Beijing can be a tough town for singles seeking love and marriage. bachelorettes often tell me they don't want to "waste time" playing the dating game. She tells me about the "matching doors" concept of dating in China. Controversial dating shows toned down. Playing by the rules in the game of love. By Li Jing (China Daily) Updated: How TV dating shows helped change love and marriage in China one another by performing, playing games, and having roundtable chats.
Love and marriage china plays the dating game - Courtship redefined
And for the government, they are a target for surveillance. Studying the development of television dating shows helps to understand how the concept of love and marriage in China has changed, and how the shows are helping bring about that change.
Dating shows began emerging as a new form of marriage matchmaking in China in the late s. Basic formula Television Red Bride followed a basic format: The subtitle suggests the difficulty young men in China have in finding a suitable partner.
This is Beijing With the acceleration of marketisation and globalisation in the s, the situation began to change. Facing strong competition, media outlets were under pressure to produce programs that not only had commercial value but were also entertaining. Dating shows, such as Dating on Saturday, Love at First Sight and Red Rose Date proliferated and adopted a reality format where male and female marriage seekers showed their talents by interacting in groups and playing games.
Audiences were also able to watch imported shows such as Love Game, from Taiwan. The commercialisation of the television industry in the s thus nurtured an intersection between love, romance and entertainment, and motivated mass audiences to also participate in dating shows. In many ways, dating shows became a powerful way to facilitate these changes.
By looking at the development of Chinese television dating shows, we can see how love and marriage changed from a ritualized system mired in the past to the liberated, Western-style version we see today. Serving the man Marriage matchmaking has always been an important cultural practice in China.
Marriage was viewed as a contract between two households, and it was for the purpose of procreation, not love. Thought to contribute to peace and stability, it was the dominant custom into the latter half of the 20th century. However, even in the wake of political change and globalization, many families still held the traditional Chinese belief that women, unlike men, belonged in the home, and that their parents had the final say over whom they could marry.
Certain traditions still ruled. The style of the show followed a linear pattern. It was essentially a singles ad broadcast before audience members, who, if interested, could contact the candidate for a date. Despite all the limitations, the show was a groundbreaking depiction of courtship. It took decisions about love and marriage from the private home to the very public domain of broadcast TV.
Economic liberalization had loosened restrictions for what could appear on the airwaves, but there was now the added pressure of turning a profit. More than ever before, networks needed to produce entertaining shows that attracted audiences. It was during this period that dating shows started to transform, depicting live, on-air matchmaking and dates between single males and females.
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It was during this period that dating shows started to transform, depicting live, on-air matchmaking and dates between single males and females. For singles, they are a platform for seeking potential spouses. Serving the man Marriage matchmaking has always been an important cultural practice in China.
Playing by the rules in the game of love