Why Dating Shows Are so Popular in China Nowadays?

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Why dating shows are so popular in China nowadays?

August 18th, 2012
Research Skill
Yinan Li

1.Introduction
In recently years, Chinese television has been picking up the trends of reality shows, especially dating shows. These fast emerging match making shows have captured millions of viewers and have become very popular in Chinese society. Although the shows contain lots of problems and bring up many controversial topics in our lives, nearly everyone in China is enthusiastically watching one or more of these weekly dating shows. The question is, why? Historic reasons, social reasons and commercial reasons have all contributed to the dating shows popularity.

2.Dating shows nowadays
Every Saturday and Sunday night on television, a jury of more or less than 20 single women question a few guys one by one after watching his introductory videos; then press a button to turn off the light if they think the guy is not “date-worthy”. After three rounds of interaction, if there are girls keeping the light on for the candidate and he likes one of them, he succeeds in the match. And if all twenty-four lights go off, the male loses. In turn, guys can first choose his favorite girl and if he survives the "trial", he will have a chance to pick a girl for a date. Most of the shows have the similar pattern. Sometimes situations would inverse, which is a jury of guys can judge a few women one by one. Basically it could be describe as a process of young men and women judging and choosing each other. If lucky, one could find himself or herself a date. Apart from the participants, there will be a humorous host to help organize; also, there will be two or three guest experts to give comments and advice to the participants.

3. Historic Reasons
The changing of Chinese women
For centuries, patriarchy was rooted deeply in Chinese society. Chinese women owned very limited choice in their lives, especially their marriages. In fact, in Han Dynasty, the Three Obediences and Four Virtues that set the standards of behavior for women. It required women to obey her father and other male family members. In traditional Chinese culture, females should be quiet, tender, compliant and conservative. Pillai (2009) said in her article Women in the Ancient Chinese Culture, “For almost two thousand years, the life of the Chinese woman was unbearable.” Therefore, they had almost no freedom in choosing husbands. As they have equal chances to receive higher education as men do, now urban Chinese women are becoming more open and self-confident. Faced with completely unfamiliar male candidates, knowing their performance will be shown on TV to millions of viewers, the ladies on stage are never afraid of speaking their opinions on life and marriage and make judgments on the male candidates. It seems that women are in charge of the game—they decide a man’s fate on the stage. All these facts seem to indicate that the Chinese society is going to enter an era of feminism. So compared to ancient China, women in modern China are offered a lot more opportunities to take positions and influence society in their own way.

The changing of Chinese dating pattern
Back in ancient China, a matchmaker was instrumental in settling a marriage. They provided communications and consulting astrogical charts to ensure the compatibility of the prospective bride and groom as well as the two families. So in ancient China, there was little opportunity for getting to know your future partner, since the heads of the bride and groom’s families would arrange marriages. Sometimes the couple's first meeting was on the day of their wedding, a situation most singles today would find outrageous. What is happening today is both men and women are giving more freedom when comes to choosing who to date and who to marry. One can decide his or her date based on various personal standards. By participating dating shows, participants can...
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