Project description

The Chinese-style blind date is a very special cultural phenomenon. Some Chinese parents expect their children to enter the marriage at the “appropriate age” and try to make the children form a family alliance with the parents’ recognized objects, forming a “parent-recommended marriage”. The Shanghai Marriage Market is a public place where parents may not necessarily have the consent of their children, but put their children’s personal information out and exchange information with other marriage seekers.

Based on the results of our data analysis and interviews, we ranked the true selection criteria in order of importance for the first time: appearance, property, marital status, personality quality, education, age, height, salary, and household registration. We summed up the reasons why it is difficult to find the Mr. Right in the marriage market, including the confusion of blind date information, the difficulty of matching, the work and material pressure of some “new Shanghainese”, the too picky of ourselves, and the lack of appropriate parental guidance.

The issues revealed in this article are multifaceted. First of all, from the data and interviews, even if Chinese society gradually becomes open and free, materialistic conditions still have “invisible dominance” in mate selection. The so-called “free love” has not been fully realized. We also found that the appearance and whether they have real estate have an important influence on mate selection. In addition, congenital factors (especially given by parents) have a greater impact on mate choice. The sense of superiority brought by owning houses and the helplessness of narrowing the scope of mate selection or leaving the city- because they can’t afford the house- show that the impact of high housing prices on marriage is invisible but profound.

Secondly, through interviews, we discovered the dilemma of some “new classes” in the face of traditional marriage. Some women who perform well in career, education or income may still be judged mainly from the physiological point of “whether they can give birth” in the marriage and love market. They may use “long-term singles” to resist this evaluation. The new “Shanghainese” who are new to Shanghai are hard to get a valuable reference from their parents. In the process of the rising class, they are busy setting up a foothold in the big cities and temporarily neglecting marriage.

What makes this project innovative?

We have collected the most comprehensive and the biggest amount of dating posts for Shanghai Marriage Market to date. At the same time, we sorted people's selection criteria for the first time. The biggest feature of this project is the in-depth combination of data analysis and field interviews. Previous data news only relied on the content of the blind post itself to describe the characteristics of the blind date, so it is easy to conclude that "female blind date is more than men". However, through the shackles, we found those who do not have fixed dating posts and fixed showing time and those low-income men that have no right to enter. These two kinds of people have no trace in the dating data, but only can be found by a combination of interviews and data to draw the clear picture for them. The article has repeatedly compared the "contradictions" between the data conclusions and the field interviews. For example, there are not many people who explicitly mention the appearance and real estate requirements in the dating posts, but in the actual reality, we found these two points very important. In this project, with a clearer structure, we showed the mate selection of the current real blind date environment. We displayed the elements of marriage considerations that have been hidden in the private sector in the past. The project shows that the current concept of marriage in Chinese society is slowly transitioning from a material combination to a spiritual combination.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

This project has caused a wide range of influences in Shanghai. After the publication of this article, a local famous radio host in Shanghai invited the reporter and the related professor from Fudan University to make a special program on this article. There were a lot of enthusiastic listeners calling to participate in and inspiring a hot discussion. In addition, the number of click rate in this project is quite impressive, and it has caused a lot of repercussions in the industry, especially in single people who have won resonance. We evaluate the project mainly based on the evaluation of the academic community and the target audiences. The academic has a positive evaluation of this article because it involves the quantitative analysis of sociology. The highly educated groups of teachers and related professional doctors in related fields have paid more attention to this article and its research methods. In addition, the marriage seekers group has a positive reaction to this article and believes it basically reflects the reality of the current blind date market and is very helpful for them to recognize the current situation.

Source and methodology

We collected 1023 marriage-seeking posts at Shanghai Marriage Market on May 13th, 2018. After half a year, we compiled all of them into texts, analyzed the content of more than 80,000 words with 54 indicators, and interviewed over ten people including experts, matchmakers, marriage seekers, and the parents of the marriage seekers. We have developed a detailed coding manual that explains each category and its definition. We trained the coders on a uniform coding standard and all the data were proofread twice by the same coder. 54 indicators and 1023 code samples mean that we manually coded 55,242 data cells.

Technologies Used

Highcharts, coolsite360 (website design), Photoshop, illustrator, Audition, Premiere, screentogif

Project members

Dai Yu, Tuo Yin, Zhao Zuoyan, Lin Dongwen, Xu Luyi, Fang Shiqi

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