Value dating practices
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.These new shows were ways for singles to get to know each other in a fun, flirty environment.And for those who had little dating experience, it was a model for courtship; soon, the viewing public was able to reconceptualize ideas of love, relationships, and marriage.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.So when a TV show like ), came from a 1944 speech by Mao Zedong.
And it was a far cry from a dating show that purported to “serve the people.”Not surprisingly, widespread outcry only augmented the fame of the shows and their contestants, and SARFT—China’s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television—eventually took action. For single people, they’re a platform for seeking potential spouses; for fans, they’re the subject of gossip and dissection; for the cultural elites, they’re a topic for derision; and for the government, they’re a target for surveillance.Compared with western cultures, China has traditionally had a vastly different value system toward marriages and family.At the same time, traditional courtship and marriage rituals were evaporating.For example, in 1970, only 1.8% of couples lived together before marriage. Meanwhile, divorces in China rose from 170,449 couples in 1978 to 3.5 million in 2013, while marriages with foreigners increased from fewer than 8,500 couples in 1979 to more than 49,000 couples in 2010.