Did you know that in China, women who remain unmarried until their late 20s are…


Single Chinese women in their late 20s are called Sheng nu (or “leftover women”)
How old do you have to be in order to be considered an old spinster?

By Original photograph by:LGEPR [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Original photograph by:LGEPR [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Unmarried women of a certain age (in this case, late 20s and older) are known in China by the unflattering term “Sheng nu”. The term means “leftover women” and is a negative way of describing single Chinese woman and occasionally single women across Asia and North America. However, many people believe that it should be considered a positive term, because it means the Sheng nu are actually independent and successful women who simply don’t have a husband. Apart from Sheng nu, such “leftover” spinsters are also called 3S – single, seventies (born in the 1970s) and stuck (without a husband). It may sound cruel, but these terms are not a case of gender discrimination. There’s a similar term describing old bachelors – they are called “guang gun”, which translates into “bare branches”. The term means that the man in question is refusing to marry and add branches to his family tree.


Written by Patrick Bennet

I have been working as a teacher my whole life. I love reading books.

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