Young, successful with a high income and respectable job, that is what most people aim for in life, especially if you are brought up in an Asian family. If you look around Hong Kong today, we are surrounded by These Modern Day women – intelligent, career accomplished and independent.. These are the women I really admire. They redefine womanhood and what femininity is all about.
If you grew up in an Asian family, you would have probably heard these words before and often. Work hard, get a good degree (or simply get a degree, I think now it has been bumped up to a Master), be ladylike and get a husband before you turn 30. Sounds familiar? This song by Tanya Chua sums it up perfectly.
Redefining womanhood and femininity
In Hong Kong, there is a saying “中女”, meaning you are a woman in your 30s and still single. It always had a slight negative inclination to the term as in there is something “wrong” with these women. However has anyone ever asked why these girls choose to be a “中女”?
I was having lunch with a friend of mine the other day, a successful lawyer in her early 30s and we had a very interesting conversation about dating and choices we make in life. She reminds me of the daughter right at the end of the video where she is feminine but also tough and gritty. Where she makes her own rules and be whoever she wants to be.
Why are you still single?
I just haven’t met someone to be a couple with. Over the last few years, I have come across people whom I think could be “boyfriend material” but they are usually taken or didn’t appear to be interested. Some might say that I am too intimidating for anyone to show interest. The way I see it, if that person finds me intimidating, then is probably he too timid and I wouldn’t be interested in him anyway.
Have you even thought about “softening” yourself, so you seem less “intimating” to men?
Many of my friends have suggested that. I have thought about it and decided against it for various reasons. If I “appear” less “intimidating” so that interested men would make the approach, but continue to be the “intimidating” person that I am after a successful match, I don’t think that is being truthful. He would not be getting what he thought he would get, and he may feel cheated. It is not how I want my relationship to be.
If I were to change my personality so as to appear less “intimidating”, that brings about a whole lot of other questions. What actually causes the “intimidation”? What do I need to change? This varies from person to person. What is the degree of “intimidation”? How much do I need to change? Do I change to appear less intimidating to some but not all men? Where do I draw the line? That’s too much effort, with no certainty that I will end up being with someone.
What is the best part of being single and independent?
Freedom! The freedom of being able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, without having to consult anybody else.
Do you think marriage is that important?
Not really. If I do meet someone whom I want to start a family with (and that is a big IF – see answer to next question), then yes I would want to get married so that my children are legitimised (the law in this part of the world does not protect children from unmarried couples the same way they do for married couples).
If having kids is not part of the plan, then I don’t really see the need for a marriage. You don’t need a marriage certificate to love another person and treat him/her as your spouse. If you want to “lay a claim” on your partner, then just go buy a ring and put it on his/her finger.
The only other reason to be married to your partner, is the financial protection you would get in the event of a divorce or the spouse’s death. Since I am gainfully employed and intend to continue to be so, this wouldn’t be a reason for me to want to be married. Distribution of assets after the partner’s death can be easily dealt with in a will.
Is children a ‘must’ in your future?
I am indifferent as to whether I want children. I feel that having a child is a burden and a life-long liability in many aspects. I’ve seen friends of mine before and after they became parents. It is life-changing in the sense that you live your life around the children at all times. To bring up a child through to adulthood also costs a lot of money. At this moment, I don’t see any reason why I would sacrifice my freedom and incur that kind of liability. Of course, if I meet someone who really wants kids and I think that person is a “father material” (as opposed to just “husband material”) then yes, I’d be happy to have them.
Do you feel there is still a stereotype against independent single women?
Yes. People generally think a single woman must be “difficult to deal with” – that’s why she is still single.
What I find discomforting is in the corporate world, there is generally some form of biasness (conscious or unconscious) against women with children (people think that mothers will generally be less dedicated with their job because they have children) but they do not give much advantage to those who don’t have kids. Instead of thinking, “Oh, that’s a good candidate because she doesn’t have to juggle two demanding jobs”, people will think “Hmm, is there something wrong with this candidate?”. You can never win.
Food for thought
It is funny that in this day and age, if you are a man in the same position, you are perceived as an eligible bachelor. However if you are a woman you are perceived as a hard ass or simply intimidating. Why is that? How come a successful woman isn’t perceived as desirable as a successful men? Isn’t it time these perceptions should change? If you ask me, I think they are the modern day eligible bachelorettes. What are you thoughts?
Please leave us a comment and follow us, if you enjoyed this piece. If you are interested to read more about our view about womanhood and controversial women, you can check out our articles “I am going to call it womanhood” and “The Envoy“.
with love & quirks,
Iris & Chris xxx