The XX Factor

Desperate Bachelors

The Wall Street Journal today has a fascinating story about the Chinese phenomenon of runaway brides. These are young women who marry desperate bachelors, pocket the “bride price”, then flee. The reason these bachelors are so desperate is that they are the result of China’s one-child policy. Since families traditionally favor boys, a whole generation of girls has been aborted or abandoned. People are funny creatures who have a hard time imagining that their present moment won’t continue indefinitely. Because of the decisions of millions of couples not to have girls, the Journal notes that a 2005 census found that China had an excess of 32 million males under the age of twenty. Apparently the families never considered if everyone had a boy, it would be hard to have grandchildren, since millions of boys would have no girl to marry. Now that this misogynistic future has come to pass, could it be that girls will become treasured?