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Dudes’ Republic of China

The inhabitants of Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit seem to have developed a sudden crush on the authoritarian Chinese government. Why? Well, it seems that the lovable tyrants have decided to crack down on evil golddigger bitches. According to an article in The Telegraph, linked to in the subreddit,

In a bid to temper the rising expectations of Chinese women, China’s Supreme Court has now ruled that from now on, the person who buys the family home, or the parents who advance them the money, will get to keep it after divorce.

“Hopefully this will help educate younger people, especially younger women, to be more independent, and to think of marriage in the right way rather than worshipping money so much,” said Hu Jiachu, a lawyer in Hunan province.

The ruling should also help relieve some of the burden on young Chinese men, many of whom fret about the difficulty of buying even a small apartment.

Never mind that the lopsided demographics in China today — where young men greatly outnumber young women, making it harder for young men to find wives  — are not the result of excess feminism, but the result of a toxic mixture of cultural misogyny and the authoritarian regime’s “one child” program. As William Saletan explains the logic in Slate:

Girls are culturally and economically devalued; the government uses powerful financial levers to prevent you from having another child; therefore, to make sure you can have a boy, you abort the girl you’re carrying.

The result? 16 million “missing girls” in China. Ironically, the skewed ratio of men to women gives young women considerable leverage in chosing whom to marry – and that’s what the Men’s Rightser’s seem to see as the real injustice here.

As Evil Pundit wrote, evidently speaking for many (given the numerous upvotes he got):

Wow. I’ve always disliked the authoritarian Chinese government, but for once, it’s done something good.

I may need to reconsider my attitude.

IncrediblyFatMan added:

China wants to become the next superpower and world leader. They aren’t going to do it by allowing the kinds of social decay that rot away at the competing nations.

Revorob joked:

If they brought that in over here, most women in Australia would be living on the street.

“Or,” Fondueguy quipped in response, “they could learn to work.”

At the moment, all the comments in the thread praising the Chinese government for this move (and there are many more)  have net upvotes; the only comment in the negative? One suggesting that the Telegraph isn’t exactly a reliable source.

Speaking of which, here’s a more balanced look at the issue on China.org.cn that examines some of the consequences of the new ruling for Chinese women.

Let’s look at some of those. According to one Beijing lawyer quoted in the piece:

“[H]ousewives, especially those in the rural areas who have no job and are responsible for taking care of their families, will be affected most by this new change,” she said. “If their husbands want a divorce, they are likely to be kicked out of the house with nothing.”

Luo Huilan, a professor of women’s studies at China Women’s University in Beijing, agreed.

In rural areas, she said, men have the final say in family matters. All essential family assets, such as home, car and bank deposits, are registered in the men’s names, and women fill the roles of only wife, mother and farmworker.

“Their labor, though substantial, hardly gets recognition. Without a good education, they have to rely heavily on their husbands,” Luo said. “In case of divorce, a woman is driven out of her husband’s life, home and family, and finds herself an alien even in her parents’ home. No wonder the new interpretation of the Marriage Law has aroused concern among women.”

And no wonder it’s drawn cheers on the Men’s Rights subreddit.

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Fatman
Fatman
10 years ago

I wish to disavow any connection with the FatMan quoted above.

Bostonian
Bostonian
10 years ago

I don’t blame you!

KathleenB
KathleenB
10 years ago

MRAs: Because everything bad in the world is women’s fault. Somehow.

ozymandias42
10 years ago

And yet another MRA problem that could be solved by MOAR FEMINISM.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
10 years ago

Truer words, ozymandias.

Valerie
Valerie
10 years ago

The Telegraph is not a reliable source, so of course that got down voted there. They don’t believe in reliable sources, only their own crazy tube of truth paste.

Jill the Spinster
Jill the Spinster
10 years ago

If feminism was created by communists, why isn’t China a feminist society?

sloejenphys
sloejenphys
10 years ago

In China usually the groom’s family buys the house while the bride’s family furnishes the place. I wonder if the women get to keep their furnishings after the divorce? Also, the women getting the house in a divorce was thought to be a deterrent for men from having (and flaunting) mistresses. Now if the husband takes a mistress and the wife leaves him for cheating on her he can get the house.

