Here is a social issue that is spread across the world and is especially prevalent down here in Africa
SK-II, a skincare company owned by Procter and Gamble with its headquarters in Japan, is using a video called ‘Marriage Market Takeover’ to remove the stigma from unmarried women who are older than 25 in China. The Chinese even have a title for such women – ‘sheng nu’ which means ‘leftover woman.’ As part of corporate responsibility, companies may sometimes take up an issue and create awareness about it in an attempt to redirect social consciousness.
SK-II is attempting to #ChangeDestiny with this video and wants women to desist from allowing social pressures get to them, the company wants to empower the women who fall into this category and remind them that they are beautiful regardless of the fact that society sees them as ‘leftovers.’ However, this societal stigma is prevalent on the African continent as well, where women who are single past a certain age, are looked down on by their relatives even if she is academically brilliant and professionally successful or financially independent. It is always about ‘getting married before your beauty fades away.’
In the heat of pressuring young women into marriages of convenience, family members forget her gifts and talents and achievements as a human being, as if being a wife surpasses all those qualities. As one of the sheng-nu in the video suggests, ‘an unmarried woman is seen as incomplete.’
At age 31, Ghanaian born Abigail ran her own business and lived in her own apartment but she could not get a moment’s rest from her family because in their eyes, she had failed as a woman. Her mother, reportedly, said “what else is a woman here for if not for getting married and having kids before the age of 30?”
Marriage Market Takeover seeks to empower these women as it is only natural that others all over the world will feel a kinship to this video and see themselves as valuable no matter what anyone says regardless of whether or not they are married at a certain age. Who says men cannot be the leftovers though? In the video, several women talk about how they feel being cast in this light, they talk about the frustration and unhappiness as their parents often use certain rationalisations for why they are still single – not being appealing enough to attract the right man or being too stubborn or too picky.
Towards the end of the video, parents go to the marriage market (which is a culture in China for parents to publicly display their children’s profiles as a way of getting them spouses). But this time, the daughters put up their photos with reasons why they don’t want to get married for the sake of it as well as how they see themselves (strong, independent, successful, happy). This makes their parents proud of them, with one declaring; “My daughter is beautiful, leftover women should be proud.”
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