“Marrying Chinese Men Means Less Talk, but More Respect and More Help in the Household” – Featured in the Global Times

People close to me know this has been an extraordinary busy month — which is why I’m late in sharing some good news.

Earlier this month, the Global Times featured me (along with two other women, including fellow blogger Jo Bai of Life Behind the Wall) in an article titled Marrying Chinese Men Means Less Talk, but More Respect and More Help in the Household.

Here are some excerpts from the piece:

Jocelyn Eikenburg, who lives in Beijing and founded the popular expat blog Speaking of China, describes being married to her Chinese husband as “intercultural, interracial, international and bilingual.”

Like De Leye, Eikenburg also found that there are major differences in the way she and her husband express their feelings. Growing up in the US, she watched her parents express love through words, kisses and hugs.

“Here in China, love is something that is shown through actions, such as making you your favorite dinner or buying you something special, and married Chinese men are less likely to kiss or hug their spouses in front of others.” …

Eikenburg says her husband is wonderful at home. He does a lot of housework and always helps prepare dinner. His ideas about couples sharing the work might have been influenced by his parents. When he was growing up in rural Zhejiang Province, both of his parents had to work and also helped around the house, she said.

“There’s no doubt that in a country as large as China, there are regional differences in terms of culture and that may influence what families tend to consider the norm in marriages and households. And I have heard some of these ideas, such as how Shanghai men supposedly make great husbands,” she said.

“My husband’s family is also an example of a household that might not have followed the typical pattern for the village, which reminds me that it’s always important to keep an open mind and never assume that a person will fall in line with the general beliefs or stereotypes.”

Eikenburg also noted that there is a drastic difference on this point between the urban areas and the countryside.

“I’m pleased that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who have a daughter, always tell her that they want her to go to college and do well in school; that’s encouraging to see.”

You can read the full article here on the Global Times. And if you like it, share it!

Are China’s AMWF Couples Rarer Just Because Only 25% of Foreigners in China Are Women?

A couple weeks ago, I happened to share a Global Times article titled, “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”, which mentioned me and this blog. Naturally, it generated some conversation on social media. One of the comments came from a guy, asking why the author hadn’t mentioned the preponderance of male foreigners as a reason for the rarity of couples of Western women and Chinese men in China.

For those of you who don’t know, approximately 75 percent of the foreign population in China is in fact male.

It would be tempting to point to this gender imbalance as the primary explanation for why couples of Western women and Asian men are such a minority. But if you did, you’d be missing the big picture.

After all, this gender imbalance fails to explain why there are so few AMWF couples around the world, and why even Chinese American men don’t feel the love from their fellow Americans (see the essay “Are Asian Men Undateable?”). If Asian men who were born and raised in the West have it tough in the dating world, we could hardly expect better for Asian foreign men who come to the West for work or education.

I would argue, then, that even if the foreign population in China was equally split among gender – 50 percent female and 50 percent male – you would still see an imbalance in the interracial dating world in China. You would still see far more couples of Western men and Asian women, and far fewer couples of Western women and Asian men.

The reality is, prejudices and stereotypes are slow to fade. Even 50 years after the Loving versus Virginia US Supreme Court decision, interracial couples still feel the sting of discrimination from their fellow Americans (as reported by NPR). Meanwhile, Hollywood has an abysmal record when it comes to featuring interracial romance on the screen overall (and we’re not even talking about just AMWF couples here).

It’s going to take a lot more than enticing more foreign women to come to China to boost the numbers of Western women and Asian men in love over here.

P.S.: If you’re wondering why couples of Western women and Asian men are so rare, have a look at On the Rarity of Foreign Women and Chinese Boyfriends/Chinese Husbands. See also my piece for the Huffington Post titled Why Won’t Western Women Date Chinese Men?

Featured in the Global Times – “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”

The Global Times just published an article titled “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”, and I was honored to be included:

American Jocelyn Eikenburg, founder of the popular Speaking of China blog has played a key role in the integration of the global WWAM community.

“Why don’t Western women date Asian men?” one of Eikenburg’s articles featured in the Huffington Post, wisely invited women to look at the vast ethnic and cultural diversity of Chinese men instead of writing them all off per se as a single, homogenized race.

A huge thanks to Katrin Büchenbacher for inviting me to be a part of the article, which begins like this:

The brunette with sparkling blue eyes beneath long eyelashes could pass for any American exchange student. Dressed in a simple khaki shirt, blue jeans and a spiky bronze necklace, she is stuck in the Shanghai traffic, running late for her video shoot with the Global Times Metro Shanghai. What sets this young lady, Vicky, apart from other expats in this city, however, is the person sitting next to her – a tall, handsome man in a crisp white shirt, speaking with a deep, confident voice. It’s her long-term boyfriend, a Chinese national.

Chinese men dating or married to foreign women are still a rather rare form of interracial love. When they walk down the streets holding hands, they can literally feel people staring at them and whispering to each other, or even pointing fingers.

Head on over to the Global Times to read “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”. And if you like it, share it. 🙂

Featured on the Global Times: Expats Adapt to and Put Their Own Spin on Chinese New Year Purchasing

Expats adapt to and put their own spin on Chinese New Year purchasing_Global TimesThe Global Times just published an article titled Expats Adapt to and Put Their Own Spin on Chinese New Year Purchasing featuring quotes from me about my own purchases for the holiday! Here’s an excerpt:

For Jocelyn Eikenburg, a 38-year-old American who has been in China for seven and a half years, shopping for Chinese New Year is a very important annual celebration, just like Christmas.

“It’s interesting because, in some ways, the shopping culture reminds me of preparing for the Christmas season back in the US. Like Christmas, we spend a lot of time shopping for gifts  to family and friends,” said Eikenburg, who now resides in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province with her Chinese husband.

