The inhabitants of Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit seem to have developed a sudden crush on the authoritarian Chinese government. Why? Well, it seems that the lovable tyrants have decided to crack down on evil golddigger bitches. According to an article in The Telegraph, linked to in the subreddit,
In a bid to temper the rising expectations of Chinese women, China’s Supreme Court has now ruled that from now on, the person who buys the family home, or the parents who advance them the money, will get to keep it after divorce.
“Hopefully this will help educate younger people, especially younger women, to be more independent, and to think of marriage in the right way rather than worshipping money so much,” said Hu Jiachu, a lawyer in Hunan province.
The ruling should also help relieve some of the burden on young Chinese men, many of whom fret about the difficulty of buying even a small apartment.
Never mind that the lopsided demographics in China today — where young men greatly outnumber young women, making it harder for young men to find wives — are not the result of excess feminism, but the result of a toxic mixture of cultural misogyny and the authoritarian regime’s “one child” program. As William Saletan explains the logic in Slate:
Girls are culturally and economically devalued; the government uses powerful financial levers to prevent you from having another child; therefore, to make sure you can have a boy, you abort the girl you’re carrying.
The result? 16 million “missing girls” in China. Ironically, the skewed ratio of men to women gives young women considerable leverage in chosing whom to marry – and that’s what the Men’s Rightser’s seem to see as the real injustice here.
As Evil Pundit wrote, evidently speaking for many (given the numerous upvotes he got):
Wow. I’ve always disliked the authoritarian Chinese government, but for once, it’s done something good.
I may need to reconsider my attitude.
China wants to become the next superpower and world leader. They aren’t going to do it by allowing the kinds of social decay that rot away at the competing nations.
If they brought that in over here, most women in Australia would be living on the street.
“Or,” Fondueguy quipped in response, “they could learn to work.”
At the moment, all the comments in the thread praising the Chinese government for this move (and there are many more) have net upvotes; the only comment in the negative? One suggesting that the Telegraph isn’t exactly a reliable source.
Speaking of which, here’s a more balanced look at the issue on China.org.cn that examines some of the consequences of the new ruling for Chinese women.
Let’s look at some of those. According to one Beijing lawyer quoted in the piece:
“[H]ousewives, especially those in the rural areas who have no job and are responsible for taking care of their families, will be affected most by this new change,” she said. “If their husbands want a divorce, they are likely to be kicked out of the house with nothing.”
Luo Huilan, a professor of women’s studies at China Women’s University in Beijing, agreed.
In rural areas, she said, men have the final say in family matters. All essential family assets, such as home, car and bank deposits, are registered in the men’s names, and women fill the roles of only wife, mother and farmworker.
“Their labor, though substantial, hardly gets recognition. Without a good education, they have to rely heavily on their husbands,” Luo said. “In case of divorce, a woman is driven out of her husband’s life, home and family, and finds herself an alien even in her parents’ home. No wonder the new interpretation of the Marriage Law has aroused concern among women.”
And no wonder it’s drawn cheers on the Men’s Rights subreddit.