“Leftover? No! I Am a Victorious Woman” Exploring the Identity of Sheng Nv in Contemporary China
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There has been a significant rise in the number of well-educated, highly paid, and independent unmarried women who have been officially defined as ‘leftover women’ in China. The contextualization of ‘leftover women’ in gender, politics, and media reveals that it is not a term based on social realities, but serves as a social policing tool of a political campaign. Despite its presence in media and political discourses, the voices of these women are rarely heard. Guided by the communication theory of identity and a phenomenological inquiry, this study explores 26 Chinese ‘leftover women’s lived experiences in relation to the meaning of singlehood. This research finds the single identity moves from how a ‘leftover woman’ defines her singleness, seeks her completeness, and negotiates her relationship and choices to ‘leftover women’ as a joint force to challenge and transcend dominant social identities and create new forms of womanhood.