She bought all kinds of presents for her family and friends and tries to stick to the colors of the festival, even when buying foreign goods. This year, she bought a large crate of imported Spanish red wine to give as a gift. The wine bottles have a festive red label embossed with gold grape vines, and her husband’s family love drinking red wine during the holidays, so it’s a perfect gift for Chinese New Year, Eikenburg said.

Chinese traditional food and snacks are also vital to the new year tradition. Every year, Eikenburg and her husband will help the family prepare what they call miguo in the local dialect, a type of savory turnover made with rice dough and filled with vegetables.

Everyone, from her husband’s grandmother to her five-year-old niece, sits around the table rolling out the dough, filling the turnovers, and sealing them.

“It’s one of my favorite family moments from Chinese New Year, just being together with everyone to make this traditional snack,” said Eikenburg.

You can read the full article here, which includes more quotes from me. And if you love it, share it!

Featured in Global Times Article: Meet the [Chinese] Parents

For those of you who may have missed it, I was featured in a Global Times article titled “Meet the Parents,” which shares some personal tales of meet-the-Chinese-parents experiences from foreigners (including me) and offers some advice for any foreigners heading home with their boyfriend/girlfriend to meet the parents for the first time. Here’s a snippet of the article: Continue reading “Featured in Global Times Article: Meet the [Chinese] Parents”

“Spoils of a Chinese Marriage?” More Like, Spoiled a Chinese Marriage.

Screenshot of Global Times Op-Ed on "Enjoying the Spoils of a Chinese Marriage"
File this one under “things that make you go, ‘WTF?!?'”(screenshot from globaltimes.cn)

Enjoying the spoils of a Chinese marriage? With this Op-Ed in the Global Times, I think it should read as “Spoiled a Chinese marriage” instead.

The illustration said it all. There’s a white foreign man lounging emperor-like in a gigantic bowl of noodles, with a morning-after “I’m high on carbs” smirk on his face. Beside him is a Chinese woman who looks like every guy’s teenage wet dream, dressed in a qipao that leaves nothing to the imagination. She leans on the bowl and stares at him as if to say, “What else can I get you, honey? More noodles? Me?” Continue reading ““Spoils of a Chinese Marriage?” More Like, Spoiled a Chinese Marriage.”

Featured in Global Times Article: On the Fast Track to Love

Champagne glasses, toasting at the beach
The Global Times featured me in a recent article titled "On the Fast Track to Love." (photo by Roger Kirby)

I’m on the fast track back to the US (I’ll be hopping a plane back there on Tuesday, August 16). That’s why I’m late to tell you about my latest appearance in the news — a Global Times article titled On the Fast Track to Love, a story about cross-cultural speed dating. Here are a few quotes from me in the article:

For some, the attraction comes from an interest in their partner’s culture. “I’ve always felt more comfortable in the company of Chinese men, since their culture is more in tune with who I am,” US born Jocelyn Eikenburg, an English/Chinese translator who married a Chinese man and blogs about intercultural relationships, said, adding that she’s actually “incredibly shy and not so direct with people.”

For many Westerners, saying “I love you” is a big step in a relationship, a sign that you are really serious and invested; while love is usually implied among Chinese couples through actions such as sending you all the way to the door of your apartment, Eikenburg said.

“When Chinese do verbalize their feelings, they tend to use softer terms than what we are used to, such as ‘I like you’ because the word for love packs quite a punch in Chinese,” she added. “Not surprisingly, many Chinese with foreigners actually feel more comfortable saying ‘I love you’ in a foreign language.”

Check out the full article online. And if you love it, share it. Thanks!

A Love Affair With China: Article about me in Global Times

John and I pose with a girl on our wedding day in China
Check out "A Love Affair With China," the article about me featured in the February 21, 2011 edition of the Global Times (P.S.: The little girl is NOT my daughter. 😉 )

If you happen to be flipping through the Monday, February 21 Shanghai edition of the Global Times, you might just find a familiar face on page 16. Me, actually. 😉

The Global Times profiled me and Speaking of China for their newspaper, in an article titled A Love Affair With China. I have a PDF version of the article and a link to the online version. Here’s a snippet of it:

As a Western woman with a shorter Chinese husband, she has turned a lot of heads, but Jocelyn Eikenburg is determined to question and challenge stereotypes about Chinese men and Western women in love.

The 33-year-old American keeps a blog called “Speaking of China,” where she shares her understanding of Chinese culture and offers advice to those in family and dating dilemmas. She was named one of the “101 Inspiring Women Bloggers to Watch for 2010” by WE Magazine, a women’s online publication based in Florida. Continue reading “A Love Affair With China: Article about me in Global Times”

My Global Times Op-Ed on China’s “Vacationing Scholars”

flip flops
Read about China's "vacationing scholars" in my Global Times Op-Ed. (photo by Crystal Leigh Shearin)

My Op-Ed on China’s visiting scholars that really just vacation just got published in the Global Times. Here’s an excerpt:

Wang is not engaged in any of the rigorous teaching, lecturing or research that you would expect of a visiting scholar. She fills her mornings doing little more than the work of an undergraduate research assistant, such as organizing data or other clerical tasks. She has no supervisor in the US or China requiring her to produce, say, a scholarly paper for publication. She even invited her child and mother-in-law to live with her, something no serious visiting scholar would ever do, lest they be distracted from their studies.

Instead, you might call Wang a “vacationing scholar,” someone who travels under the guise of scholarly work, in order to enjoy a holiday abroad. Wang doesn’t deny it, either. Once, she confessed to me that her time in the US is like a comfortable respite from life in China.

Curious about China’s “vacationing scholar” phenomenon? Read the full article here. And if you like it, don’t forget to pass it on. 😉