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

Here is a brilliant idea…don’t get married. Then these laws will not affect you. You don’t need the government to “sanction” a romantic relationship to love someone. Marriage breeds co-dependency for men and women. We should be promoting self-sufficiency for everyone.

More people who don’t want to get married. I see that as progress.

nedbeaumontjr
10 years ago

Just remember: it’s the feminists who want only male children. Or something.

redlocker
10 years ago

“Here is a brilliant idea…don’t get married. Then these laws will not affect you. You don’t need the government to “sanction” a romantic relationship to love someone. Marriage breeds co-dependency for men and women. We should be promoting self-sufficiency for everyone.

More people who don’t want to get married. I see that as progress.”

What if people truly love each other and want to get married? Also, people manage to be sufficiently independent even while they’re married (various commentors are happily married and still think for themselves for one).

Marriage does not equal being a mindless drone for the other. The only people who put forth that idea are cranky traditionalists and MRAs (or are those two the same thing? :D)

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

@redlocker: Who says you need marriage to love and devote yourself to someone? Marriage is nothing more than a legal contract between you, your partner and the government. You are free to love someone, have children, have a family, etc… all without the state “morally approving” it. Marriage basically turns love into a business deal. Which is an absolutely absurd idea and concept.

If you are married, more power to you. It is none of my business to say what you can and can’t do. Personally, I am anti-marriage for anyone (straight, bi, gay, trans, etc…). I see it as a pointless institution that binds people together thus limiting their freedom. But since it is legal, everyone should be allowed to get married.

There is a difference between being a mindless drone and co-dependency. You can be intelligent and still be forced to rely on someone.

ozymandias42
10 years ago

Marriage gets a couple over a thousand legal rights that the couple otherwise would not have. You say marriage doesn’t matter… until you need power of attorney, visitation rights in the hospital, the right to your partner’s Social Security or pension…

magdelyn
10 years ago

Any country with a lopsided population of men is probably a dangerous place in the long run for the government. The present pseudo communist government is just the latest dynasty.

Molly Ren
10 years ago

Brandon, I don’t know anything about Chinese marriage laws except the bit mentioned here, but in the US, being married often allows you to share, say, insurance benefits while two people in love who simply cohabitated wouldn’t be able to. Last I checked, it also affected hospital visitation rights: two gay men in love might not be able to visit each other in the hospital.

tl;dr: “Don’t get married” isn’t going to solve all the problems with the institution of marriage.

Molly Ren
10 years ago

Also, Brandon, do you think “being in love” and “being partners” is mutually exclusive?

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

@ozymandias42: 1) you can make anyone your power of attorney. 2) visitation rights should be changed. People should be able to record in their medical records who they want to see in the hospital regardless of marriage. (but you are correct that it is a benefit of marriage…a policy of discrimination though) and 3) If you are self-sufficient, (which is the goal I think people should try and achieve) then you wouldn’t need their pension because you would have your own.

@Molly Ren: You can name anyone your “insurance beneficiary”. So I can leave all my stuff to my girlfriend if I wanted to (and she would be entitled to it since I signed the insurance papers).

Again, the better fight isn’t fighting for gay marriage, it’s fighting to name loved ones as “approved to see me in the hospital”. We need to decouple visitation rights and marriage completely. If I want to see someone that isn’t immediate family, I shouldn’t be told “no” by hospital staff.

Let’s make all the benefits of marriage available to the non-married. This way everyone will be treated equally and people don’t have to fight Christians over gay marriage. I see my idea much easier to achieve and would most likely have far more public support.

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

@Molly: I see people entering into a bunch loads of relationships. Some like monogamy, some like casual flings, some are romantics, etc,,, I think they can be mutually exclusive and mutually inclusive depending on the relationship one has.

VoiP
VoiP
10 years ago

1) you can make anyone your power of attorney….You can name anyone your “insurance beneficiary”. So I can leave all my stuff to my girlfriend if I wanted to (and she would be entitled to it since I signed the insurance papers).

Until the day something like this happens.

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

@VoiP: Marriage = legal contract. Power of Attorney = legal contract. Insurance claims = legal contract.

If they can do it to insurance beneficiaries…they can do it to married couples.

