Nothing but Thirty: Analysis of new portrayal of women in Chinese TV series

A typical traditional Chinese woman should be tender, virtuous and family-centered. Their happiness should depend on whether they have a successful family, which means a devoted husband and a healthy child.They would be regarded as a failure if they didn't reach those standards even if they had a very successful business or had personality. Since the beginning of the development of Chinese TV series, the image of Chinese women has been changing with the world's mainstream portrayal of women.However, thanks to the increasing growth of per capita income in China, Chinese women's educational level and literacy rate have risen, their social status and value have thus grown steadily and continuously.--I have been very intrigued to learn about the treatment of women in Chinese society when they hit their late 20s and are single (yet by all other standards successful). I look forward to watching this show, hopefully we have it on our US streaming service in the not-so-distant future.Have you seen it? What were your thoughts?Posted by @iynna
I'm curious about it and would like to watch. I don't see the channel it will be on. Any details about that? I'm based in the US.
Thank you! BTW, I just sent you a LinkedIn invitation and would love to connect with you there.
You're welcome! I have not seen anything yet :)
@bookworm @KeshawnHughesHere's another link where watch it with English subs: find it interesting that though the official english title is 'Nothing but Thirty', the Mandarin name of the show is 三十而已, which actually translates to '(I am) Only Thirty'.In May - June 2020 a similar show, called Get Married or Not 谁说我结不了婚 ('Who says I can't get married') aired (you can watch it here've not watched either but while I was in my late teens / early 20s I watched other similar shows, as this has been a TV Trope for over a decade. I'd say this is a rather accurate depiction of what Chinese women are expected to be like! When I hit 30 and wasn't dating anyone my relatives would ask me questions. And even when I was seeing someone there would be a constant pressure to get married, have a family. No one generally asks about your work, whether you are successful or not. These are questions reserved for males. Interesting things: - CHINA: In China the term for women like this are 剩女, 'Women who are left on the self, left behind'. Every lunar new year when families gather, the unavoidable question you'll have to face as an chinese woman who is 'of age' would be 'Are you seeing anyone'? If the answer is no, then some meddlesome relatives may suggest to set you up. If the answer is yes then the questions that follow would be why isn't your other half here, what does he do, how much money does he make, so on. - A commonly used old chinese idiom to describe & praise a coupl as a match made in heaven is 郎才女貌, which translates to a talented man and a beautiful woman. From this you can see how societal expectations of a woman are not related to her work-related capability or talent... - in 2006 My Japanese studies professor shared with me that in Japan there is a metaphor for women in their late 20s who are still single - Christmas cakes, they're past their prime, go on discount and are left on the shelf after 25. In recent years they've updated this to new year cakes 😂- To this present day blind dates set up by parents/well-meaning relatives, known as Omiai(お見合い) in Japan and seon (선) in Korea are still happening, though less common than before... Elphas: how has your experience been like?
WOW Wenlin - I had ZERO idea so thank you so much for enlightening!
Thank you and I love these cultural insights! I have a PE client that has invested in Chinese startups and I enjoy learning about nuances of the culture through entertainment.I sent you a request to connect on LinkedIn. Thanks again!
I binge-watched it in like 3 days during my bedridden days in the summer as a result of a sport accident. As the setting of the series is in Shanghai, where I lived for 8 years before moving to Europe 3 years ago, I find it a nice collection of intriguing personalities, women and men, and the stories around them. It’s a realistic portrait of various perspectives and expectations surrounding women (and men), family, career, and society. I couldn’t help but name the real people I know who are just like those characters while watching the series. And I was a little bit like some of them too 😄 However, it’s definitely not a complete picture as we can imagine. As I always say “Shanghai is not China.” China is a big country with very long history, which comes with a lot of different ethnicities and cultures, and with the rapid growth in recent years, the gaps from one place to another can be really huge. It’s also like Emily in Paris - it gives nice snippets of the Parisian way of life but definitely there are a lot more. And like how New Yorkers are different than Californians... etc etcWomen from Shanghai are often stereotyped as powerful, controlling (especially with moneys), cunningly strategic, ambitious AND aggressive, etc. Which sound pretty negative. The cool thing about it, is that the Shanghaiese women I know don’t actually give a sh*t and usually just enjoy the power and play it to their advantage. We used to joke about Shanghai being a matriarchal modern society. They really taught me a lot in becoming more decisive and confident and owning up to life. Many of my native Shanghaiese / Chinese girlfriends did not like the series however, but we never had the chance to discuss yet 🤷🏻‍♀️ I guess it’s like how many Parisians disagreed with EiP. The key point is, we all learn in our journeys in becoming better and stronger persons, like the women protagonists did.
WOW! Thank you @chilliangie this is super insightful! As someone who grew up in Paris (Pan-African at heart with some French nuances haha), Emily in Paris was a terrible show - I did enjoy watching the scenery and the outfits (not hers, they were horrid but her French boss' ;) )Side note: I hope you are feeling better post accident :( Take care of yourself!
Sorry @iynna lol I actually enjoyed EiP very much! As an outsider with some American background and learning to survive in a French dominated environment, I can relate on many levels. However I also found it exaggerating on many fronts just to make it a funnier or more controversial / talked-about drama. Not a fan of Emily’s style either! I think its an exaggeration which will probably be ‘improved’ with more French sophistication to show her progression in season 2 ☺️ I love Paris and the sceneries are absolutely stunning. Missing the good old days when it was just a few hours away. Now it feels so far due to covid... And thank you I am recovering well! If anything the accident has been a tremendous learning experience and I am so grateful 🙏🏻
Amazing - when were you in Paris and what brought you there? :) So glad you are recovering well!
I’m actually based out of Geneva currently, for work. like most people I escape whenever there is a chance... well until covid of course. Paris is just a few hours away by train or an hour flying! I would love the chance to live there for a bit though😇
Amazing! I love growing up there but certainly happy to not work there haha! :)
Lol i dont know how i’ll be able to live there if not for work! And without speaking the language I also dont know how to find work there! So its all but a beautiful dream ❤️
You can pick up French for sure! But for now enjoy an easy TGV commute and all the croissants for me :) !