'Meet Me Halfway': Why starting a conversation with parents is key to overcoming marriage pressure for China’s 'leftover' women

·Writer

In the U.S., single women roll their eyes at their families’ suggestions that they get married soon. But in China, the pressure can be so intense that women avoid going home.

That’s the focus of prestige skin care brand SK-II’s gripping documentary short, called Meet Me Halfway. The documentary, which is an extension of the SK-II’s ongoing #changedestiny philosophy, follows the real-life stories of three young, single Chinese women as they take the first steps to reach out to their parents after years of avoiding them during Chinese New Year due to marriage pressure.

A woman waits to see if her parents will meet her “halfway” in SK-II’s <em>Meet Me Halfway</em> documentary. (Image: Courtesy of SK-II)
A woman waits to see if her parents will meet her “halfway” in SK-II’s Meet Me Halfway documentary. (Image: Courtesy of SK-II)

Refusing to come home to celebrate Chinese New Year has become a growing trend with young, single Chinese women, the documentary explains. If they do go home, they often face curious yet intense questioning from family members during the weeklong celebration about their dating life, marriage, and plans to have children. The result: An intense pressure and suffocating atmosphere that single women are now trying to avoid.

“When I go home, it’s no longer about reunion,” one says. “It’s only about marriage, marriage, marriage. Why?” Another says of her parents, “I feel like they don’t know what I really want in life.”

A woman waits to meet her parents at a halfway point between her parents’ home and her new city in SK-II’s <em>Meet Me Halfway</em> documentary. (Image: Courtesy of SK-II)
A woman waits to meet her parents at a halfway point between her parents’ home and her new city in SK-II’s Meet Me Halfway documentary. (Image: Courtesy of SK-II)

But the documentary also gets insight from the parents about why they act the way they do. “Women should be traditional — a good wife and a good mother,” one mom says. “She shouldn’t be obsessed with her career.” (Career seems to be a big issue with parents, who say things like “women shouldn’t work so hard” and “she’s too independent.”)

 In Meet Me Halfway, the women open up for the first time to their parents about the marriage pressure and how stifling it can be, initially by writing them a letter. The parents are visibly moved after reading the letters and begin to understand the situation from their daughters’ point of view. Both sides learn to communicate about the issue and to see the other side of the story. 

A women reunites with her parents after writing them a letter asking them to meet her “halfway.” (Image: Courtesy of SK-II)
A women reunites with her parents after writing them a letter asking them to meet her “halfway.” (Image: Courtesy of SK-II)

With the documentary, SK-II says it hopes to create a platform where daughters can feel empowered to make their own decisions about their futures. “We want to tell women worldwide: Destiny can change, when you have the courage to take the first step to meet halfway,” says Sandeep Seth, vice president, Global SK-II. “We hope the stories of these three brave women can inspire other women to take the first step, start a conversation with their families about marriage pressure and in the process, empower them to live life on their own terms and shape their own destinies.” 

This isn’t SK-II’s first foray into documentary filmmaking: The latest film is a follow-up to 2016’s award-winning Marriage Market Takeover a viral video about China’s “leftover women” who feel pressure to marry before the age of 25 and 2017’s The Expiry Date, a film on age-related pressure and unspoken timelines women face as they turn 30.

This article was paid for by SK-II and created by MAKERS. The Yahoo Lifestyle editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.