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For those outside China, have you heard about "leftover girls" (or 剩女 in Chinese)? This is a trendy term in China used to describe girls that are still single after 30 (the exact age being debatable). It is reported that the phrase is so popular that it is included in the new edition of the Chinese-English Oxford dictionary. The phrase has a lot of connotations of course, but I prefer not to go further at this point. I just want to know what foreigners' instinctive feeling is towards the phrase, and if there are similar terms in other countries.
of course there is. We use this term in Turkey. We use it with the same meaning.
In Russia we have some phrases:
Old virgin lady
And saying: Every fruit has to be used in time.
yes ,we use this term in iraq by saying(I've missed the train)Significance: Time ended and chance of girl became zero
Where im from in the US, we don't view it the same. People here do not use such terms unless it is an old nosey person. It is becoming more common where im from for people to not get married as young.
here in our country,we have also use a word about a single lady,its either a spinster, or an old maid, means single lady over 30,but the views about it have changed a lot, as time goes by.. as our country are being influence by western culture its not a big deal anymore. In fact its very common nowadays since many women have become more liberated and independent at present.
There always were such terms because society's culture and tradition dictate the age limit above which girl/woman should be married.
and by the way the word left over girls,may mean differently depending on the reader,as i first saw the word i thought it pertains to a woman who had been to different relationships and ended up being single just a thought :)
Thank you all for your responses! I was surprised to learn that terms that refer to girls who remain single at a late age exist in so many cultures. I suppose this is because the phenomenon means something to each of these cultures. Having learnt about that, I have now become more interested in the issue as to how these girls are viewed in different cultures. I mean, in China, "leftover girls" is a phrase with a more or less derogative sense, for many indicating being an outcast, having physical or mental problems (e.g. being a lesbian or incapable of building a relationship), facing the risk of growing old and dying alone with no family around, etc. Parents and relatives usually make every effort to arrange blind dates for the girls in the hopes of marrying them out before they reach the dire situation where their beauty and youth is gone and desirable elligibles are all married. Chinese girls are traditionally raised to believe that the most important role of their lives are as the wife and the mother and a life without the experience of carrying out those roles would be one that's incomplete.
@Alexander here in Indonesia we also use the same term if translated in English "old virgin lady". But I do think it's quite offensive to say that word to unmarried woman. People here in my country are annoying sometimes, they are nosey. They really care about other people business than their own. If there is a woman who is single after 27 or 30, they will start talking about her and saying that woman is not able to attract the man.
The same in my country. We use spinster or old maid as Mareeyaah said. But I think it's none of their business. People should learn not to interfere and meddle in others' lives.