It seems as if posting videos on the Internet is all the rage. Recently, yet another viral video broke out on the Internet. However, this time, it wasn’t concerning ignorant individuals yapping racial abuse. Instead, it was a woman angrily cursing at her boyfriend who is sitting next to her on a busy train. The video depicts a woman shamelessly scolding her boyfriend, saying things such as “man without money is garbage” and “do not dream to marry her without money” in Chinese. Although the boyfriend is being verbally abused (and embarrassed) in public, the boyfriend remained silent with his head down. Not surprisingly, the girlfriend did not stop cursing, and called her (soon-to-be ex-boyfriend) “useless” for not responding (it seems as if the man can’t do anything right in the eyes of his crazy girlfriend). At the end, the woman ended their relationship and stormed off the subway. This video created a lot of discussion, in which most people criticized the woman’s behavior. However, there were others that speculated the video to be a publicity stunt. Fake or not, what it reveals is definitely real issues that continue to occur in today’s society.
The translation of the raging girl’s conversation is as follows:
“Look at you, you are useless, why am I going to marry you? You don’t have money. Man without money is garbage. And I am telling you, this morning when we are shopping, what’s the problem of spending some money? Being next to you feel like a joke, you know. You said you are going to take care of your parents, what about my parents? … I am telling you, no money… when I think of it I feel so scared, you know. Say something… You don’t even say anything, you are useless, you will have nothing in the future. You want to marry me? Forget it. Always like this… Say something… Ok, that’s it, we are through. Forget it. It is impossible now, I am moving out tonight. You are still like this? Forget it. Bye bye.”
Although this issue of marrying for money is stepping towards the right directions, what does this say about the man? The big question here is: Why do some women expect money from the man in the first place? What we need to think about here is how institutions and laws are organized in a way that privileges the already advantaged group in society– men. I’m not arguing that men are at the core of the problem, but we need to point out that having these types of institutionalized rules and practices lead women into entering relationships for the wrong reasons, such as the woman in the video. The article I mentioned earlier is a clear example of this. China’s Supreme Court has ruled that from now on, the person that purchases the home will get to keep it after the divorce. This seems to give an incentive to woman to marry not solely for money and continue their marriage by depriving them of financial gains acquired by their husbands during marriage. So, how does this reinforce gender and social inequalities? Has society shaped us into thinking that expecting the man in the relationship to earn the money acceptable?
Furthermore, what does this say about Rawls’ Difference principle? Rawls’ Difference principle states, “It holds that social and economic inequalities … are to be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society.” However, I believe this does not hold true in the case of marriage and marriage laws. Why? Because, gender roles do not create socioeconomic disadvantages. Women have just as many opportunities to become financially independent and successful as men. Some women seek marriage for monetary reasons, not because they are incapable of making their own living, but because of how gender roles play out in society. Thus, although gender roles create differences, this difference does not translate into inequality and inequality of opportunity. Do you disagree? Why do women themselves expect to marry rich and men to earn the money? How is this reflected in the organization of social inequality? Lastly, in all honesty, would you marry for money?