Chapter One: Rotten Girls - SupChina
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Chapter One: Rotten Girls

For Lily, a professional 32-year-old woman living in Shanghai, navigating the divide between the expectations of her family deep in rural China and her own desires for her future has never been easy. As an unmarried woman who long ago left her hometown, she faces mounting pressure from her family and community to find a partner and settle down. On this week’s episode of Strangers in China, Lily shares her struggles with rootlessness and a search for belonging, and the revelations she has had about the world beyond China that have helped shape who she is today — though often in direct opposition to traditional cultural norms.

Acknowledgments

The creators of Strangers in China would like to thank Ryan Thorpe and the Shanghai Writers Workshop and Anthony Tao of SupChina.

This episode and this series is dedicated to Clay’s grandmother Joyce, who passed away as this podcast was being conceived.

Music credits:

Analytical Skeletons,” “What Are You Doing Tomorrow?,” “Shhia Bhat,” “Advil’s Lament,” and “Gifts” by csus; Terri Skillz; “Sorrow” by Sappheiros; “I Like You” by Dovi; “MARIGOLD” by Evan Schaeffer Music Studios.

Works consulted:

Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, by Leta Hong Fincher

Clay Baldo

Originally from the U.S., Clay moved to China after graduating from Bates College in 2013. His background is in audio production and script writing. He first got interested in China in college and studied abroad in Beijing. When Clay’s not thinking about the individual’s role in shaping culture, he’s snuggling with his pug, trying and failing to make rap music, reading comic books, and rollerskating.

3 Comments

  1. TBXshanghai Reply

    Hi, Thank you so much for having this special episode on women’s (Lily) consciousness. A recently read book Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 also similarly echoed to me.

    I am 35 years old, just got married earlier this year, one of those girls who struggle so much about being and becoming myself. Before marriage, my parents pushed me alot on getting married (to the level I also felt so ashamed like Lily); after getting married, my american husband has been pushing me to better outlive myself, which I am still working on. It takes time.

    One reason I personally feel contributing to this phenomenon in China is: for our parents’ generation, majority dont have self concept, dont have their own life to live, especially in the countryside. It’s accumulated societal issue, the altruism education + the CR which depleted many personal delicate consciousness + a fast growing society that builds communication gaps between parents and kids from various angles(and they stop talking or listening from long time ago). Just to share.

  2. Clay BaldoClay Reply

    Clay the producer here,
    I am so moved to hear this. I also forwarded your response to Lily who I am still in contact with. She has been so glad to hear all the positive responses to this piece.

    I owe so much of the success of this podcast not only to lily but all of the brave Chinese women who have helped me along the way and I’m glad to know that the show connects with you.

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