Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Do Men in China Change Diapers?

From Po:

Some funny news out of Shanghai.

The Shanghai-based Youth Daily polled white collar men aged 28 to 32, asking if they’d be willing to be stay-at-home husbands – provided their wife was willing and able to be the bread-winner. They asked this question in four cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and the results in all of the cities was pretty high, but in Shanghai a whopping 73% of these young men said “yes.”

A couple things about Shanghai. First, it’s got a rollicking business climate right now, to the point everyone I know in Hong Kong says “the real action’s in Shanghai.” So I think of Shanghai as a place to go and fast-track your career. It’s not a place you think of going because you want a balanced life. So that 73% of men here said they’re willing to be a house husband is shocking.

Most are probably frustrated with their jobs. And keep in mind that men in Shanghai already have a somewhat metrosexual reputation.

Nevertheless, it suggested how drastically values have changed in China. Or have they?

It was funny to watch the inevitable backlash. Several columnists weighed in, ridiculing Shanghai men, and then on the message boards, people took up this question – “would you consider your husband staying home?” Some of the men seemed open to it, but most of the women were totally unsupportive and said they’d never consider marrying a man who wanted to stay home. They couldn’t bear the idea. They wouldn’t accept “that kind of lifestyle.”

In other words, these men wanted to be New Dads, and everyone else in China laughed at them.

Last note: always keep in mind –73% of men said they’d be willing, but that didn’t mean any one of them was actually about to quit and do it.


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