Ad in China Fights Back Against Insane Pressure to Marry

Friends put up $6K ad in subway telling Mom and Dad not to worry if they're single
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2016 1:33 PM CST
Ad in China Fights Back Against Insane Pressure to Marry
Chinese brides and grooms kiss during a group wedding ceremony in southern South Korea on Oct. 26, 2015.   (Jo Jong-ho/Yonhap via AP)

While the Panthers and Broncos face off at the Super Bowl this Sunday, young people in China heading home for the Lunar New Year have their own pressure to face: the badgering of well-meaning family members who want them to get married. Marriage and producing kids hold a lot of weight in the Chinese culture: Some singles even "rent" fake mates to go home with them for the holidays to appease probing relatives, the New York Times reports. But the term "bihun" ("must marry!") has now become somewhat of a parody of itself, and one group of friends decided to take a rather public stand against wedded life by plastering a nearly $6,000 ad in a busy Beijing subway station, where it will stay up for a month. The ad looks to be the efforts of the Anti-Forced Marriage Alliance (based on the graphics and info found on the Women of China website), which looks to have crowdfunded some of the money for the ad.

The poster, which shows a smiling cartoon woman and advertises a singles hotline at the bottom, reads: "Dear Daddy, Mommy, don't worry. The world is so big. There are so many different ways for people to live. Singletons can also be very happy." The group—made up of students, artists, and civil workers—originally had a stronger message and graphic: a slightly angrier-looking cartoon woman making an "X" to symbolize "no," with "bihun" crossed out on her T-shirt and text that read "Must marry, Back off! Scram! I'm a member of the non-marrying tribe." But the ad agency that made the poster for the friends, together with the city's industry and commerce bureau, wouldn't approve the original, so the group softened it. "[We] just thought, the pressure is too much," a woman who'd only go by "Coby" told the Times. "It's at its worst at this time. So we thought we'd put up an ad in the subway where a lot of people would see it." (Maybe some found true love in this crowded Guangzhou station?)

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