Molly Ren
10 years ago

Brandon wrote, “3) If you are self-sufficient, (which is the goal I think people should try and achieve) then you wouldn’t need their pension because you would have your own…”

Unless you get sick while married and can’t work, or have a job that doesn’t give you benefits, or decide to be a stay-at-home parent, or…

karak
karak
10 years ago

Brandon:

The Communist Party in China, especially in the rural areas, will punish your for co-habitation. Harshly. That’s the GOVERNMENT ITSELF coming forth to punish you; not to mention most people can’t possible survive without a duel income to support themselves (so being single and rockin’ it in their own pad is impossible).

Just… learn2china.

Molly Ren
10 years ago

Meh, Brandon, maybe we’re just talking past each other? We’re poking you because in the first comment you made it wasn’t clear if you understood that there were certain legal rights that came into effect upon marriage that single-but-living-together people wouldn’t have. Now it’s clearer that you do, but for a while there it definitely wasn’t clear whether you thought these issues didn’t matter or whether you thought there needed to be changes made.

I’d still like to see you talk more about “Marriage breeds co-dependency for men and women. We should be promoting self-sufficiency for everyone.” I wasn’t able to understand your answer.

katz
10 years ago

people don’t have to fight fundamentalist Christians over gay marriage

FTFY. Don’t lump me with them, thanks.

ozymandias42
10 years ago

I am not entirely sure why people can’t just get a bunch of contracts bundled up in one institution called “marriage” instead of having to fill out all the contracts individually. What if you forget one? What if you can’t afford a lawyer?

Also, I was completely America-centric in my last comment, which is kind of inexcusable, given we were talking about China. 🙂

Ami Angelwings
10 years ago

The thing is, and what the ppl on the reddit miss is that the culture isn’t like ours, and this rly isn’t about protecting “men’s” rights as much as “parents of the groom (or whoever bought the house)” and for them not to lose their “investment” : It’s not rly a situation that’s just about golddigging wives taking from the hard-working husband (and as somebody else pointed out, what happens to the furnishings which are bought by the family of the bride?), it’s about the families, and the reason the groom buys the house, is b/c it’s tradition, and the family of the bride buys the stuff inside the house. If the MRAs want to go w/ the idea that men make all the money, then the father and grandfathers of the bride (or whoever didn’t buy the house) are actually the ones who might be losing out, since they spent a lot of money too. :

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
10 years ago

Good point, Ami. And won’t that just make families more reluctant to have girls, now that they’re even more of a financial risk/loss when they grow up? Dumbass move on multiple levels, China.

Pam
Pam
10 years ago

Ironically, the skewed ration of men to women gives young women considerable leverage in chosing whom to marry – and that’s what the Men’s Rightser’s seem to see as the real injustice here.

Gee, coloured me surprised at that. Wasn’t it NWOslave that was squawking about this in an unrelated post here not too long ago?

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Pam
“Gee, coloured me surprised at that. Wasn’t it NWOslave that was squawking about this in an unrelated post here not too long ago?”

I wouldn’t really say squawking, more like stating a fact that the men in China are now living in self-imposed poverty because the women are demanding a man with a house before considering him as a potential mate. Also, since women are the only legal murderers of unborn children the population mismatch is 100% their doing.

kariface
kariface
10 years ago

@NWO- Do you know anything about Chinese culture? The reason people abort their female children is because male children are expected to take care of their parents when they (the parents) get older. That and the fact that the government will only allow you to have one child why there is a population mismatch.

Buttman
Buttman
10 years ago

Those 16 million “missing” are no more missing than the 40 million that have been aborted in the US. You’re either pro-choice or you’re not.

kariface
kariface
10 years ago

@Buttman – I think that he’s talking about the parents who have girls and then leave them in the woods or sell them, etc…

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Buttman

That’d be 60 million murdered not 40 million since R-V-W. 1.5 mill a year, more americans die from abortion in 1 year than every american war combined. The primary caretakers takin care of business.

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

@Molly Ren: I think we just have two different world views. I just can’t see any long term benefits to being married that ONLY exist in the marriage framework. I don’t like the idea of me being dependent on my girlfriend to take care of my needs nor do I like the idea of me taking care of her financially. In an era where we are working towards equality, I see marriage as an institution that helps create inequality.

About my “marriage breeds co-dependency” remark. As I have said before, I think people should work towards being self-sufficient. The more self-sufficient you are the more power you have since you are not relying on someone.

@ozy: Because signing all those individual contracts instead of getting married doesn’t open you up to the liability of divorce.

