There are more singletons around the world now than ever before, and many are saying that they feel they’re being shamed for it, with people assuming that the only possible reason that person is alone is that they’re probably sad and lonely. For example, in a study in the UK, 52% of singles said they had been single shamed since the start of the pandemic, even though 59% said they were happy about it.
But in mainland China and Hong Kong, where the shaming can get pretty obvious, women are fighting back against the judgment of aunties by making more money to buy luxury goods and real estate and making sure their relatives see.
“During family gatherings, my aunt just loves to tease my parents about why I’m still single. In her mind, I must lead a miserable life. I need to defend my parents [so] I constantly upgrade my own self-image by buying myself more and more expensive clothes to wear," said a 33-year-old woman in China. “I want the best of everything in life. My sunglasses are from Burberry, my handbag is from Louis Vuitton, my laptop is from Apple … I show that I’m not miserable and I lead a great life. [My relatives] can then leave my parents alone."
“Overall, not only are single women emerging as a growing and critical aspect of Hong Kong’s economy, they are also driving the city’s increasingly unaffordable real estate market,” wrote Professor Igor Vojnovik and Minting Ye in their research in The Conversation.
“Singlehood was once considered a transitional period, when people marked time until they were married or re-married,” said Bella DePaulo, the author of a book on this subject. Now, she said, that isn’t so much the case.