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In Chinese popular culture, these urban, unmarried women over a certain age — usually 27, but it varies by location — are given an unflattering nickname: , or "leftover women." According to 2010 census figures cited in a report published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 50% of unmarried women between the ages of 25 and 29 lived in cities, compared to 46% of unmarried men in the same age group.
And that divide widens dramatically with age; 54% of unmarried women between the ages of 40 and 45 lived in cities, compared to 21% of unmarried men in the same age range.
These men have their own unflattering nickname — And according to Fincher, that means ruling out a large subset of men with low regard for women and chauvinistic ideals — summed up as "straight men cancer" in Chinese social media slang.
One major "symptom" of "straight men cancer" is the notion that these women are single because they are holding out for a wealthy husband, according to Jem Yuan, a co-founder of S Club, a social group that organizes get togethers for single women."These men usually lack introspectiveness," Yuan said.
On a sweltering Saturday in late August, a steady stream of senior citizens paraded through Shanghai's People's Park.
Armed with colorful umbrellas and stools, they set up camp along the labyrinth of walkways, rarely looking up from their newspapers or knitting yarn.
Gu said that most of his business comes from parents who don't have time to sit around behind umbrellas every weekend.
Sometimes, parents post ads for their children without their knowledge.
Some of these brokers charge a premium for access to a phone directory-like notebook with the contact information of unmarried locals. Each parent pays a fee of 100 Yuan (about ) for a six-month posting on his board."If a courtship doesn't work out, they don't look for any shortcomings on their part and promptly blame it on the 'overly high standards' of women."But while many of these career-driven, so-called "leftover" women are content being single, their parents often think otherwise.Yiting Hu, a 26-year-old fashion publicist, has been unwillingly set up by her mother four times since moving home to Shanghai from New York City, where she graduated from fashion school.With the help of a family connection, her mother even posted Hu's personal information on the internal discussion board of a prestigious e-commerce company.Hu said she got more than 20 dating inquiries that evening, but nothing promising came of them."I had nothing in common with these men who work in IT," Hu told Refinery29.