What I find odd is earlier feminists have called marriage “an institution of oppression”. So why is it that a lot of feminists are now defending it. (not just Ozy and Molly). I mean even one of the most prominent feminists, Jessica Valenti got married.

Rutee
Rutee
10 years ago

“What I find odd is earlier feminists have called marriage “an institution of oppression”. So why is it that a lot of feminists are now defending it. (not just Ozy and Molly). I mean even one of the most prominent feminists, Jessica Valenti got married.”
Marriage was much worse for oppression in the past, when your wife was more or less property, and divorce wasn’t an option, so it would make sense for feminists to change their outlook as the concept of marriage broadens and includes women as actual equal partners, and permits the married to divorce.

The thing here is that feminists don’t disapprove of divorce as a concept; we disapprove of its amazingly unequal nature in this new law by China. It’s being used as a tool of oppression here.

“About my “marriage breeds co-dependency” remark. As I have said before, I think people should work towards being self-sufficient. The more self-sufficient you are the more power you have since you are not relying on someone. ”
This is idiotic. I mean, in a relationship I think it’s better if there’s no power issues due to hideously unequal income, which is why I like the idea of both members working, but self sufficiency is more or less a pipe dream at this point, and becoming moreso as medical insurance costs skyrocket.

filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Except Roe V Wade as a decision here, not in China?

Seraph
Seraph
10 years ago

You’re either pro-choice or you’re not.

Being pro-choice means that you find forced abortion just as horrifying as forced childbirth.

Catalogue
10 years ago

Hey Ozy

Show me one feminist source that is supportive of changing divorce laws in ways that won’t benefit women. From what I can see, feminism is actively and vehemently opposed to shared parenting. (NOW and similar groups in Australia).

kristinmh
kristinmh
10 years ago

Brendon, how old are you? Because you sound like you haven’t learned yet that what should be isn’t necessarily what is. I agree that marriage shouldn’t be necessary, but the suite of legal rights that comes with it are difficult to impossible to reproduce without it, and any asshole bureaucrat can, as with the poor guy in Rhode Island who couldn’t get his partner’s body released to him, fuck with you just because. Even if you could it would cost a shit ton of money to get all the legal documents drawn up, whereas a marriage license runs around $100 in most jurisdictions.

Anti-abortion trolls: As the official pregnant lady on this forum, I hereby invite you to fuck off.

NF4ever
NF4ever
10 years ago

I really don’t want to get married, for a variety of personal reasons. But I don’t think that refusing to get married in droves is the way to fix marriage.

Gay marriage is going to be instrumental in helping marriage evolve into a partnership comprised of social equals. It already has been. Studies have shown that marriage is much more equitable between gay and lesbian couples, and that they’re better parents (their kids grow up to be emotionally healthier, have more enlightened attitudes toward relationships). A lot of this has to do with the fact that they’re not forced through expectations to get married and have kids; they’re doing it enthusiastically, because they want to, and they’ve thought it through.

If I wanted to be a part of fixing marriage, I’d probably get married and try to model an awesomely egalitarian relationship. Opting out is a bad political strategy in the long-term.

Rachel
10 years ago

Brandon – earlier someone mentioned insurance and you assumed they were talking about insurance benefits; i.e., who could get your stuff or be a beneficiary. I believe they were actually talking about medical insurance; i.e., who can be included as a “dependent” on your insurance for health care coverage. I don’t think this really matters to you, nor do I think it would make a difference in your opinion that all marriage is bad, but it is different (as you cannot just put whoever you want on your medical insurance, they must be legally your spouse).

On another note, I think your decision to avoid marriage and live your life of independence is fine. I also think that people choosing to enter the institution of marriage to avail themselves of all of the benefits of a legal marriage is fine. And while you may think that just choosing to live a life with the person you love outside the confines of marriage is more beneficial to all those involved, there are definitely situations where you are wrong. For instance, in the United States, if a citizen falls in love with someone from a different country, to actually get that person a visa to enter the country based on their relationship, the two must be engaged. Once the immigrant is in the country, the couple has only a short time to actually get married, otherwise the immigrating lover will be deported. Now, you may say that this law should be changed and that citizens should be entitled to sponsor anyone they love into the country. And maybe you are correct that it should be changed; however, it won’t be. Immigration (and marriage fruad in particular) is already too volatile of a topic for the United States. The citizens of the U.S., as well as the government, would be too concerned about the possibility of increased fruad on the immigration system.

