Four years ago, I sat in a theatre in Beijing watching this incredible generation of women share their personal stories of abuse, conflicts (internal and external), pained relationships, beautiful relationships, and growth. Last month, I found myself familiarly inspired, sitting before women with stories of determination and self-discovery, brought here again by Roseann Lake -- this time at her book launch in NYC.
When asked HOW this journey had begun, Roseann provided a simple thought. "I could not understand why the talented women looked so sad after returning from the long Chinese New Year holiday. And upon asking my boss, she replied as if telling me there was no more toilet paper in the bathroom to say, 'Oh, they were not married.' And I thought "WHAT? HOW? How could these incredible (not to mention YOUNG, INDEPENDENT, BRILLIANT) women be so sad with something like this at this day in age?!" Thus, marking the start the "Leftover" Journey ― consisting of over over a dozen monologues, a book, and 500 interviews including, but not limited to:
- A high-profile detective investigating affairs
- Ivy, a beautiful long legged mistress, with men on men on men
- A student with the voice to say "Why wouldn't I like other women? Someone who would know how to touch my body as she does her own?" ― in a place where homosexuality is not allowed.
Roseann Lake, you are a force to be reckoned with -- a soul who not only inspires, but raises the ones around you. You lead us as individuals and as women to achieve what WE want, regardless of what society may dictate. You were fascinated by the incredible women in Beijing, and you have succeeded in bringing their stories to readers all over the world. For International Women's Day, I'd like to give you a big up for your heart and your work in Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World's Next Superpower.
Forty years ago, China enacted the one-child policy, only recently relaxed. Among many other unintended consequences, it resulted in both an enormous gender imbalance―with a predicted twenty million more men than women of marriage age by 2020―and China’s first generations of only-daughters. Given the resources normally reserved for boys, these girls were pushed to study, excel in college, and succeed in careers, as if they were sons.
Now living in an economic powerhouse, enough of these women have decided to postpone marriage―or not marry at all―to spawn a label: "leftovers." Unprecedentedly well-educated and goal-oriented, they struggle to find partners in a society where gender roles have not evolved as vigorously as society itself, and where new professional opportunities have made women less willing to compromise their careers or concede to marriage for the sake of being wed. Further complicating their search for a mate, the vast majority of China’s single men reside in and are tied to the rural areas where they were raised. This makes them geographically, economically, and educationally incompatible with city-dwelling “leftovers,” who also face difficulty in partnering with urban men, given the urban men’s general preference for more dutiful, domesticated wives. (Source: www.roseannlake.com/book)