Your theory also doesn’t account for the various choices of people in relationships. It is fine to say that both partners should be capable of supporting themselves, but what about in the situation where they choose to have one partner stay home with the children? Or, where one partner is able to have a high paying job while the other is working in a public interest job?

Ultimately, I view your saying that marriage shouldn’t be an option for anyone in the same vein as I view those fundamentalists who say that marriage is the only option for everyone. It is the same attempt to impose your beliefs and feelings on other people whose situations and desires you know nothing about.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“Studies have shown that marriage is much more equitable between gay and lesbian couples, and that they’re better parents (their kids grow up to be emotionally healthier”

That study on lesbian parents had less than 100 test subjects, in other words its meaningless and other larger studies show that lesbian relationships are by far the most likely to be violent.

That’s no any sort of argument against gay and lesbian parents, its more an injection the the “studies” show insert factoid argument.

Catalogue
10 years ago

edit – That’s no any sort of argument against gay and lesbian parents, its more an objection to the “studies show” insert factoid argument.

blitzgal
10 years ago

Please cite the studies that indicate that lesbian relationships are “by far the most likely to be violent.”

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
10 years ago

Brandon, you argue that people in couples should both be self sufficient. That is fine for couples that want such an arrangement, but it shouldn’t be thought of as superior to relationships where the couple depends upon each other for different needs. Sometimes one partner will support the other when he/she loses his or her job, or when one parent decides to stay home with the children because daycare is too expensive. In that case, the working parent relies on the other for childcare, while the stay at home parent relies on the working parent for financial support. If both partners are happy with the arrangement, what is the problem?

Families can be complex, and it is normal for someone in a family to support others, either through their money or their household work. It’s similar to the way we rely on people in our community to meet our needs. I rely upon a doctor to help me when I’m sick, a contractor to help me when my home is damaged, a mechanic to help me when my car breaks down, etc. A family can work as a smaller version of a community, where each member relies upon the others to function.

ozymandias42
10 years ago

Between 17% and 45% of lesbians have experienced domestic violence, as opposed to a quarter of heterosexual women. I’m not sure what that has to do with lesbians raising children or gay marriage though.

ozymandias42
10 years ago

Not to mention that “somewhere between less than a quarter and almost half” is the sociologist equivalent of “fucked if I know.”

Pecunium
10 years ago

Brandon: If you are married there are defaults, esp. as regards inheritance which either don’t exist (tax exemption of inherited assets), or which need to be explictly made plain in an independent instrument (default inheritance/division of decedent’s goods and possessions).

Those are just one of the non-trivial things which the law performs. None of that has anything to do with the aspects of social capital which comes of being married.

Your idea (that thousands of legal privileges and perquisites can be “granted” to anyone who says, “we are a couple”, is 1: easy to achieve and 2: easy to manage, is wrong.

When the Calif. Supreme Court was facing this very question (establish same-sex marriage, or make everyone subject to civil partnerships) they chose the former because it was far easier. One single change, to one single law, vs. multiple change to many laws.

As to the individual contracts, one is not; it’s true, exposed to the problems of divorce. Rather one is exposed to the hassles of figuring each of those contractual aspects for every contingency , and; should the need arise, one has to then remember to revoke all of them if the relationship changes. If one forgets to do that, for each of those contracts, then one is likely to get a rude surprise.

None of which addresses the costs of making all those contracts; as it needs to be well-written, so lots of boilerplate (with the subsequent risk of it not being quite the right thing) or a fair bit of expense to get it drawn up by a lawyer, and properly witnessed/notarised.

NF4ever
NF4ever
10 years ago

Let’s split the difference. 26% of lesbians and 25% of heterosexual women have experienced domestic violence. I doubt there’s statistical significance there.

Catalogue- go look up Ellen Perrin’s work, for starters. She’s at Tufts. There’s so much on the relatively more equitable nature of gay/lesbian relationships that I don’t even know where to start you… Sondra Solomon?

NF4ever
NF4ever
10 years ago

Sorry, gah, 30% is splitting the difference… Still not a big difference…

It’s funny that the old 1 in 4 stat comes up again. Could it be that there’s a lot of overlap between people who get abused and those who get raped?

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